Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pet Insurance Concept is Growing!

Hey, it looks like pet insurance is going to be the "next big thing" in the pet care industry. Even Purina is getting on this one. Here's a quote from Purina, from an article that appeared in a publication called Business Wire this month:

"Pet insurance can bring real peace of mind - and [is] a great help when it comes to the unforeseen expenses of treatment. Even so, you should be careful to choose the right company and the right policy for your pet."

More and more companies are adding pet coverages to their products. It pays to ask when you are shopping for insurance, as there are different options available at this point.

Also, for more info, check my site at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is Your Cat Insured?

Besides veterinary insurance for your cat's health problems, now there is also auto insurance!

It won't pay for everything, but there is a new policy that covers cats and dogs who are injured in a vehicle accident.

Earlier this month, Progressive, the insurance company that has those engaging TV commercials, announced they will now cover pets that are injured (or, sadly, killed) in an accident while riding in your car.

Here's how it works:

You don't have to ask for it... it is automatically included in the collision part of your policy. However, you have to ask for the collision coverage. It's not required like liability is.

There is no deductible. However, the coverage is capped at $500 per accident. A small catch here is that the cap applies no matter how many pets are involved. So you can't expect multiples of $500 per animal.

This is not a replacement for veterinary health insurance. Many companies now cover health claims, but not accidents. Progressive's coverage ONLY covers injuries that result from the accident. They also cover replacement of the pet if it dies from the injuries.

To get a claim paid, all you have to do is send in the vet's bill. The company promises there will be no hassles.

Pet auto insurance is a very new feature in the industry and as far as I know, no other company offers it... yet. Progressive is (as they themselves say), well, progressive!

Check them out at

If you want to know more about pet health insurance, look at this web site:

Every Pet

Monday, September 10, 2007

How to tell if your cat has a health problem

Cats can have a variety of health problems, some of which can defy detection.
Cats do not reveal they are in pain, unless it is extreme, so it is up to us to be vigilant in our observations.

Use your 5 senses to notice problems:
1. Smell - If your kitty has a bad odor, take note of its source. It could be bad breath... signaling a dental or oral problem, or a digestive problem. Body odor can mean the cat is not self-grooming, perhaps due to arthritis or obesity.
2. Sight - Watch for changes in weight, especially drastic weight loss, for signs of underlying health problems. Notice eating habits, elimination behaviors, changes in sleep patterns and overall energy levels.
3. Listen to your cat's breathing. If there are sounds of congestion in the lungs, or a stuffy nose, it could mean a respiratory illness. Also be mindful of your cat trying to get your attention by whining or whimpering. Sometimes they "ask for help" by vocalizing.
4. Touch - Regularly pet your cat and notice if the fur is as smooth as usual. If the coat is oily, or dry, or if there is significant dandruff, there might be a skin problem. Also feel for lumps under the skin, sore spots (kitty will let you know if you touch a painful place), and for general condition. Sometimes you will notice weight loss by feel before you see it, especially if kitty has long hair.
5. Taste - Well, let's not go there. However, you might take a moment to see if kitty is still interested in the usual foods. Cats can lose interest in food if it doesn't taste right, and that can signal illness, too.

In all cases, if you notice any problems in your observations, take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible. When cats get sick, they can deteriorate rather quickly. Don't wait until it's too late.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some Cat Health Problems Can Be Due to Dental Disease

(Feeding dry food to prevent it is a myth)

Middle aged and older cats are especially susceptible to health problems due to dental disease, possibly because their teeth have had longer to deteriorate if they have not had proper care. As with humans, lack of proper dental care may lead to gum disease, for one thing.

Many pet care experts recommend feeding dry kibble style foods as the main dietary component, presumably to keep the teeth cleaned, but that's a myth.

One look at a cat's teeth will tell you why.

The primary use of cats' teeth, which have sharp points and edges, is shredding and tearing... not grinding. That's because cats are "obligate carnivores," that is, they are "obligated" by Nature to be meat eaters. Not kibble eaters, not grain eaters, not even canned food eaters.

Just watch a cat eating dry food. A lot of it is swallowed whole. Some of it is crunched, maybe once, and they swallow the particles when each kibble bit shatters. It simply does not scrub the teeth.

Over the last hundred years or so, people have created pet foods as a convenience to themselves, and is not always the best quality for their pets.

The fact remains, though, Nature created their digestive systems to require a primarily meat diet. So why have we been trying to tame it out of them? It's because we can't handle either the mess or the idea of it. It seems so... well... barbaric!

If you can't stand to feed your kitties some raw meat now and then, along with raw bones to give them something to really chew on to strengthen their jaw muscles, plus something that really does clean their teeth, then you need to resort to alternatives.

Those alternatives include brushing your cat's teeth yourself, but be sure to ask for guidance on how. For example, don't use a human tooth brush, and never use human tooth paste.

There are also products that help with dental health, such as chew toys for cats, and some chewy treats made specifically for this purpose.

Last, don't forget to provide supplemental vitamins to help with their nutritional needs if you just can't do the raw meat thing.

For more great info on cat health problems, visit this site:

Cat Health Secrets

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kidney Failure is a Major Cat Health Problem

Kidney failure, more common in older cats than young ones, seldom results in a shut down all at once, so a kidney problem can become a chronic, or, long-standing cat health problem. In that case, the kidney's tissues gradually deteriorate, until there is not enough functional tissue left to do the job.

The kidneys' job is to filter impurities out of the blood. So the individual usually dies when those toxins become overwhelming.

Fortunately, kidneys can maintain normal, or nearly normal, function for a long time - until only a tiny fraction of the kidney remains. However, this makes it easy to miss the signs of disease until it's too late. Add to that a cat's ability to keep a stiff upper lip through some of the most debilitating conditions and their reluctance to show pain, and you have a formula for tragedy.

Since cats seldom admit to feeling poorly, you have to be extra vigilant to even notice most cat health problems. Watch eating patterns, drinking habits, sleep cycles, personality changes, and litter box routines. These all can provide clues to your cat's health. With chronic renal failure (CRF) it is especially important to watch these things.

The disease typically progresses slowly, but it can run a more rapid course, too. It depends on why the kidneys are failing and how well the "patient" is supported.

Causes can include certain diseases of the kidneys, such as pyelonephritis, amyloidosis and chronic obstructive uropathy in older cats, or it can be caused by congenital defects or tumors in younger ones.

What to watch for:
In the early stages, the cat will typically be very thirsty and drink a lot, will urinate often and a lot, and there may be occasional vomiting. As the disease progresses, there will be loss of appetite, ulcers in the mouth, more vomiting, and diarrhea. In the terminal stage, there is severe dehydration, even more vomiting, convulsions, and sometimes they will go into a coma at this time, and death ensues. It is important to differentiate this from diabetes, as the symptoms are similar. Sadly, by the time any symptoms show up at all, it is likely the kidneys have already lost about 70% function.

What to do:
While there is no cure, there are things you can do to make your kitty more comfortable as the disease progresses.

* Provide lots of fresh water daily.
* Low protein diet. (There are commercial foods available that meet these requirements. Or, you can feed a high quality protein, such as egg or liver, in small amounts daily. Consult with a veterinarian who is familiar with CRF.)
* Low salt diet for cats that develop high blood pressure.
* Administer a medicated gel that contains aluminum hydroxide to control phosphate levels. (Cautionary notes: see med notes)
* Medicate with cimetidine to control stomach acidity.
* Supplements high in B-vitamins can help compensate for urinary losses.
* Steroids such as oxymethalone or nandrolone may help cats that are anemic.
* IV therapy may be needed for cats with uremia (waste products in the blood) in the final stages.

Remember to make dietary changes slowly as changes made too rapidly can make the condition worse.

More information here: The Problem Cat

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Senior Cat Health Problems

Just because your cat is old doesn't mean she is all used up! She may have fewer years left to play and purr and keep you company, but she may still enjoy all the things she always did. The key is to keep her happy and healthy. And you need to be more attentive to her needs as her body changes with the aging process.

As with humans, cats can experience hearing loss, decreased eyesight, cataracts, arthritis, diabetes, heart problems, digestive problems, and a general slowing down of all physical processes. While she may still play and chase a string or a ball, she may not do so as often or as vigorously.

But with proper diet, appropriate exercise and a happy, stress-free environment (preferably indoors), many cats can live more than 20 years. (By contrast, outdoor cats are lucky to make it to their second birthday.)

If kitty develops joint pain, usually due to arthritis, she may feel less inclined to play, or even to move around, and may nap most of the day. If this is due to pain, she will decline faster from inactivity, losing muscle mass, making further movement more and more difficult.

A good massage feels great at any age, although youngsters may not appreciate a session. As we all age, sometimes a relaxing massage is just what one needs to keep the old bones a-movin' so we can get through another day. It takes a special touch and the right approach to massage a cat, since we can't explain to them what we plan to do. Learn how it's done with the information here:

Cat Massage Secrets

The bottom line with any pet's well-being, including their old age needs, is the concept of consideration. When you grow old, won't it be nice if your family is considerate of your new needs? Just do the same for Fluffy, and she will appreciate you for it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Distemper - one of the most common cat health problems

Distemper is one of the worst, and most common of cat health problems. It is caused by a parvo virus and is similar to that found in dogs.

This is an extremely deadly disease, highly contagious among cats, and the virus itself can live in the environment for years. If planning to bring a new cat into your home, be sure it has been vaccinated first.

The disease has a high mortality rate - up to 60 percent of adults, and 90 percent of kittens. The incubation period is 3 to 7 days. The disease begins with a fever, loss of appetite, weakness and depression. Diarrhea and vomiting are common. And while they remain thirsty, victims usually suffer dehydration. Once infected, they seldom live longer than 5 or 6 days. If they survive, they usually have some brain damage, which results in a lack of coordination later.

The only good thing that ever comes of this is that survivors are solidly immune for life and never need to be vaccinated against distemper.

Because some cats may experience severe vaccine reactions and can die from that, it is best to wait until kittens are old enough, strong enough, and healthy enough to tolerate vaccination.

Check with your vet on that. It's usually around 9 weeks, but it isn't always best to follow a schedule from a book, but rather, to be sure individual kittens can handle the vaccine.

To be safe, never vaccinate a kitten that is still nursing, no matter what age it is. The kitten is receiving passive immunity from the mother and the vaccine is wasted anyway, as the kitten will not develop its own immunity as desired.

Also be sure to have any vaccinations completed at least 2 weeks prior to any potential exposure (no matter how remote the possibility), such as what could occur if going to a farm, to a new home, a cat show, or anywhere that groups of unacquainted, unrelated cats may be present.

More information here: The Problem Cat - Diseases

Monday, August 20, 2007

7 Tips To Help Kitty Stay Young and Healthy

Follow these 7 tips to avoid the most common cat health problems:

1. No people food. Well, keep it to a minimum. Some of our
little buddies go nuts for some of the silliest things. I
have one who would kill for pizza crust. So, I give in now
and then. But just a tiny bit of it, and not often. Just
enough to let her know I'm paying attention to her requests.
But most of our human food provides little nutritive value
for cats (for us, either!), and may even be detrimental.

2. Use treats sparingly. Some cats absolutely love those
very tasty treats and may try to convince you to use them
exclusively as their primary food. Don't let kitty talk
you into this. They are usually very high calorie and
could make your little buddy become your large buddy!

3. Keep the overall caloric daily intake to a reasonable
level. Check with your vet to find out what your cat's
requirements are. Like people, cats have individual needs,
too. Also, balance diet with exercise. You can walk with
your cat outdoors with a leash (if kitty is trained to do so), or if
kept exclusively indoors, be sure to engage in daily play times.

4. Maintain good oral hygiene. If your cat will allow it,
brush her teeth often. If not, check with your vet to find
out how to do it, or to obtain dental treats. Did you know
that gum disease is the greatest source of health problems
in cats? Good dental and gum care will prevent some very
painful problems that can shorten your cat's life.

5. Keep kitty safe indoors. This is probably one of the best
things you can do to lengthen your cat's life. The risks of
being outside include: disease, predators, traffic, poison
(either accidental or otherwise), and other hazards.

6. Indoor cats need more play time than outdoor cats.
This means more attention from you, which is good for
both of you anyway. Be sure kitty's toys are safe. A ball
of yarn is not safe, for example, as a cat could swallow some
and get into trouble with a twisted bowel, requiring surgery.
If you do play with string or yarn, be sure to always be present to
prevent her from swallowing any.

7. Regualr vet visits. Get your vet's advice on any changes in your
cat's routines to be sure they don't signal illness.

For more great info on cat health problems, visit this site:

Cat Health Secrets

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Did you know cats can get Alzheimer's Disease?

If your older cat is acting weird, it could be a mental disorder... even Alzheimer's disease... according to a news item posted at Discovery News. (See Alzheimer's in Cats)

Dementia isn't just for humans anymore... more than half of domesticated cats over age 15 have been identified as having some form of mental disorder, possibly due to their close association with people, as they often are exposed to the same kinds of environmental and nutritional deficiencies as their owners.

The good news is that many cat health problems may be mostly preventable with proper diet along with physical and mental stimulation throughout their lives. In other words, feed nutritionally complete foods, keep kitty away from hazards, and play with her to keep her mind active.