Pet ID week is here – Keep your cat safe!

LadybugBaby ShowerMissing pets are an all too common occurrence for pet parents. We all want to minimize the chances of this happening to our beloved pets, so what can we do?

  • Microchipping improves the chances of reuniting you with your lost cat if your contact information is current. A microchip is a permanent form of identification that your cat can’t lose. The small chip is implanted under the skin in the shoulder area, so if your cat does stray away, the chip reveals the unique ID number assigned to them. So if they turn up at a shelter or clinic, their microchip can be easily tracked to an owner. In the case that your lost pet is injured while missing and requires emergency care, you can be contacted quickly regarding treatment choices.
  • ID tags with pet and owner information are another option, if your cat tolerates wearing collars. However, there is a chance that the collar can come off, leaving your cat without ID. Remember to always update your address and phone number when moving with your microchip company, and on your ID tags.  Read more Pet ID week is here – Keep your cat safe!

Don’t drop that grape! Poison Prevention in Cats

Everyone wants to protect their pet as much as possible. Learning more about potential poisons and toxins for cats is your best defense for preventing exposure to these harmful substances.

We’ve compiled a handy list outlining a variety of household toxins.

  • Be aware of harmful plants! With easter right around the corner, we’d like to remind everyone that lilies are toxic to cats. (All parts of the plant including the leaves.) Other plants to watch out for are: azaleas, sago palm, oleander, and fox glove.
  • Tylenol causes severe liver damage in cats. Only ever give medications that are prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Although cats do not have taste receptors for sweetness, chocolate ingestion does occur. Chocolate contains theobromine which can can cause gastrointestinal upset, seizures, and death. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated and dangerous it becomes for our pets. Coffee should be avoided as well.
  • Treat your cat safely and never offer the following human foods: grapes, onions/garlic, raw eggs, fat trimmings and bones, and chocolate/caffeine as mentioned above.
  • Contrary to the common belief, cats should not have cow’s milk as it can cause diarrhea. Once kittens become adults, they no longer have the enzymes required to digest dairy.
  • Flea products purchased over the counter may contain permethrins. These substances are highly toxic to cats, especially if the wrong dose is applied. Permethrin toxicity produces muscle tremors and seizures, and may even cause death. Always check with your veterinarian first before applying any flea treatment to a sick, elderly or pregnant cat. See us for safe and effective control of fleas and parasites!
  • Insect and rodent traps are poisonous to our pets too, and often these products are baited with attractive ingredients. Make sure they are kept out of reach, or consider live traps instead if possible.
  • Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) should be completely inaccessible. As little as one teaspoon can permanently damage the kidneys, causing death.
  • Ingestion of excess salt (such as table salt or road salt) can disrupt your cat’s electrolyte balance and cause burns in the mouth and throat. Salt is also irritating to the skin, so if your kitty wanders outside, wipe off their paws for them with a damp cloth.
  • Do not allow access to areas that have been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers until the area has dried completely or the label indicates it is safe to do so.
  • Longterm effects of second hand smoke do affect our pets. Breathing in or ingesting the toxins from their fur while grooming can cause respiratory disease and cancers over time.

If your cat shows any symptoms of toxicity, or if you are concerned about toxin exposure please do not delay and contact a veterinarian right away.

Environmental enrichment ideas

Here are some suggestions to stimulate your cat and keep them purring!

Read more Environmental enrichment ideas

Travelling with your Cat

A New Year is sure to bring new adventures! For Pet Travel Safety day, we want to help you re-assess your cat’s travel safety. Preparation is key! Here is a list with some helpful hints.

Before you go:

  • Choose your carrier wisely. Hard sided carriers that open from the top are ideal. Make sure it’s roomy enough for your cat to turn around in. Add some blankets or a bed from home – familiar scents will re-assure your cat and make the ride more comfortable.
  • If you are flying with your cat, please check with the airline for any specific carrier requirements and make sure your hotels are cat friendly.
  • Check with your veterinarian to find out if your cat is healthy enough to travel. Make sure vaccines are up to date and pick up flea/parasite prevention. When travelling out of the country, know the requirements of the embassy of your destination country and CFIA.
  • Make sure your cat has visible, easy to read ID tags and if microchipped, ensure all of your information is current.
  • If your cat is on a therapeutic diet or medications, pack extra in case of emergencies!
  • To prevent car sickness, you can withhold food a couple of hours before travelling (do not withhold water).
  • The safest place for the carrier in a car is in the foot well behind the front seats. You can also secure the kennel with a seat belt on the back seat.
  • Practice driving short distances with your cat before the actual trip.

Read more Travelling with your Cat

Cold Weather Hazards

With winter in full swing, there are many risks that this time of year can bring to our feline friends.
Here are some tips and hazards to be mindful of:

1) Frostbite – pets are just as susceptible to frostbite as humans in freezing temperatures.
Areas most at risk are the extremities – ears, paws and tail. Keep pets inside and out of cold weather whenever possible and especially at night when temperatures drop!

2) Tap your hood – outdoor cats often hide under the hood of cars to keep warm. When the engine is started, the cat can be seriously injured or killed by the fan belt, or suffer from burns. Tapping on the hood of the car gives cats a chance to escape safely.

3) Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) – Extremely toxic substance if ingested! Just a few teaspoons can be lethal. The sweet smell attracts cats. Animals can become poisoned when licking spills in the driveway or garage. Choose an antifreeze product with propylene glycol, a safe alternative!
As a rule of thumb, keep out of reach of pets and clean any spills promptly.

4) Salt – If ingested, can cause severe burns to the delicate tissues of the mouth and throat. Salt is also damaging to pads causing burns, dryness and irritation. There are ‘Pet Safe’ salts commercially available made of magnesium chloride. Wildlife will appreciate this as well!

5) Cat shelters – help outdoor feral cat communities and strays by providing cat shelters! Here’s a link for how to build them :

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Holiday Hazards

We want you and your cat(s) to enjoy all the wonders of this magical season safely! As you decorate for the holidays and prepare festive feasts, keep these potential hazards in mind so you can avoid an emergency.

  1. easter-lily-dangerLilies are deadly for cats. Leave these out of your bouquets as any part of the plant can be harmful to a cat. Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are also toxic and should be kept well out of reach. Opt for a pet safe bouquet!

    2. Chocolate is a favourite Christmas treat to give and to get, but.. don’t share with your pet! Chocolate poisoning occurs within hours of ingestion causing vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and even death. Theobromine is the toxic compound. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

  2. Tinsel, Ribbons and things that sparkle may intrigue your curious feline to bite, chew and bat them around. While this can be entertaining to watch, ingestion of these foreign bodies can cause severe damage to intestines and in some instances if the object gets stuck, surgical removal may be required. These pets are usually dull and depressed with vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
  3. Secure the tree ! This one is self explanatory !  Use baby gates to block access to the tree when no one is home to avoid a cat-astrophe!
  4. Avoid table scraps. Although it is tempting to treat our kitty friends, it is best to stick with pet safe treats to prevent an upset stomach.
  5. Holiday lights can be an inviting chew toy for cats and kittens. Make sure your cords are not frayed,  inspect for defects and short circuits, and store them away from the tree’s water and off the ground. Unplug when there is no one around. If you have caught your cat chewing, there are plastic covers commercially available.
    In case of electrical shock, contact your veterinarian or emergency department immediately.
  6.  Maintain routine.  Cats are creatures of habit and the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be very stressful! Make sure your cat has a safe place they can retreat to when there are visitors. Always ensure there is fresh water and avoid making changes to their feeding schedule or their diet this time of year. Consider the Feliway happy cat diffuser or spray to help calm and re-assure kitty! int-phar-feliway-refill_1