Cats are known as curious for a reason! Sometimes get into things they’re not supposed to. While many of these items are harmless to your furry friend and/or pass through her digestive system without a problem, other items can cause intestinal blockages. But intestinal obstructions in cats aren’t only caused by foreign bodies. Sometimes they point to a larger health problem.
Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of an intestinal blockage in your cat, so you can be the best advocate for their health and safety and know exactly what to do if you suspect one.
What Causes Intestinal Blockages in Cats?
She Ate Something Odd
A common cause of intestinal blockages in cats is foreign bodies. Sometimes a cat eats something she absolutely shouldn’t—like tin foil. But other times, she might have swallowed part of her toy by accident.
Here are some things you’ll want to keep out of reach of your kitty:
- Paper clips
- Rubber bands
- Dental floss
- Tin foil
- Needles and thread
She Has a Medical Condition
Blockages aren’t only caused by foreign bodies. They could be the result of another medical problem including:
- Narrowing of the intestine or stomach
- Another issue that involves the digestive system, stomach, or intestines
What Are the Signs of an Intestinal Blockage?
In many cases, if your cat ate a foreign object, it will pass on its own, and you will never notice there was a problem. In other cases, whether the cause is a foreign body or another medical issue, the signs of an intestinal blockage are clear, but may also be evidence of another problem.
Here’s what you should look out for:
- Straining to go to the bathroom
- Not eating or not eating much
- Behavioral changes
- Doesn’t want to be picked up
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
Sometimes the type of symptom your cat has will point to the severity of the issue. For example, constant vomiting can indicate a complete obstruction in the digestive track, while intermittent vomiting is a sign of a partial blockage. Diarrhea can happen when there is a partial block, but constipation points to a complete intestinal blockage.
When to Bring Your Cat to the Vet for an Intestinal Blockage
If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Delaying could cause more serious problems.
If you see your cat eat something she’s not supposed to or suspect that she did, take her to your veterinarian right away. In many cases, it can be easier to get the foreign body out if it’s still in her stomach.
You may notice the foreign body in your cat’s mouth or throat, or coming out of her rectum. Do not pull on it. Items such as string might be wrapped around your cat’s tongue or intestines. Removing it incorrectly could cause harm to your cat.
How Is a Cat’s Intestinal Blockage Treated?
The treatment for your cat’s intestinal blockage depends on the cause, but also the location. First, your veterinarian will do X-rays and ultrasounds, sometimes using dye to locate the item and determine what it is. Many vets also complete blood tests and collect urine samples to ensure no other organs are affected. These tests can help you rule out other causes of blockages, like infections.
A gastric endoscopy is another tool your veterinarian may use. A small camera is directed through your cat’s digestive track. If the cause is a small foreign body, tools used in a gastric endoscopy can even allow the vet to retrieve the item without invasive surgery.
The next step is determined by the discoveries made by the X-rays, ultrasound, and endoscopy. If the item is a foreign body and found in the stomach, your vet may induce vomiting. Never try this on your cat at home. Doing it incorrectly can harm her. If the foreign object is located elsewhere in your cat’s digestive tract, your vet may want to see if it passes on its own or may suggest surgery.
If the item or problem can’t be located, exploratory surgery may be recommended to determine the exact cause. With anesthesia, your vet can find the obstruction.
If your cat’s intestinal obstruction isn’t caused by a foreign body, your vet may suggest the following:
- Torsion – The vet will untwist the intestine and attach it to the side of the stomach to prevent the issue from reoccurring.
- Dead or deteriorating bowels – Your vet will remove the dead or deteriorating sections and reattach the intestines that are in good condition.
- Heartworms – Deworming medication is safe and simple.
For obstructions caused by cancer or other medical issues such as gastritis, your veterinarian will outline a specific treatment plan or other options available to you and your cat. The doctor may also have suggestions regarding diet after treatment.
How to Prevent Intestinal Blockages in Cats
Not all intestinal blockages in cats are preventable, as health issues such as cancer and torsion can happen at any time in a cat’s life. Other causes can be prevented!
Keep Objects Out of Reach
There are some items your cat will be very interested in, such as string. Put these items away out of reach when you are done using them.
Carefully Select Toys
Not all toys labeled as “cat toys” are safe for your furry friend. Ribbons and bells can easily detach and be swallowed. Carefully research toys and read reviews before purchasing them. Some objects may be safe for cats, such as dangling wands, but only under supervision. When not using these toys, keep them out of reach.
Keep Garbage Out of Reach
If your cat has a habit of getting into the garbage, try keeping it away from her, like in a closet or under lock to ensure she doesn’t go exploring for something she shouldn’t hve, even after you’ve thrown it away.
Keep a Clean Environment
Homes with roaches or mice put your cat’s health at risk. These animals’ waste products can provide a source for roundworm infection. Roundworm eggs can also be passed from cat to cat through their stool. Keeping a clean home and litterbox are essential to your pet’s health.
If you notice the signs of an intestinal blockage in your cat or pet, take her to your veterinarian immediately. Left untreated, it could lead to more health problems. Try to keep foreign items out of reach to reduce the chance of an intestinal obstruction, but also monitor your cats’ health and behavior for sudden changes.
Do you suspect your cat ate something she wasn’t supposed to? Is your cat having trouble going to the bathroom, or has she stopped eating? It’s time to visit your veterinarian. We offer a wide range of services to find the exact cause of the problem and have the expertise to recommend the proper treatment for your cat.
To schedule an appointment or to bring your cat in for an emergency visit, please call us at 281-693-7387, or visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas.
As your cat gets older, it’s important to keep an eye on him. Cats are masters of disguise, and a slight change in behavior could point to an underlying problem in an older cat.
You can give your cat his best life through the years if you know the signs of aging in cats and the problems that can arise from the simple passage of time.
All cats should get regular check-ups with their vet, but it’s extremely important for aging cats. Your veterinarian can help catch issues early, especially if your senior is good at hiding them. Feel free to call Cinco Ranch Veterinary at 281-693-7387 to schedule your cat’s next check-up.
Sign #1: Your Cat Is Having Trouble Eating
As your cat ages, his teeth are more prone to dental disease, which can make eating difficult. Signs of a dental issue include:
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at his face
- Losing teeth
How You Can Help Your Cat
Like other injuries and illnesses, cats can hide dental issues from their owners, so it’s important to regularly check your cat’s teeth or have it done by a vet, even when he’s young. It’s best to catch a dental problem before it progresses into something more serious that could require surgery or tooth removal. Brushing and specialized diets can also help prevent problems.
If your cat is already missing teeth or having other mouth issues, either from aging or dental disease, your vet may recommend a specific diet to make it easier for him to eat.
Sign #2: Your Cat Isn’t Coming When You Call
Cats, just like humans, are prone to changes in hearing. Becoming hard of hearing is an extremely common sign of aging in cats. Over time, your cat may experience damage to his ear or nerves, resulting in hearing loss.
Signs your senior may be going deaf include:
- Not coming when you call him
- Meowing louder than usual
- Being harder to wake up
- Getting startled when you approach him
How You Can Help Your Cat
If your cat is going deaf or just not hearing as well as he used to, try not to sneak up or startle him. If your cat is an outdoor cat, consider keeping him inside instead, as he won’t be able to hear cars and other dangers. To keep your cat safe should he wander off, give him a microchip.
Sign #3: Your Cat Is Running into Things
Deteriorating sight is also a sign of an aging cat. Haziness and cloudiness is common in older cats and, in most cases, doesn’t affect their ability to see, but other issues like cataracts and high blood pressure should be given extra attention.
Cataracts are not extremely common in cats, even in seniors, but can occur. Look out for whitish pupils. High blood pressure, just like in humans, can lead to blindness in your cat. Unlike cataracts, it’s extremely common in cats.
How You Can Help Your Cat
One of the first things you should do if you have a cat who is blind or losing his sight is avoid adding hazards to his environment. He’s probably already comfortable in your home, so don’t move things he’ll remember the placement of, like furniture. Cats rely more on their hearing and smell than their sight, so the loss of it doesn’t mean your cat can’t live a full life; however, you should never let a blind cat outside.
If you notice your cat is having trouble seeing in the dark, take him to a vet as soon as possible. This could be a sign of high blood pressure and may be able to be treated before it worsens.
Sign #4: Your Cat Isn’t as Energetic as Before
As any pet ages, they tend to lose energy. Your cat will sleep more and play less, and that’s completely normal. If your cat becomes lethargic, however, make an appointment with your vet.
How You Can Help Your Cat
The best thing you can do for any senior cat keep them out of stressful situations. This includes big changes, new pets, and new situations. When stressed, cats can lash out at other animals, cease using the litter box, or become more aggressive overall. Ask your vet about reducing stress.
Sign #5: Your Cat Isn’t Moving Like He Used to
Aging cats are extremely prone to arthritis. The smallest of physical changes could point to this problem, so if you notice your cat limping or grooming himself differently as he ages, take him to the vet for a check-up.
Other signs of trouble moving include no longer jumping on your bed and other furniture and simply not being able to climb into his litter box.
How You Can Help Your Cat
The symptoms of arthritis can absolutely be treated by a vet and will reduce pain and discomfort. Your veterinarian may recommend a different diet, weight loss, or medication.
Your cat may have difficulty reaching specific spots on his body when he grooms himself. Grooming your cat will prevent problems like matting.
Rearranging your home slightly will also help your feline friend. Make access to his water and food bowls, litter box(es), toys, and favorite places a little easier to reach. He’ll also appreciate a little help if they are looking to get into bed with you.
Other Signs of Aging in Cats
There are several other signs that your cat is aging that are not cause for alarm, like brittle claws and changes to his coat texture or color. If you’re concerned about a particular change, ask your vet!
Just like humans, cats change as they age. Unlike humans, cats are expert at hiding symptoms, discomfort, and pain. So you need to be the lookout! If you notice alterations in your aging cat’s behavior or physical appearance, keep an eye on them for other changes to prevent problems. If you suspect something is wrong, contact your vet.
One of the best things you can do for your aging cat is to get regular check-ups. This can help set your mind at ease and ensure your senior is getting the best care, nutrition, and attention possible as he gets older. If it’s time for your senior’s check-up or you suspect a problem, call us at 281-693-7387.
“Don’t eat that!” How many times a day is that question directed at your cat?
There’s no doubt cats love string and yarn (and anything that looks remotely like string or yarn). As fun as it can be for them to play with, string and material like it can be quite dangerous to their health. Here’s what you need to know if your cat swallows it!
How to Tell If Your Cat Ate String
If you didn’t witness your cat chomping on string during playtime, you might not know right away that she swallowed something she wasn’t supposed to. In some cases, you may never know it occurred because your cat can pass it on her own.
When it doesn’t pass on its own, there can be serious consequences, but you will see signs of an obstruction (bunching up in the intestines). Look out for:
- Problems going to the bathroom
- Not eating
- Not wanting you to touch her stomach
What If You See the String?
You may be able to see the string in your cat’s mouth or later, coming out of your cat’s anus when she attempts to pass it. Never try to take the string out of your cat’s mouth. It could cause serious damage to her digestive tract, as you don’t know how long it is and whether it’s wrapped around something internally.
If you see string hanging out of your cat’s back end, don’t pull on it. The best solution is to carefully trim it and contact your veterinarian. Even trying to gently pull it out could cause damage to your cat’s intestines.
Your Cat Ate String: What to Do Now
If you notice any of the symptoms above, whether you know your cat ate string or just suspect it, go to the vet. Their care will ensure the string doesn’t cause more serious issues.
What Can the Vet Do?
If the string is wrapped around your cat’s tongue, it can be removed by your veterinarian.
If the string was swallowed completely, your veterinarian may order X-rays, blood tests, extra fluids, medication, or an endoscopy. They may also induce your cat to vomit, but this only works if the string has not passed further into your kitty’s digestive tract.
In more serious cases, your cat may require surgery.
You should never attempt any of these solutions at home.
Cats, just like dogs, can sometimes get into things they’re not supposed to. Just like string, these are items you’ll want to keep out of their reach:
- Rubber bands
- Dangling toys (With supervision, these are generally fine!)
- Paper clips
- Dental floss
It’s important to use judgment when giving your cats new toys. If you’re not sure about a toy’s safety, check the reviews and ask your veterinarian. It’s a good idea to avoid toys:
- That have dangling strings or other items
- That have eyes that can be easily removed
- That are extremely small and can be easily swallowed
Sometimes food and plants looks like fun to a cat! Here are some things that definitely aren’t cat food:
- Insect bait
- Chicken bones
This is a short list of the things that can have negative consequences for your cat. If you suspect she ate a poisonous or dangerous item, contact your vet immediately. You can also call Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435.
Safe Toys for Your Cat
While there are items that are not safe for your cat, there are plenty of great playthings! And they don’t always have to be labeled as “cat toys!” Here are some great toys, homemade or store bought, your kitty can enjoy.
- Shower curtain rings
- Colorful springs
- Wands (with supervision)
- Laser toys
- Cardboard boxes
- Paper bags (without handles)
- Ping pong balls
- Cat tree
- Food maze
String—and material like it—is never a good idea for cats, dogs, or any other pet, but if your cat ate something she wasn’t supposed to—or you suspect she did—it’s time to visit your veterinarian. The sooner the item is discovered, the easier it may be to get out.
If your cat swallows string or eats another foreign object, please give us a call at 281-693-7397, or bring your pet to our hospital located at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, especially if your cat is already displaying symptoms. If it’s an emergency, we can assist over the phone and at the office, even if you don’t have an appointment.
If you have a flight booked and want (or need) to take your pet along, one of the first questions you have is likely about airline pet policies. Thankfully, lots of airlines are pet friendly. Read on for a summary of the pet policies of each of the major United States airlines.
General Rules & Reminders About Bringing Your Pet on a Plane
Each airline has different rules and regulations when it comes to traveling with pets, but here are some common things to keep in mind:
– Many airlines only allow pets on flights that are less than 12 hours long.
– Each airline has rules about kennel sizes, which may vary depending on whether your pet is in carry-on or cargo. Generally, their carrier should be big enough for your pet to move around in.
– Pets will not always be allowed on your flight if you’re making a connection.
– Snub-nosed cats and dogs may not be allowed onboard. Examples:
– Pets should be at least eight weeks old, but some airlines require them to be older.
– There may be a specific number of animals allowed on a flight, so book your pet’s spot ASAP!
– Each destination (especially international destinations) has its own restrictions and requirements. When flying internationally, check with the country’s embassy to ensure you follow their rules for bringing in pets. Hawaii, for example, has specific requirements, as does Australia.
– Service animals are allowed on all flights, but double-check with your airline about their guidelines.
What to Bring When You Fly with a Pet
- Food (depending on the length of the flight) – If your pet is traveling in the baggage hold, they should have had food and water at least four hours prior to their flight.
- A favorite toy
- Vaccination records
- Health certificate from a veterinarian
- ID tags and licenses
The pet policy from American Airlines® (AA) allows you to carry-on or check cats and dogs for flights to and from specific destinations. They do not allow pets on transatlantic flights.
No matter how you would like to fly your pet, they must be eight weeks or older.
If you wish to bring your pet with you onboard, they must be under 20 pounds. Their kennel counts as your carry-on bag and costs $125 each way. American Airlines restricts the total number of pets allowed as carry-ons, so reserve your pet’s spot as soon as you know you want to take them along!
You can check up to 2 pets for $200 each. You must have their health certificates with you and register for their spots at least 48 hours in advance. If you are transporting your pet because you’re moving or adopting them from somewhere else, they’ll need specific documentation and preparation.
AA will not transport pets to certain cities during the summer due to heat.
Learn more about American Airlines’s pet policy: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/pets.jsp
Delta’s pet policy allows you to bring cats, dogs, and household birds on flights up to 12 hours. Your pet must be 10 weeks old for domestic travel and 16 weeks for international. Space is limited, so it’s essential that you notify Delta about your plans as soon as possible.
The fee to carry your pet on a flight is $125. Their kennel should fit under the seat in front of you and counts as one of your two allotted carry-on bags. Although only one pet is generally allowed, if you have a nursing mother with a litter, the litter can come along.
Checked pets must fly with Delta Cargo. This requires a separate ticket. Note that your pet may not be on the same flight as you if you choose Cargo.
Learn more about Delta’s pet policy: https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/special-travel-needs/pets.html
The airline pet policy for Frontier allows for small pets on domestic flights, including:
- Guinea pigs
- Small birds
Only dogs and cats are allowed on international flights.
You can only bring your pet on as a carry on. Frontier no longer checks pets.
To carry your pet onboard costs $75 per flight. Frontier Airlines advises that you pay in advance, during your booking. You may have to pay more if you wait until check-in.
Learn more about Frontier’s pet policy: https://www.flyfrontier.com/travel-information/family-pets
Small pets, including dogs and cats, are allowed to travel as carry-on baggage with JetBlue. Their baggage areas are pressurized, which means you don’t have the option of checking your pet as cargo. Space is limited onboard, so book your spot as early as possible.
Their free program, JetPaws, makes flying with your pet easier and more comfortable.
JetBlue requires that all pets have their vaccination and documentation with them. The fee is $100 each way.
Learn more about JetBlue’s pet policy: https://www.jetblue.com/traveling-together/traveling-with-pets/
Southwest welcomes cats and dogs to fly with them. Because Southwest experiences high temperatures in their baggage area, furry friends are only allowed to travel as carry-ons.
Each flight costs $95. While you’re only allowed one carrier, you are welcome to bring two pets within the kennel. Southwest only allows pets on domestic flights and does not request health certificates. Only six pets are allowed on each flight, so ensure you book your loved one’s spot early.
Learn more about Southwest’s pet policy: https://www.southwest.com/pets/
If you’re traveling with your pets and flying on Spirit Airlines, you can bring along dogs, cats, and birds, as long as the kennel remains under 40 pounds. They’re only allowed in carry-on and primarily only on domestic flights, although you can bring your dog or cat with you to Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.
Spirit’s fee to fly with a pet is $110 each way. They only allow four pets per flight, so book your furry friend’s spot as quickly as possible. You won’t be asked to produce a health certificate, but your pet should be eight weeks or older.
Learn more about Spirit’s pet policy: https://customersupport.spirit.com/hc/en-us/articles/202096926-Does-Spirit-Airlines-allow-pets-on-board-
United offers pet owners several options for traveling with pets. Small animals are allowed to fly, including:
United recently partnered with American Humane to ensure their transportation service, PetSafe, gives your pet the best flight possible. The team is made up of professionals, and the program has climate-controlled vehicles. If you have a long connection, PetSafe provides onsite and offsite accommodations. Customer service for their program is available 24/7.
The number of pets allowed to be carried on a United flight is only six, so make sure you save your pet a spot. The fee is $125 and may be more if you have long connections.
If you wish to check your pet, you’ll need health certificates and have to meet specific crate requirements. The fee you pay is based on the weight of your pet and carrier.
Learn more about United Airlines’s pet policy: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/animals.html
If you’re traveling with your pet, it’s important to do your research into your airline’s pet policies but also the requirements of your destination, especially if you’re flying internationally. Each airline is slightly different, so speak with the agents to ensure you meet the rules for your pet. Learn more about any airline’s rules, restrictions, or requirements on their website or by calling their customer service line.
If you’re traveling with your dog or cat in the near future, your airline may require vaccination records or a health certificate. We’re happy to help! Give us a call at 281-693-7387 to set up your pet’s pre-takeoff appointment.
And if you decide to keep your pet at home while you fly, we offer safe and comfortable boarding facilities. Learn more about them here!
Every cat owner wishes their feline friend could be with them forever. Whether you want to ensure the best care for your aging cat or you’ve just adopted a brand-new kitten, you may find yourself wondering, “How old will my cat live?” Here’s what you need to know about your kitty’s longevity.
How Old Do Cats Live?
Most cats live an average of 15 years, but some have been known to live to 20 and older! Your cat’s lifespan depends on a couple factors:
- Her breed
- Her genetics
- Her health
- Her lifestyle
The oldest cat in the United States was from just down the street in Austin, Texas. Creme Puff was 38 years old when she died.
What About Human Years?
Many pet owners believe cats follow the rule of dogs: Each dog year is seven human years, but this isn’t the case (and it’s not entirely true for dogs either! It’s generally agreed upon that a 2-year-old cat is about 25 in human years. Each human year after that is an additional four in cat years. By that math, a 7-year-old cat is about 45 in human years.
How to Tell How Old Your Cat Is
There are a few ways to tell how old your kitty is, but the person who can give you the most accurate estimate is your vet. We generally look at your cat’s teeth. Kittens usually still have their baby teeth, but by four months, their adult teeth are coming in. They have all their adult teeth by six months, but those teeth have dulled by two years old. And tartar is evident around three to five years old.
Judging how old your cat is based on her size can be a bit difficult, as different breeds grow at different rates. One year is enough for most cats to reach their full size, but Maine coons and other large breeds may take up to four years.
Body type could give you an idea:
- Young cats are muscular.
- Middle-aged cats tend to be rounder.
- Seniors have more pronounced bones.
Other ways you can determine a cat’s age is by looking at her fur, her eyes, and her behavior.
Do Indoor or Outdoor Cats Live Longer?
Your cat may want to venture outside to explore or even hunt, but it’s not the best option for her longevity. A study by Purdue showed that indoor cats can live 2.5 times longer than outdoor cats and even indoor cats that are only sometimes allowed to venture outside.
Common threats include:
- Other animals – Fights with other cats, dogs, raccoons, and even birds can lead to injuries, infections, and diseases.
- Poisonous plants
Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor kitty, vaccinations can go a long way toward extending their lifespan. For outdoor cats, up-to-date shots are especially vital. They can easily contract rabies, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or feline leukemia. Spread by fighting and sometimes just contact, these diseases could transfer to other cats or pets within your home.
We’re happy to make sure your cat and any other pets you have are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Just call us to schedule an appointment!
You Can Help Your Cat Live a Long Life!
Good news! There’s lots you can do to help your cat stay in the best health for as long as possible:
- Yearly checkups (a perfect time for shots) – Your vet could catch a disease or other problem before it becomes serious.
- Spaying or neutering – It does more than just prevent overcrowding of shelters; it reduces the risk of your pet contracting diseases or illnesses. Cats that are not spayed or neutered are more prone to uterine infections, breast tumors, testicular cancer, and ovarian cancer.
- A healthy diet
- Enough (fresh) water daily
- Clean litter daily or more often
- Using a cat carrier for travels or trips to the vet
- Plenty of toys and scratching posts or boxes
- Daily interactaction for bonding and stimulation
- Regular grooming, including brushing and nail clipping
- Keeping an eye out for small changes in your cat’s behavior – If you see any, schedule an appointment with your vet. Cats are good at hiding their symptoms, so observation is key!
A furry friend brings joy every year they’re with you, but you can give your cat her best life through each season if you know her lifespan. Whether you just adopted a new family member or you want to check the health of your older companion, bring your cat in for an appointment with us. We’ll help you understand her health and put you in the best position to give her the best care possible. Call us at 281-693-7387!
When you take your new kitten or puppy in for their first checkup, you know to get the first round of shots: distemper, rabies, heartworm, kennel cough, etc. Your vet probably asked you about getting a microchip as well. But why does it matter?
If you’re not sure how a microchip works (or how the process of getting one works), or you’re just not convinced it’s that big of a deal, you’re not alone! Many pet owners don’t understand the importance of getting their new family members microchipped. Read on to find out all the ways it matters for the safety of your furry friend!
What Is a Pet Microchip?
If you are a new pet owner or haven’t had a pet in years (and look forward to bringing one home soon), you may not have heard of a microchip. Approximately the size of a grain of rice, the tool is used as electronic identification, like an ID card your pet never leaves home without. The information stored on the chip is saved on a database. With the swipe of a scanner, any veterinarian’s office or animal shelter can retrieve your pet’s information straight from the microchip.
Microchips aren’t only for dogs and cats! They can also be used for ferrets, horses, and other small mammals that become part of human families.
Note: The information stored on a microchip can only be accessed if the animal is brought to a shelter or vet and scanned. They don’t act as GPS trackers.
Why Would You Want Your Pet to Have a Microchip?
There is a big, glaring reason to microchip pets: To recover those that get lost. Shelters take in about eight million animals each year. Many of them are lost pets, and few owners ever find them. About 15% to 20% of dogs are picked up by their owners from shelters, and only 2% of cats return home.
Fortunately, most animal shelters and veterinarians have the scanners needed to read microchips’ information. When a shelter worker or vet tech passes the scanner over the microchip, they retrieve whatever information is on it. Usually, it contains the pet owner’s contact information, including:
- Pet’s name
- Phone number
- Sometimes email
Some microchips also include the veterinarian’s contact info as an extra precaution if the owner’s information is not kept up-to-date.
If your pet gets lost, you don’t have to wait around for a vet or shelter to call you! Notify the manufacturer of your pet’s microchip. Some manufacturers have a system in place to contact all shelters, rescues, and vets to notify them of your missing animal. Check out this post for even more tips for finding your lost pet.
Need a bonus reason to have your pet microchipped? A microchip can’t get lost.
Collars can fall off or be ripped off. Cats are notorious for getting rid of them. But a microchip can’t be tossed!
Of course, that doesn’t mean your pet shouldn’t wear a collar. If a good Samaritan finds your lost dog or cat without one, they could believe he’s a stray and not approach him. A collar with ID tags is noticeable to passerby.
How Do You Get a Microchip? 2 Simple Steps
Step 1: Go to the vet.
Microchipping a pet is very similar to giving them any shot or vaccination. Using a hypodermic needle, the microchip is implanted, usually between the shoulder blades. If you are getting your pet spayed or neutered soon, that appointment is a great time to schedule microchip implantation. Under anesthesia, your furry friend won’t feel a thing.
Step 2: Do your part.
There are steps you need to take after your pet is microchipped. In most cases, you will have to send a packet of information to the manufacturer of the microchip. This is extremely important. If you forget to complete this paperwork, the manufacturer may not have the information needed to contact you if your cat or dog gets lost and then found.
Don’t forget: This is also the case if you move. Review and update your information regularly to ensure your pet can return home.
If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, make an appointment with your vet to get one! Ask which microchips are commonly used in your area. Most shelters and vets use a universal scanner, which can detect any type of microchip, but some use only specific scanners, meaning your pet’s microchip could go undetected. You may also want to call the shelters in your area to determine if they’re using universal scanners. (If they aren’t, request that they get one!)
Losing a furry family member can truly bring heartbreak to the family. You can take preventative measures by keeping an eye on your animals, not letting them outside alone, and microchipping your pets. All these things can help them stay where they belong, but if they do get loose, don’t give up hope! Some dogs and cats are found days, months, or years after they disappear. One family was reunited after a whopping ten years all thanks to a microchip!
If your pet isn’t yet microchipped, we suggest you make an appointment as soon as possible. If your pet gets out, it’s important they can get back home. Give us a call at 281-693-7387 to learn more about keeping your pet safe today.
Trimming your cat’s nails doesn’t sound like a fun chore, does it? Most cats won’t let you touch their paws, let alone trim their nails! But it’s something that needs to be done for your cat’s overall health and comfort.
Here are some tips for how to get started, followed by a step-by-step guide to getting those claws to the right length. (And if you’re a dog owner too, check out our step-by-step guide to trimming their nails!)
Why Trimming Your Cat’s Nails Is Important
Scratch posts, boxes, cat trees, and your furniture only go so far in keeping your cat’s nails short, sadly. This means you have to regularly trim their nails. Without trimming, long claws could lead to serious problems, like turning in on the pads, creating pain and a potential infection.
Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed can also lead to more comfort for you. There’s nothing cuter than a cat kneading your leg, but it can quickly turn to an “ouch” moment if they catch you with one of those needles. Longer claws also make it easier to scratch during play, rip up the carpet, or tear apart the couch.
Just trimming the tips can make a world of difference for you and your furbaby. How often you should trim your cat’s claws varies and depends on how fast they grow. We recommend you check them every two weeks, though older cats may need to be checked once a week.
If you don’t feel comfortable checking or trimming your cat’s nails, or your cat just won’t cooperate, give us a call at 281-693-7387, and we’ll happily schedule an appointment!
Materials You Need
Everything you need to trim your cat’s nails can be found online or at your local pet store. Here are just a few things you should have handy:
- Nail Clippers
- Styptic powder or styptic pencil
For cats, you have two choices when it comes to nail clippers:
Scissor clippers, which use a scissor motion, are a great choice if you’re new to nail trimming or just need to trim the tip of the nail.
Use guillotine clippers for thicker or tougher nails. They work by sliding the claw into a slot, where a blade cuts it.
In most cases, scissor clippers will get the job done.
Styptic powder is essential in case you make a mistake while trimming your cat’s nails. If you cut too far, the powder or pencil can stop the bleeding. Always have this on hand before attempting to cut your kitty’s claws.
And treats are always a good idea! They can help your cat relax and start to enjoy their regular manicures.
Note: Never use human nail clippers on cats or dogs. Human nail clippers are not designed for the shape of animals’ nails and could lead to injury.
Your First Few Times…
The Internet is a wonderful place for learning how to trim your cat’s nails, and so are we! You should always watch someone who knows what they’re doing trim an animal’s claws before you attempt to do it yourself. YouTube videos are a great place to start, but you may also want to ask one of our expert groomers for advice before getting started.
Always ensure your cat is comfortable before starting with the trim. We highly recommend you start slowly. In the beginning, this may mean just getting your cat comfortable with you touching their paws and the sound of the clippers. Once they relax, you may then only be able to get one nail done before they get uncomfortable. This is okay. Never try to cut a cat’s nails while they are stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable. It could lead to accidents or injury.
Once your cat is more comfortable with the procedure, you may want to try to do a paw a day until they can sit still for all four. Always have treats on hand to reward them, especially when you’re starting out.
If you can, try trimming your cat’s nails when they are still a kitten. Starting early can be much easier for you and your cat.
Steps to Trim Your Cat’s Nails
When both you and your cat are ready, it’s time to trim their nails.
Step 1: Hold your cat.
Hold your cat in your lap, facing away from you. Only continue to the next step if they are comfortable.
Step 2: Massage the paw.
Take your kitty’s paw into your hand, and slowly massaging it. Press the pad lightly to extend the claws. Determine which nails need to be trimmed.
Step 3: Find the quick.
This is the pink part of the nail, where all the blood and vessels are contained. Avoid cutting this part. You may want to trim less than usual just to be on the safe side.
Note: If you accidentally cut the quick, use the styptic powder immediately. Hold it to the cut nail, and stop trimming for the day. If you’re nervous about how much you cut the quick, you can always make an appointment for the vet.
Step 4: Clip!
Clip the nails using either your scissor clippers or guillotine clippers.
Step 5: Treat!
Bring out the treats! Even if you only managed to get one nail trimmed before they grew uncomfortable, they should still get a few. Treats can help reduce the stress of the procedure.
When to Take Your Cat to A Professional Groomer or Vet
Trimming your cat’s nails can be quite an adventure, especially if it’s the first few times and they aren’t yet comfortable. If you don’t feel confident that you can trim your cat’s nails or your cat isn’t relaxing after a few weeks of attempts, you should absolutely schedule regular appointments with your veterinarian or professional groomer.
If your cat’s nails ever reach the point of affecting how they walk, it’s important to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Your cat will be in pain and may require antibiotics.
Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed and well taken care of is essential to your pet’s health. Scratching posts are simply not enough to do the job! If you are struggling with trimming your cat’s nails and they’re getting long, it may be time to make an appointment. Call us at 281-693-7387 to schedule one!
Everyone loves a fluffy dog or cat, but did you know the hairless breeds are also adored? Despite their biggest fans, they’re still much less well-known than their furry counterparts.
Learn about the coolest hairless dogs and cats out there, and give them some love!
1. Mexican Hairless
The Mexican hairless dog, officially known as the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced: show-low-eats-queen-tlee) or the Xolo, is one of the rarest breeds in the world. It’s also one of the oldest. The name Xoloitzcuintli is ancient! It’s a combination of Xolotl, an Aztec Indian god, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog.
Native to Mexico and Central America, Xolos are considered to have been one of the first dogs to live on the North American continent.
Xolos are most often hairless, although they can occasionally be born with a very short coat. Many are blue-gray, but they can come in a variety of colors, including:
Due to their lack of hair, the dog developed warm skin. Thanks to their warm bodies, they made excellent cuddle companions for those with arthritis. They were also believed to ward off other ailments and evil spirits.
What’s the Mexican Hairless Like?
Today, Xolos are known for being extremely loyal dogs, devoted to their families. A common name for them is “Velcro dog” because they won’t leave your side! They are also intelligent and athletic, making them trainable and excellent guard dogs. Xolos love exercise and long walks, though they will remain calm in the house.
It’s usually recommended that Xolos be supervised if you have other dogs or children, but they’re excellent companions if you’re allergic to dogs as they’re hypoallergenic!
COOL FACT ABOUT XOLOS! Mexican hairless dogs are commonly seen at the “World’s Ugliest Dog” competition!
2. Chinese Crested
The Chinese crested’s origins are first in Africa and later in China. Bred to be small, they were soon all over the world, becoming popular in the United States by the 1900s. They did not become an AKC breed until 1991 and are usually companion pets today.
Although they are considered hairless, they often have fur on their heads, paws, and tails. There is also a variation of the Chinese crested known as a powderpuff, which is entirely covered in silky fur. This variation is rare, since the hairless crested is often preferred. A toy breed, the Chinese crested weighs about 10 pounds and comes in 11 different colors.
What’s the Chinese Crested Like?
Like a Xolo, your crested will become extremely close to you once it overcomes its shyness. Affectionate, playful, and goofy, cresteds are also considered “cat-like” because they love high places. They’re great with children, so long as the kids are taught to be gentle.
If you’re considering adopting a Chinese Crested, keep in mind that the hairless variety will need regular treatment for its skin to avoid sunburn and other injuries. The powderpuff version requires regular brushing.
COOL FACT ABOUT CHINESE CRESTEDS! As the ancestors of the Chinese crested left Africa, they were often used to hunt rats on ships!
3. American Hairless Terrier
The American hairless terrier (AHT) is a relatively new breed of dog, especially when compared to the Chinese crested and Xolo. In the 1970s, a hairless dog was born to a purebred rat terrier in the United States. Named Josephine, the owners wished to have more like her, and the American hairless terrier came to be after an extensive breeding program. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2016.
The AHT can come in 19 different colors, with 7 variations in markings. There is also a coated version of the American hairless (known as the coated carrier). A smaller dog, they weigh up to about 16 pounds.
What’s the AHT Like?
Since it originated from the rat terrier, the urge to hunt and rat still exists for the AHT. But because they don’t have a coat, they can’t take part in those activities. They still have an energetic streak, though, so they love to play and explore. They’re intelligent and territorial, making great watch dogs for the family.
As with the Xolo, American hairless terriers are hypoallergenic, making one a great choice if you suffer from allergies. They also get along wonderfully with other pets.
COOL FACT ABOUT AHTS! They are the often considered the first hairless breed to start in the United States.
The sphynx cat is a relatively new breed of hairless cat. The original one was born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada to a domestic cat. Recognized as unusual, cat breeders began a program to create a healthy version of the hairless cat through selective breeding with various furred cats, like the devon rex. The results are a beautiful sphynx with fewer genetic problems.
A truly unusual cat, a sphynx is born with plenty of wrinkles that start to disappear as it grows older. Its body can be either smooth and hairless or with a very fine down, like a peach! Sphynxes come in a variety of colors, from white to chocolate to calico. If they have any fur, it will often be the same color as their skin.
What’s the Sphynx Like?
If you love an attentive cat, you’ve found it in the sphynx. Affectionate and cuddly, it will not leave your side. Sphynxes are also clever, fearless, and friendly, even to strangers. There’s no doubt they make excellent companions.
If you’re looking for a cat that will truly capture your interest and heart and even keep you laughing, the sphynx is an excellent choice. They even do extremely well with other pets and children. It’s highly recommended that you adopt two if you work away from home, as they do love companionship at all times.
5. The Donskoy
Although the donskoy is often mistaken for the sphynx, it’s its own breed! Also known as the Russian hairless, don sphynx, or don hairless, this kitty got its start in 1987 when a bald cat had kittens, just as bald as their mother. A breeding program began soon after, and the donskoy went on to become recognized by the World Cat Federation in 1997 and The International Cat Association by 2005.
This hairless cat comes in four different types:
- Rubber bald
- Velour coat
- Brush coat
- Flock coat
The rubber bald is completely bald from birth, while velour, brush, and flock coats have a variety of fur and textures. Flock coat, for example, appears to be bald, but does have soft fur. Donskoys also come in a variety of colors, from blue to lilac to auburn.
What’s the Donskoy Like?
The donskoy is very similar to the sphynx in behavior:
If you’ve always wanted a dog, but love cats, you may find your soulmate in this hairless breed. Extremely intelligent, they’re trainable and have some of the best qualities of both cats and dogs.
A wonderful lap cat, this is a kitty that won’t leave your side. It also gets along with everyone in the family—from kids to adults—and has excellent social skills with all other pets in the home.
COOL FACT ABOUT DONSKOYS! The donskoy’s paws are quite unusual: Their webbed toes and thumbs allow them to pick up items!
Hairless dogs and cats may look unusual, but there’s no doubt they make excellent additions to homes, especially with owners who have allergies! If you’re interested in adopting one of these dogs or cats, check out your local shelter first. Many purebreds in shelters have their documentation! If you’re considering breeders, always ensure they have the proper paperwork and the animals are well taken care of.
If you take home a Mexican hairless, a Chinese crested, an American hairless terrier, a spyhnx, or another pet, congratulations! Make sure they see a vet for their first appointment! Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387 to schedule your fur(less) baby’s checkup!
Everyone knows dogs need baths, especially after a trip to the dog park or a romp in the backyard.
But do cats?
You may not realize your feline fur baby needs a bath from time to time. Giving your cat a bath and living to tell the tale might sound impossible. It’s not!
Here’s exactly why bath time is important and how to do it.
4 Reasons Bath Time Matters for Cats
There are a few reasons why your cat may need a good cleaning now and again or more regularly.
1. Your cat doesn’t groom itself.
Even though cats are programmed to groom themselves, some are not so good at it, especially if they get into dirty or dusty places. They may have greasy or stained spots on their coat that they’re just not taking care of. For long-haired cats, it’s especially tough to keep up with all the grooming required!
Still, most cats are good at cleaning themselves. If you notice your cat isn’t grooming itself, there may be a medical reason. Obese and arthritic cats, for example, have a hard time reaching their lower backs. This causes the hair to become matted and, in turn, irritates the skin. Cats with mouth disease or tumors also have no interest in grooming themselves due to the pain.
If your cat has suddenly stopped grooming, call us. It may be time for a trip to the vet to check for an underlying cause.
2. Your cat has fleas.
No cat wants to have fleas, and neither do you! A flea infestation should be handled immediately. Sometimes a bath can help remove the little pests, the flea dirt, and the eggs.
Most flea medications kill fleas, but if an infestation is particularly bad or your cat suffers from a flea allergy, a bath can provide immediate relief. There are also soaps specifically designed to help relieve your cat of these pesky critters.
For fleas, make sure you talk to your vet about the available medications, treatments, and shampoos.
3. Something is stuck to your cat’s coat.
Cats are notoriously curious, and sometimes that leads them into sticky situations—literally! If your kitty wanders outdoors, it can easily come home covered in tree sap, motor oil, or other items. Or your curious critter got into the syrup, honey, or another sticky food in the kitchen!
Even small spots of something stuck in fur may be impossible (and unhealthy) for your cat to get out on its own. For your cat’s health, it’s important to remove whatever substance is in the coat as quickly as possible.
If you suspect your cat has consumed a foreign substance, make a trip to the vet to ensure it didn’t ingest too much, and it doesn’t need medical attention.
4. Your cat has ringworm.
Ringworm is not like hookworms or roundworm. It’s actually a fungus on the skin that appears as a lesion. These lesions sometimes disappear on their own, but treatment is occasionally needed. This could be a combination of:
- Topical creams
- Oral medications
It’s recommended you bathe your cat before applying the cream. Other times, your cat may be prescribed a medicated bath.
When is it time to schedule a visit to the vet? If your cat has a skin lesion with:
- No fur
- A scaly center
- Small pustules
4 Tips Before You Bathe!
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind before you start gathering what you need!
1. Start young – Some cats, when introduced to water as kittens, grow to love the bathtub!
2. Brush regularly – Doing so in between baths can help your cat find relief, especially if it has long hair. Brushing removes dead hair, dead skin, and dirt, but also helps with blood circulation.
3. Do it for your cat – Even if your feline isn’t dealing with any of the issues listed above, regular baths help it maintain a healthy coat.
4. Read the bottle first – Certain pet shampoos and soaps are not made for kittens. If you’re not sure, ask your vet.
4 Items You Need for Bath Time + 4 More You’ll Probably Want
You’ll have to gather a few items as you prepare to give your cat its first bath. Here’s what you should have ready:
1. A Towel or Non-Slip Mat
This will protect your cat from the uncomfortable, slippery surface of the bathtub.
2. Pet Shampoo
Never use human shampoo or soaps on your pet. If you are unsure what brand to use, ask your vet for a recommendation before starting.
3. A Detachable Shower Head with Low Settings, a Bucket, or a Pitcher
4. More Towels
Have towels ready to dry your cat off after its bath.
Optional #1: A Laundry Basket
You may want to use the laundry basket inside the bathtub, to give your cat a more comfortable, secure area for bathing.
Optional #2: Gloves
If this is your cat’s first bath time, consider using gloves to prevent scratches. Long gloves are recommended. It may also be a good idea to trim your cat’s nails before bath time.
Optional #3: Treats
Baths can be stressful for some kitties! Treats could help yours relax.
Optional #4: A Helper
For cats that really don’t like baths, a helper may be a necessity. Someone the cat is comfortable with is always preferred.
How to Wash Your Cat
Now that you have all the items you need, it’s time to start the bath!
Fill about an inch or two of the bath with warm water. Ensure that it’s not too hot.
Put your kitty in the bath. If you’ve enlisted the help of a family member or friend and your cat is not happy, one of you should hold the cat while the other bathes him or her.
Pour (or use the shower head on a very low setting) the warm water over your cat, avoiding its head.
Lather your cat up with pet-friendly shampoo. Again, it’s important to avoid:
Rinse off your cat with warm water, either from the shower head or bucket. Make sure all the soap is off your cat.
Gently dry your cat using towels. If your cat is young, it may love being put in what is known as a “purrito!” This is similar to swaddling a baby.
Giving your cat a bath for the first time can be trying. That’s why it’s important to start as young as possible to ensure your furry friend is comfortable as it gets older. Whether for the benefit of their coat or their health, sometimes a bath for your cat is an absolute must.
If your cat is particularly adamant about not having a bath or you’re uncomfortable giving your pet a bath, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional groomer. We offer grooming services for both cats and dogs! Find more information here, or call 281-693-7387.
If you’ve been on the Internet, it’s safe to assume you’ve run into your fair share of famous Internet cats. Their cute capers are captured in images and videos across the Web. There’s no question that cats rule the Internet. Sorry, dogs!
Why do cats get the majority of YouTube views and funny captions? An exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York titled “How Cats Took Over the Internet” posited that the answer lies in:
While dogs outwardly show their emotions—there are plenty of dogs excited to see their returning servicemen and women, for example—cats do their own thing. They don’t pay attention to the camera or even to people, in most cases. They behave as if no one is watching, sometimes unpredictably. We peek in on their world because we wonder, “What will they do next?” Time Magazine said people like to watch cat videos because “we’re all secret voyeurs.”
Cats are also cute and funny, and that definitely plays a role in their fame!
Getting Their Start on the Internet
Even before YouTube, cats started taking their place as the mascots and representatives of the Internet. ebaum’s World, a site popular in the early 2000s, featured the short “The Kitty Cat Dance.” When YouTube was released, the first cat video was posted by YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. The next year, “Puppy vs Cat” became the first cat video to go viral. Today it has more than 16 million views!
The year 2007 was when cats and their Internet popularity took off running with the introduction of the LolCats website, i can has.cheezburger.com. The website allows users to take cat photos and write captions over them, resulting in plenty of cute photos featuring cats and other animals!
The Cat Stats
Today, there are over 2 million cat-related videos available on YouTube alone. They average about 12,000 views each, higher than any other category. I Can Has Cheezburger also currently boasts about 100 million visits each month. The cat phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down.
The Most Famous Internet Cats
Ask anybody to name at least one famous Internet cat, and they can probably do it. Here are just a few of the most popular:
The runt of a feral litter, Lil’ Bib is an adorable girl who gets her unique looks from several genetic mutations. Her tongue hangs out due to a short jaw and not having teeth, but that does not affect her voracious appetite. Although she had some difficulty finding her forever home, Mike Bridavsky knew she was for him the second he saw her.
Since her introduction on Tumblr in 2011, Lil’ Bub has been showered with over 2 million Facebook likes, starred in documentaries, attended meet-and-greets, and won awards. Her owner sells plenty of merchandise featuring the famous cat, but the majority of sales go toward animal rescue groups.
Tardar Sauce, better known to the Internet as Grumpy Cat, also received her looks from a genetic mutation. Her appearance is caused by feline dwarfism and an underbite. She rose to fame after a relative of her owner posted her photo to Reddit. It was only a matter of time before she became an Internet meme and well-known Lolcat.
Grumpy Cat has also made her rounds of the celebrity circuit, appearing on news shows, in photo sessions, and even as a guest on WWE Monday Night Raw.
Cats love boxes, and there is no better model of this than Maru. Maru’s owner has over 540,000 subscribers and at least 1 video with over 22 million views featuring some of his most famous antics. No matter how big or how small the box is, this Scottish Fold from Japan will try his hardest to fit.
Sadly, this next cat has passed on, but Colonel Meow’s fame will live on through the Internet. In 2014 he held the Guinness World Record™ for longest fur on a cat at about 9 inches long! His face did the rest when his owners posted photos of his grumpy, militant appearance to social media.
Simon’s Cat is a famous cartoon featured on YouTube. Although the cat is technically a drawing, it is based on the artist’s (Simon’s) cat and the many cat antics that all pet owners experience. With over 4 million subscribers, the YouTube artist has just under 824 million views on his hundreds of videos. For any cat owner that is woken up at 5 AM by cries for food or destroyed trees at Christmas, this YouTube channel is a must-watch.
Dogs Get Their Due
While cats reign supreme on the Internet, it wouldn’t be right not to acknowledge the Internet-famous dogs. “Yes, This is Dog” is one of the most popular and most used memes on the Internet today. And this puppy received over 183 million views for his antsy behavior and the well-done dubbing by Talking Animals. Fenton rose to fame when he decided chasing deer was more important than listening to his owner, and Denver became well-known when he made the choice to get into the cat treats.
There are plenty of diversions available on the Internet, and cats are definitely one of them, but there’s no question our lives would be a little less furry and a little less funny without their antics.