Friday, January 28, 2011

Must Re-home - Urgent!

Please help! After two long years of being on a waiting list for a cat, we have been notified by breed rescue that, at long last, our number has come up and ... WE ARE HAVING A KITTEN!

We must get rid of our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time consuming our new little kitten is going to be and it just wouldn't be fair to the children. Since our little kitten will be arriving on Monday we MUST place the children up for adoption this weekend!

They are described as:

One male -- his name is Tommy, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde hair, blue eyes. Four years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn't bite. Temperament tested. Does have problems with peeing directly in the toilet. Has had chicken pox and is current on all shots. Tonsils have already been removed. Tommy eats everything, is very clean, house trained and gets along well with others. Does not run with scissors and with a little training he should be able to read soon.

One female -- her name is Lexie, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), strawberry blonde hair, green eyes quite freckled. Two years old. Can be surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally. She is current on all shots, tonsils out, and is very healthy and can be affectionate. Gets along well with other little girls and little boys but does not like to share her toys and therefore would do best in a one child household. She is a very quick learner and is currently working on her house training. Shouldn't take long at all.

We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what's right for them. That is why we contacted a rescue group. But we simply can no longer keep them. Also, we are afraid that they may hurt our new kitten.

I hope you understand that ours is a UNIQUE situation and we have a real emergency here! They MUST be placed into your rescue by Sunday night at the latest or we will be forced to drop them off at the orphanage or along some dark, country road. Our priority now has to be our new kitten.

$10 re-homing fee but price is very negotiable.

"Mommy... NO!"


______________________________________

Horrified?  Good.  That’s just how my staff and I feel when you ask me to find homes for your “beloved” cats the moment you learn that a baby is on the way.  Family is family, and that includes our pets.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Pet Salad With That Mouse? - Interview with New York Times about Felines and Cat Grass

A Pet Salad With That Mouse?
By JEFF GORDINIER of NY Times

WHEN you first see it among the vegetables at a grocery store, you might leap to the assumption that Pet Salad is some sort of gag gift. Has our national obsession with all things organic progressed to where someone is now selling a gourmet version of the Chia Pet?

Not exactly. Pet Salad is, in fact, a salad. It’s made to be munched on, but not by you. Produced by a Rhode Island-based organic-greens company called Farming Turtles, and distributed throughout the Northeast, Pet Salad is a trademarked and cutely packaged version of something that’s been available at farmers’ markets for years: wheatgrass for pets, including iguanas, tortoises and especially cats.
And yet you wouldn’t be entirely wrong about the “gag” part, since it is not uncommon for a cat to chew on wheatgrass and spit it up, perhaps with a dislodged hairball in tow.

None of which stops Lauri Roberts, the founder of Farming Turtles, from speaking of Pet Salad in a way that might win an approving nod from Thomas Keller. The grass, she said, is a type of hard red spring wheat known as Bronze Chief. She plants it in organic soil. She gets the seeds from Montana.
“I don’t want to tell you the name of the company,” Ms. Roberts said on the phone the other day, “because I don’t want people to use my seed.”

Before starting Farming Turtles in 2006, Ms. Roberts was running a Chicago company that sold greens intended for humans. “People who were buying the wheatgrass from me for themselves were complaining that their cats were eating the grass,” she said. “This is how it all started.”

Farming Turtles now sells thousands of Pet Salads every week at around $4 a pot, she said.


Catherine Hoffmann, an owner of Bell Rock Growers in Southern California, said that her company was cultivating wheatgrass for juice bars, and “we noticed that people were buying the little containers for their pets.” Now Bell Rock sells more than 25,000 pots of organic Pet Grass each week, at around $4 to $5 each, Ms. Hoffmann said, and the company has branched out to package a wide range of wheatgrass-infused delights, from chicken pot pie-flavored treats to pet shampoo and conditioner.


Companies that grow wheatgrass for pets can be evangelical in promoting the nutritional and cosmetic benefits cats derive from grazing on the radiantly green tufts. “It gets rid of hairballs, it makes their hair shinier — this is within three weeks of starting to eat it. And they never have bad breath anymore,” said Ms. Roberts, 51.



Many pet owners buy wheatgrass because of a belief that domesticated creatures are compelled to nibble on greens to get fiber and nutrients — notably chlorophyll — that they can’t extract from their regular diet. (Wheatgrass proponents point out that cats are inexorably drawn to the stuff, although no one seems to know why. Cats themselves tend to shun interviews.)

Veterinarians aren’t so sure about the benefits. “Do cats need chlorophyll? No,” said Dr. Arnold Plotnick, the owner of Manhattan Cat Specialists on the Upper West Side. “Cats are true carnivores, so they are not really designed to eat plants and vegetation. As far as I know, there’s no science to back up the claim that cats need nutrients that they can only get from eating grass.”

Dr. Ann E. Hohenhaus, from the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, agreed. “Cats just don’t have a requirement for that,” she said.

That said, neither veterinarian sees anything wrong with a cat’s snacking on wheatgrass, provided the cat happens to get a kick out of it. “Part of me wonders if it’s not an opportunity to play with their food,” Dr. Hohenhaus said. “If you watch your cat eating grass, it will often bat at it.”

And a clump of pet salad might serve as a deterrent, luring cats away from household plants that could be unexpectedly toxic.

Wheatgrass, on the other hand, is safe. “The only harm that might come,” Dr. Plotnick said, “is if your cat barfs on the carpet.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Veterinary Trend: Cat-only Clinics

Veterinary Trend: Cat-only Clinics

By Elijah Merrill of The Daily Cat

Dr. Kelly Wright, a veterinarian and the co-owner of The Cat Clinic of Orange County in Costa Mesa, Calif., doesn’t experience daily barking, panting or dog smells in her cat-only clinic. As a result, the stress levels of the cats that come in and out on a regular basis are “two or three notches down,” according to Wright.

“Cats can get very nervous and stressed at a vet visit,” agrees Dr. Arnold Plotnick, a veterinarian and the owner of the Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York City. “If a cat is in a carrier near a German shepherd in the waiting room, it can be so frazzled by the time it gets to the exam room that it can be impossible to deal with. But here it’s peaceful and quiet. They don’t see, hear or smell dogs.”

A Unique Option for Cat Owners

There are no statistics available on how many cat-only clinics have been established across the country, but internet searches reveal a healthy number of them in most U.S. states. Like the Cat Clinic of Orange County and the Manhattan Cat Specialists, many were designed from the start to be cat-specific. There are no oversized scales, the kennels are consistent rather than varying in size, and the drug inventory is specialized for cat care. “We have a very dedicated staff that cares very much about cats,” says Plotnick. “We’re all cat lovers and I think it shows in our work.”

Plotnick strives to go beyond standard veterinary care, offering wellness programs tailored to four different age groups and providing extensive preventive health services. The Manhattan and Orange County clinics both also offer grooming and boarding services. The Orange County clinic has large-windowed enclosures that overlook the building’s large lobby, as well as multilevel “townhomes” -- complete with four-poster beds and skylights -- for the most discriminating cats.

Benefits of Cat-only Clinics

Plotnick and Wright note that their decisions to focus only on cats should in no way detract from the quality of care at general, all-species veterinary clinics. A good veterinarian is a good veterinarian, no matter how many kinds of animals he or she treats. For midnight emergencies, a general veterinary hospital will likely remain your only option, but even doctors at general hospitals say that cat-only clinics can have distinct advantages.

“You get the benefit of a vet who has decided to make themselves an expert at this one animal,” says Dr. Trisha Joyce, an emergency veterinarian at New York City Veterinary Specialists. “Also, it probably means that they are better able to invest more in equipment and medical supplies specific to the illnesses cats get. Cats aren't small dogs, and sometimes the drug options stocked by a general hospital are geared more to dogs.”

Ironically, there’s also a human element that gets addressed, according to Dr. Katy Nelson, a Virginia-based veterinarian. “Cat owners and dog owners are very different creatures in and of themselves,” she says. “So, having a facility that caters to the needs of ‘cat people’ could be very advantageous in dealing with this clientele.”

Plotnick concurs, noting that his clients tend to be “very attuned” and “super-devoted” to their cats. While his decision to focus exclusively on cats inevitably cut a large population of animals out of his business model, it’s a decision he gladly made.

“During my post-grad career, I always had an affinity for cats and became known as a person who enjoyed feline medicine and was good with cats,” he says. “I was comfortable with them and found their diseases and illnesses particularly interesting. When I opened my practice, it seemed natural to do it as cat-specific. And I think it’s worked out very well.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Anatomy of the Feline Mouth


As a cats-only practitioner, I don’t mind when people say that I’m looking down in the mouth, because the feline mouth is fascinating. Cats use their mouths for a lot of things – eating, drinking, grooming, and communication. Although cats breathe mainly through their nose, the mouth provides an additional passageway for air to enter the lungs.

Cats are true carnivores, and this is reflected in their mouths and teeth. The teeth are responsible for tearing, cutting, and grinding food into pieces small enough to swallow. Feline teeth are also used as weapons, both offensively (for example, hunting) and defensively (as when I foolishly try to insert a thermometer into a cat who does not want his temperature taken).

Cats are “diphyodont”, which means they have two sets of teeth, the deciduous (“baby”) teeth which are shed and are replaced by the second, permanent set. Kittens are born with no teeth. At about 3 to 4 weeks of age, the deciduous teeth begin to erupt. By 6 weeks of age, all 26 deciduous teeth are present. At 4 to 5 months of age, the deciduous teeth are lost and the permanent teeth erupt. By six months, all of the adult teeth will have erupted.

Adult cats have four types of teeth. They are the incisors, the canines, the premolars, and the molars. In the upper jaw (the maxilla), there are 6 little incisors, two canines (the “fangs”), three premolars, and one molar. The incisors are used mainly for picking up objects and for grooming. The canines are used for holding prey, and for slashing and tearing when fighting. Premolars function mainly for breaking food into small pieces, as well as for carrying and holding. The molars have flat surfaces and are used to grind food into small pieces. In the lower jaw (the mandible) you’ll find the same number of incisors, canines and molars, however, there are only two premolars instead of three. The total number of permanent teeth in a cat is 30. (Adult dogs have 42 teeth, in case you’re wondering.)

The teeth themselves have their own anatomy. Every tooth has a crown – the part of the tooth visible above the gums – and a root, which is located below the gums. The root of a tooth is embedded in the alveolus – the “socket” in the jaw bone. Roots are tightly attached to the alveolus by a ligament called the periodontal ligament. Some teeth, like the canines, have only one root, while the largest upper premolar (also known as the “carnassial” tooth) has three roots. The roots of the upper teeth are anchored in the maxilla; those of the lower teeth are anchored in the mandible.

In the central core of the tooth is called the pulp, and it contains most of the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. Pulp is the only soft tissue of the tooth. The blood vessels nourish the tooth, while the nerves transmit heat, cold, and pain sensation. Surrounding the pulp is the dentin, which makes up the majority of the tooth and is responsible for a tooth’s white/ivory color. The dentin that makes up the crown of the tooth is covered in enamel. Enamel is the hardest tissue in the body.

The tongue is a muscular organ that has several functions, the main ones being the guiding of food and water into the mouth, and for taste sensation. The tongue assists in the chewing and swallowing of the food as well. Queens use their tongue to stimulate urination and defecation in kittens by licking the genital area. The tongue also may play a role in reducing body temperature in the cat. Dogs are well known for panting, but when the ambient temperature is particularly hot, cats will also pant. As air passes over the tongue, the air is cooled. Saliva augments this process as it evaporates.

The tongue of the cat differs from that of the dog in several ways. In the center of the tongue are papillae – small hair-like projections that act as small hooks. They are responsible for that “sandpaper” feel when cat licks our skin. These papillae are made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and fingernails. The papillae serve several purposes. They are important in grooming the fur. They assist in gathering and holding food inside the mouth. Specialized papillae at the tip and the sides of the tongue play an important role in taste sensation. Studies have shown that the feline tongue can sense texture as well as flavor, and this may explain why some cats prefer dry foods based on their shape. The feline tongue is very sensitive to temperature, and studies have shown that cats prefer food served at room temperature than chilled or warmed food. Many of my clients have told me that once they put leftover canned food in the refrigerator, their cat won’t eat it unless they microwave it back to room temperature.


Disorders of the mouth – dental problems in particular – are amongst the most common medical conditions seen in pet cats. If untreated, dental disorders can lead to bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth, oral pain, and difficulty eating. By nature, cats are very secretive, and it can be tricky to tell if a cat is experiencing oral discomfort. Sometimes, a cat will indicate that their mouth is hurting by pawing at their mouths, drooling, or deliberately turning their heads to one side as they eat to avoid chewing on the side that is painful. Some cats will completely stop eating due to dental pain. Others may stop eating dry food and only eat wet food. This is often misinterpreted as the cat becoming “finicky” about their food, when in actuality, they would prefer to eat the dry food but can’t because it’s become painful to crunch on kibble. Dental disorders can have consequences in other parts of the body, because bacteria in dental tartar can enter the bloodstream through the inflamed gums. These bacteria may infect the heart valves and kidneys.


By taking care of your cat’s mouth and teeth, you’re helping care for his overall health. Regular veterinary checkups and follow-up exams are necessary to maintain good oral health.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

CatChannel.com's Top Cat Stories of 2010

Top Cat Stories of 2010

See which stories attracted the most attention on CatChannel.com during 2010.

  1. Why does my cat throw up after eating?»
    CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, explains the possible causes for frequent vomiting in cats.
  2. Are all orange tabby cats male and are all calico cats female?»
    CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, explains how cats get their gender and colors.
  3. Does Your Cat Have a Fever?»
    A vet explains how to recognize a feline fever and take a cat's temperature.
  4. Why Does My Cat Drink Lots of Water?»
    Find out what a vet recommends for a cat who drinks excessive amounts of water.
  5. 7 Cat Emergency Signs»
    These signs indicate an emergency that requires immediate veterinary assessment.
  6. Is Your Cat Depressed?»
    This checklist will help you find out.
  7. Do Cats Get Lonely If Left Home Alone All Day?»
    CatChannel behavior expert Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, explains why interaction with humans and animals is essential in a cat’s world.
  8. Cat Dandruff»
    Find out what causes dry, flaky skin in cats.
  9. How Old Is My Cat in Human Years?»
    CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, provides a chart for estimating a cat's age as it compares to a person's age.
  10. Should a Cat's Nose Be Wet or Dry?»
    CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, says the notion that a cat's nose must be wet is not entirely accurate. 
Dr. Arnold Plotnick is one of CatChannel's feline health experts. Check out more of his CatChannel answers.
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