This article will go into the ins and outs of common problems arising from cats shedding their hair. We will discuss what is normal, what is not and what you need to do to diagnose a medical condition. I will also provide you some home remedies and tips to keep those nasty hairballs at bay.
Nature intended cats to be outdoor animals but we have changed the whole equation now. This creates a imbalance within the cats natural hair loss cycle. As a result indoor cats commonly shed for the entire year while outdoor cats will normally shed twice a year. Medicals experts agree that the reason behind this is the constant temperature found inside a house. Younger cats have a dry coat which protects them from shedding excessively. However older cats have no such protection.
So what do you do when you suspect your pet is shedding excessively? The first and the most obvious step is to take him to the vets office. If the vet is unable to find any infection then the likely cause could be a hormonal imbalance.
However the likely causes are almost always illness, skin allergy or parasites. You must follow a daily care regimen to get rid of them. Daily combing and brushing will go a long way towards weeding out dirt and germs from your feline friend’s fur. Hand grooming and a occasional bath should complete the cure. Cats also groom their claws using cat scratchers and furnitures.
You may find your cat has lost all his appetite. These symptoms are usually accompanied with vomiting; sever constipation and irregular bowel movement. It is likely that your cat is suffering from hairballs. A hairball forms when your cat swallows too many strand of hair when cleaning and grooming himself.
These loose strands of hair will form cylindrical shapes inside the stomach. This may lead to repeated bouts of vomiting. Don’t be surprised to find vomit on your favorite chair, living room rug or your laptop. Hairballs are seen with greater frequency in cats with long hairs and those that are shedding excessively.
Comb your cat daily to combat hairballs. You will also find over the counter hairball remedies. These can be administered to your cat on a daily basis. The medicine works by lubricating the walls of the intestines and allowing easy passage.
Diet will play a important role in keeping your cat free of hair related problems. Feed you cat lots of fiber such as beet pulp. Finally if the vomiting continues consult your vet. This could be a sign of greater illness.
Another known complication is known as impaction of a hairball. This requires proficient care and you should consult your vet if this happens.
Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) is a zoonotic Infection from a Bartonella henselae organism. Fleas carry the disease and infect the cat with Bartonella henselae. It is transmitted to people by a cat licking, biting, or scratching human skin. On rare occasion petting an infected cat and then rubbing one’s eyes have passed it. The cat doesn’t appear sick. Within 14 days of transmition a lymph node becomes swollen near the site of initial infection. This nonfatal disease was first described around 1889.
Lymph Node Swelling is a Primary Symptom
A papule forms at the site shortly after possible exposure by the infected cat’s saliva or blood. The papule may look like an insect bite or pimple and be ignored for a while. When a lymph node swells some 2 weeks later often no relationship between the papule and the node is made. Sometimes there may be swelling of 3 nearby lymph nodes. The area may be red and tender. There may be a mild fever, no higher than 101 for a few days and a feeling of fatigue. By the time the nodes are ½ inch to 4 inches large medical attention is sought.
Diagnosis Based on History of Cat Related Event and Henselae Titer
Without associating the lymph node development with cat contact some weeks earlier, patients are often subject to a series of tests for various diseases marked by enlarged lymph nodes such as cancer and tuberculosis. Before the ability to measure the henselae titers, the diagnosis was one of exclusion by biopsy, TB tine tests, mononucleosis, blood work, and history of recalled events with a cat. Today, a titer of 1:64 or more is diagnostic along with recall of the cat event.
CSD is Often Self Limiting
It will disappear on its own within 4 months. Antibiotics may be given because it is a bacterium. The cat, if a pet, is given a flea bath. For most people there is no long term after effect from the incident and once the diagnosis is given people feel better immediately knowing they don’t have a life threatening disease. It isn’t contagious from person to person. In some cases with severely immune suppressed patients the recovery may take longer.
Incidence of Cat Scratch Disease
The highest incidence seems to be in children under 10 years of age although this may be due to that age group seen more often by doctors. Some 22,000-24000 people are infected in the US each year.
Cats under one year are more often affected than older cats. CSD occurs throughout the world and varies in different cat populations. It is more common in warm humid climates (Florida) than cold (0% in Norway). It is more common in stray cats than in house pets. Following the cat flea population density, incidence of the disease peaks in the fall and winter.
Protection from Cat Scratch Fever
- Avoid teasing play with cats, especially kittens. Avoid getting scratched.
- Immediately wash scratches and bites thoroughly with warm water and soap.
- Control your pets’ fleas, whether dogs or cats with flea baths or monthly treatments as recommended by your veterinarian.
- Cover open wounds when handling animals.
- See your healthcare provider for any cat scratch or bite which appears warm, red, or infected.
Cats are often attacked by dogs or run over by vehicles, and may require expensive veterinary treatment. The injuries may even result in the untimely death of a beloved pet. If a cat can be contained in the owner’s garden with cat poroof fencing, he will not only be safe from road traffic accidents and dog attacks, but will also be protected from fights with other cats in the neighborhood. Cat bites can spread deadly diseases. According to the Cat Health Guide on Feline FIV, there is no cure for Feline FIV, which is mainly spread by bite wounds. Keeping your cat away from other cats which may be infected with FIV will prevent him from becoming infected.
Items Required for Cat Proof Fencing
- Garden mesh 50cm wide
- Metal brackets
- Plastic cable ties
- Galvanized staples
DIY Cat Proof Fencing Installation
In order to be effective, the fence should be at least 6 feet high, and the fencing should fully enclose the garden. Any shrubs or trees close to the perimeter which cats can climb up should first be removed. If one side of the garden is enclosed with a hedge instead of a fence, your cat may still be able to get out of the garden. Consider having the hedge removed and replace it with fencing. Follow these steps to cat proof an existing garden fence.
- Prepare weather proof brackets so that they are bent at an angle of 45 degrees. Building restraint straps are ideal for use as brackets, and have pre-drilled holes which can be used when fixing the brackets to the fence. Restraint straps can be bought from good DIY stores and builders merchants. Cut the restraint straps to lengths of half a yard each. Bend one end to 45 degrees at 4 inches from one end.
- Fix one bracket to the top of each fence panel using wood screws. Use one bracket for each fence panel.
- Fix the garden mesh on top of the brackets. Secure one end of the mesh to the first bracket with plastic cable ties. Use 2 or 3 ties for each bracket. Place the length of garden mesh over the second bracket and pull tight to take up the slack. Fix to the second bracket with cable ties. Repeat the process for all fence panels. Trim the excess length on all the cable ties.
- Attach the bottom edge of the mesh to the fence with galvanized staples. Use a hammer to fix them securely at regular intervals of about 4 inches. This will ensure that the cat is unable to get underneath the mesh.
Professional Fence Installation
If you do not feel able to install your own cat proof fencing, then you could contact a local fencing contractor and ask them to quote for the work.
BS (also known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD), which causes severe digestive upsets in cats, may be triggered by poor quality cat food.
Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder in cats, particularly those that are middle aged or older (though some younger cats are afflicted as well). Symptoms include:
- recurrent episodes of diarrhea
- soiling outside the litter box
- intermittent vomiting
- weight loss
- mucous or blood in the stool
- straining to defecate
- frequent defecation
- appetite changes
- rumbling sounds emanating from the guts
The most common symptoms are diarrhea and/or vomiting that come and go, as well as having accidents outside the litter box.
Sadly, many cats that suffer from IBS and start soiling around the house as a result are mistreated or abandoned to shelters because their owners assume that the problem is behavioural rather than medical.
Causes of IBS in Cats
According to Fox et al., IBS is caused by long-term stimulation of the immune system that disrupts a cat’s normal digestive functioning. The most likely culprit is cat food – in particular, cheap, high-carbohydrate cat foods (especially dry foods). These foods have been implicated in a number of other feline health problems as well, including feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and diabetes. Many cats are also sensitive to the poor-quality proteins and artificial ingredients used in the majority of commercial cat foods, particularly the bargain brands.
According to Kirk, Debraekeleer, and Armstrong, cats evolved to eat meat only, which is evident in the fact that they have shorter digestive tracts than omnivores and don’t produce the digestive enzymes required to effectively make use of plant-based nutrients. It’s difficult for them to digest grains and other plant matter, so eating high-carbohydrate cat food can lead to malnourishment, obesity, and digestive difficulties.
Other problems that can cause IBS symptoms include intestinal parasites, food allergies, cancer, metabolic disorders, and certain fungal and viral infections. In addition, stress and anxiety can exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome. Because there are so many possible causes, a veterinarian should be consulted to rule out non-food-related triggers and discuss treatment options.
Treatments for Feline IBS
Immunosuppressant medications, hypoallergenic diets, and in certain cases, antibiotics are the treatments of choice for IBS, but these approaches are not always effective (veterinarian Arnold Plotnick notes that one case series showed a positive response rate of 79%). Also, some of the medications have side effects and can increase the risk of secondary infections, and relapses may occur even with effective treatment.
Given that stress is a contributing factor, taking the following measures to reduce it can be beneficial:
- In multicat households, provide one litter box for each cat plus a spare, and place them in different, quiet, low-traffic locations around the house.
- Provide each cat with his or her own food and water bowls.
- Provide high perches and kitty condos (a cardboard box with a hole in it is a good budget-conscious option) so that cats have places to climb and hide as needed.
- Spend plenty of quality time with the cat.
Exercise also reduces the symptoms of IBS (ScienceDaily), so encouraging the cat to get more exercise can be beneficial. You can do this by:
- Engaging in interactive play using a fishing-wand toy
- Providing toys such as catnip mice for solo play
- Leash training the cat to take him out for walks
- Feeding him at the top of a flight of stairs (assuming that he has no mobility limitations)
- Providing a cat tree for climbing
- Adding an outdoor cat run or enclosure or placing a cat fence around a yard for safe outdoor excursions
The risk of triggering IBS can be reduced by making general dietary changes. First and foremost, switch to a premium high-protein wet cat food. When switching a cat’s food, do it gradually because cats don’t respond well to change. Begin by mixing in a little of the new food with the old and gradually increase the amount of new food until the shift is complete.
Ingredients that you should avoid
Every dog has its needs and since you can find a sweeping array of products appropriate for them, not all of these products are created equal. Some of them have ingredients that can only harm the dog’s skin rather than do the opposite.
When you are out shopping for dog shampoo, make sure you double check the label’s listed ingredients before you make your purchase. Avoid artificial dyes and fragrances as these ingredients can only irritate the dog’s skin and eyes. What you should go for are those with natural fragrances like citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, and chamomile.
Always remember that you should never use conditioners or shampoos that are formulated for humans. Human skin is less sensitive compared to dogs and the shampoos used for humans are designed to wash off the wax and natural oils off the hair. This is fine for human use, but it will irritate the dog’s skin, causing it to get dry and flaky. It can also cause the coat to get brittle and dull as well.
If your pooch is a puppy, opt for shampoo that is formulated for them. They have gentler ingredients and has a no-tear formula that does not irritate when it gets in your pooch’s eyes.
Fleas and ticks
The market is filled with a variety of tick and flea products in the market which is designed to eradicate ticks, fleas and other pests from your dog’s skin. Shampoos formulated for this purpose only provide short-term protection. Which is why you have to use this kind of shampoo only when you use it with other flea and tick product prevention.
Failing health and poor diet are two factors that can make your dog’s hair lifeless and dull. Don’t worry; you can still restore it to its healthy look by using a nourishing shampoo filled with proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Dogs are prone to find their way scouring into food, garbage and those mysterious substances that got you thinking what kind of odor it emits. When faced with this kind of adventurous dogs, experts recommend the deodorizing shampoo. These kind of shampoos are very powerful that it can eliminate any unpleasant odor instead of just covering it up with a scent that will only last for a short while.
There is dog hair that gets tangled or dry up easily. If your pet dog is like this, you might want to consider getting a shampoo and conditioner in one that will restore the moisture of your dog’s hair and maintain it easily. For dogs with stubborn tangles or frizzy locks, try using a separate conditioner after you have shampooed your dog’s coat. This will replenish the lost natural oils from shampooing and also aids in detangling its hair.
Dogs that got light-colored hair, including the white-colored ones, there are shampoos specially designed for them that contain whiteners and brighteners that will prevent it from fading and yellowing and at the same time boosting its luster.
If you want to wash your dogs on the go, opt for wipes and waterless shampoos. They are perfect to use if you’ve got a pet dog that is particularly scared of getting wet with running water.
If you have a portable dog wash station at home, I congratulate you. You have definitely said goodbye to all sorts of headaches that normally attend professional dog wash stations. Believe me, as a pet owner, I know that it’s not a cakewalk taking my canine companion from point a to point b especially when I’m driving. If I’m walking there, that’s one thing, but if I’m driving there, it can be an issue.
It’s also much better to use a home based portable dog wash station because you don’t know your schedule. One day you may be working 8 hours, the next day you may be packing in 16 hours in the office. Things can get quite random on a day to day basis. By investing in this portable dog hygiene product, you get maximum flexibility as far as your dog’s washing schedule goes. With that said, it’s too easy to pick the wrong product.
Now that you have a clear idea of the benefits of the product, you might fall into the trap of thinking that once you’ve seen one dog wash station then you’ve seen them all. This is a very common trap. It’s too easy to just think that these products are interchangeable. No, they’re not. They’re not created equal. There are “bad” portable dog wash station products in the market. Here are the 3 warning signs you need to look out for.
Try to move the different parts of the wash station. Are they stiff? Are they compact? Does the plastic squeak? These are signs that the overall design of the wash station is very good. Keep in mind that you want a unit that will be durable. You want a product that would withstand the test of time.
By simply moving these different parts around, you can get a rough idea of how well they would withstand pressure. You have to remember that you will be using this product quite a bit over the course of a few years. There’s going to be some movement involved and make sure that you move these items around so you can get an idea as to whether the model will withstand the pressure and punishment of regular use.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The reason why this is a factor is because of a bad choice on your part. It may not have anything to do with the design of the product in and of itself. The manufacturer may have produced a solid product, but you made it much harder on yourself because you bought the wrong size. Make sure you pick the right size.
This doesn’t mean that the product was made wrong. It doesn’t mean that there’s some sort of defect in terms of craftsmanship or design. The problem is that you picked the wrong size and it makes washing a very inefficient long and drawn-out process for your dog. Talk about a hassle. So pay attention to the proper size. Keep in mind that proper sizing has more to do with your dog’s specific personality and less to do with its breed.
The Wrong Price
A lot of pet owners automatically go for the cheapest dog wash station. I really can’t say I blame. Everybody’s looking to stretch their hard earned dollars. There’s no shame in that game. With that said, you need to do it the right way. Just because you found something cheap it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy it because there are quality products out there that won’t set you back.
There are quality products out there that would enable you to stretch the value of your hard earned bucks. Look for those products. Don’t just go for cheap products. The products have to be of high quality and low price. The good news is that they do exist. You just need to put in a little bit of leg work.