Cat Problems

Cat problems your cat may encounter

Litter tray cat problems/Urinary Tract Infections in Cats.

There are many reasons why a cat might stop using their litter tray and it might not always be down to behavior problems. Medical reasons can be the reason so looking for signs that may tell what the cat problem is should be the first thing a cat owner does before worrying or even worse shouting at your pet.

If one of your cats stops using the litter tray to urinate suddenly then it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. One sign to look out for is if your cat is finding it difficult to urinate and even in pain. As a litter tray is a small space they often will go outside the litter tray in a larger space to try and make it easier for themselves to go. Another sign is if they make a noise as if they are in pain when trying to go to the toilet. Other signs to look out for are blood in their urine and constant licking of the urinary opening. So before shouting at your cat for being naughty their could be a medical reason for their change in behaviour so a trip to the vets is the best thing for your cat. Remember cats are not like humans and try and show as little fuss as possible when it comes to having a problem.

Other reasons why your cat might stop using their litter tray suddenly is down to cleanliness. Cats are extremely clean creatures and if a litter tray is too full up then they will find a cleaner place to go. I mean even a human does not want to use a dirty toilet even if they are the only ones using it! This is also more of a common problem if there are multiple cats in the house. There should be at least one litter tray to every cat in the house and they should really be cleaned daily and then your cat should have no problem using their toilet properly.

Changing brands of litter may be a cause of the problem as they get use to the feel and scent of a certain type, so trying to buy cheaper litter to suit you might not necessarily suit your cat.

Shouting at your cat will just frighten and confuse them. They are not evil creatures and are not trying to get back at you for having to move him off your lap or feeding him a few minutes late. Looking at what may have triggered the change is the best way to find the route of the problem, which without realising could be because of something you yourself have done.

How to help? If you notice any of the signs mentioned above to do with a urinary tract infection take them straight to the vets so they can be treated. Look at whether anything has changed for example litter or even the location of the litter tray and make sure it is changed regularly enough. The way I think about it is if I look at the litter trays I have for my cats and I think to myself "I would not go to the toilet in that" then they need changing.

Whilst getting your cat back in his box remember to be patient. It may take time. Cats like to go in a quiet, confined location so if you have a litter tray that is open for everyone to see him go maybe consider getting a hooded litter tray, can be seen on recommended products page, which not only gives your cat the privacy they need and deserve but is also great for eliminating odors more.

Cat Fleas and Allergies

Cat problems

Cats should be treated monthly for fleas because if they are not then cat problems can get out of hand and cause your feline friends to have more problems than they would like. Treatment is simple and the least you can do to is stop them having a few scabs on their body or some cats have an allergic reaction to fleas and their whole body will become covered.

All of my cats are indoor cats and they should still be treated too. Fleas multiply even more in the heat and it only takes one flea to start off a whole army. A flea can also be brought into a house by yourself as you go to a relative or friends house and they have an animal that happens to have fleas and one will hop on to you and then you transfer it when you get home to your cats. That is why indoor cats should be treated monthly too.

One of my cats had fleas and although we eradicated the problem with flea treatment she had an allergic reaction to them and her whole body came up in scabs and the poor little thing was just scratching all the time. Treatment for this is easy as they just give a small injection at the vets which gets rid of the scab over a week but by making sure you flea your cats every month then this problem should not arise.

It does not take a lot of time or effort to treat them. You can get sprays but I prefer to use the liquid you squeeze onto the back of their necks as the very back of the neck is the one place your cat can not reach to lick etc so the product should work very well. You can get most of the treatments from your local vets or pet store as well which makes it easy to get.

If you have more than one cat make sure you flea treat all of them as well as if you do just the one that you think might have fleas by the time you have done them your other cat might have had one jump on him or her.

Flea treating your cats each month is the least you can do for the love and joy they bring you. It also stops a small problem turning into a big problem as like I said it just takes one flea which will multiply quickly and get on your furniture and then your whole house may need treating.

Keep your cat happy and yourself by treating them every month.

Cat Worms

Protect your pet against worms! Even healthy looking animals can carry them, so it’s very important to worm pets regularly.  If the thought of worms sounds unpleasant, it is because they are; worms can cause suffering, illness and even death.  Some types of worms can be spread between pets and people and can cause diseases.  But with the right advice and treatment you can help protect pets and people from disease.

Our pets are at risk of picking up different types of worms, such as roundworms and tapeworms.  Animals can pick worms up in a variety of ways, including from other infected animals, from mother to offspring, from eating the larvae or eggs of worms in their environment (e.g. in infected faeces or urine, or in grass) and from eating raw meat, infected prey animals or infected parasites (such as fleas which can carry tapeworm eggs).

Many infected animals do not show any outward signs, so it’s important to have a worm control programme in place for your pet. Your vet will be able to advise you about this.  But, if your animal is infected, you may see worms in faeces or vomit, or around your pet’s bottom.  If you do see any worms on or near your animal, wrap them up in damp cotton wool and take them to the vet who will be able to identify them and treat your animal accordingly.

If your cat starts losing weight, this could be a sign of cat problems that unwelcome visitors have arrived.  Other signs of worms include fur becoming dry and coarse, increased appetite, weakness and diarrhoea. Your pet may also lick its bottom more than usual.  In severe cases, infected puppies and kittens can have a distended abdomen or ‘pot belly’.

You should maintain an effective worm control program, as advised by your vet.  Pets should be wormed against roundworm regularly from a young age. Adult pets should be treated regularly against roundworms and tapeworms. Your vet will be able to advise you about worming your pet.  In addition to worming programs, you can also prevent tapeworms by using a flea treatment regularly, as recommended by your vet.  Ensure you disinfect your pet’s food and water bowls regularly. You should also ensure your pet’s housing is regularly cleaned and disinfected. You should only use a disinfectant that is safe for animals.

Pregnant animals should only be wormed under the supervision of a vet.  Wash your hands thoroughly before you eat and ensure children also do this.  Clean up after your pet and dispose of faeces and urine carefully.

Hairballs

Cat problems

Nature gave cats lots of wonderful, soft fur. Normally, when kitty grooms and ingests the dead, loose hair, it passes through the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract and comes out in the stool. A carnivore's gut is designed to handle fur, its own as well as the fur attached to prey animals. (If you've ever been hiking and come across "scat" from a coyote or fox, it's evident that it is mostly fur.) However, generations of directed breeding have created cats with much longer coats than ever conceived of by natural selection. And some cats, even shorthairs, just seem to have tender tummies. When too much hair collects in the stomach rather than passing out through the gut, it irritates the stomach lining and whoops — there's a hairball, on its way back out the wrong end of the cat! (By the way, the correct medical term for a hairball is "trichobezoar," pronounced trike-oh-bee-zohr — your vet will be impressed!).

While an occasional hairball is no cause for alarm, if your cat is vomiting up a hairball more than once or twice a month, it's time to think about a plan of action. This will probably start with a trip to your veterinarian for a thorough exam. It's important to make sure the problem is only hairballs and not something more serious. Problem signs include hearing the "Hairball Hack" — that awful coughing sound cats make when trying to expel an offending ball of fur — if no hairball is forthcoming; and any frequent vomiting. Coughing without expelling a hairball can signal feline asthma, and frequent or persistent vomiting of any kind should always be checked by your vet.

From a holistic point of view, excessive trouble with hairballs indicates a basic systemic or energetic imbalance. A holistic veterinarian would consider the entire cat, including history, previous medical problems, diet, environment, social and family issues — even the cat's personality. Hairballs would be just one symptom, one that will be weighed in totality with all the other information. For instance, a cat that follows the sunbeam all over the house, and sleeps next to the heater vent would receive different treatment than a cat that sits next to an open window in the dead of winter, even if they both displayed the "symptom" of frequent hairballs.

Prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure. Frequent combing is often all it takes to resolve the problem. But brushing won't do. Brushes tend to slide over the surface of the fur and don't get all the dead hair out. For shorthaired cats, a fine-toothed flea comb is best. Longer hair may require a wide-toothed comb, or one with revolving teeth to prevent tearing out the hair.

Many hairball-plagued cats will try to self-medicate by eating grass or plants. The coarse plant fibers will cause the cat to vomit, and hopefully, the irritating hair will come up as well. Not all grass-loving cats have hairballs, however. You need to carefully observe your cat so you can accurately report the situation to your veterinarian.

Hairball treatments generally fall into two categories: adding fibre to the diet, or giving a lubricant (usually a petroleum jelly product) to slide the hair through to the correct end of the cat for disposal. A third option, which might be used by a holistic vet, is homeopathy. A good remedy for foreign material in the stomach is Nux Vomica. A dose of Nux will often help the cat expel all the problematic material — but then you have to deal with a big fat hairball on the floor. In practice, I used Nux to oust some major league hairballs, as well as the occasional chicken bone or baby sock.

For many years, the treatment of choice for hairballs has been petroleum jelly. This can be given plain, as in good old Vaseline, or in a commercial product, such as Laxatone, Petromalt, or Katalax. These come in malt, tuna, and liver flavors that appeal to many cats. Petroleum jelly's molecules are too large to be absorbed by the intestines; it passes through the cat unchanged, and is perfectly safe. I fed my cat, Spirit, plain Vaseline every day her whole life — she lived to be well over 20, so I feel confident in saying it didn't hurt her at all. In fact, she loved it, and would pester me mercilessly for her bedtime dose! Administer daily for a week or two, then once or twice a week for maintenance. Hairball "treats" contain mineral oil rather than petroleum jelly. It works on the same principle, but has a slightly more laxative effect — don't overdo them! Edible oils, like olive, flaxseed, or fish oil, will be absorbed by the intestines and thus may not finish their escort duty, although a cat with dull or dry fur would benefit from the fatty acids they contain.

If your cat is not a petroleum jelly connoisseur, the traditional method of administering it is to smear a glob of it on a front paw. But be careful! A chunk of goop on a paw is liable to be flipped off in one quick and very efficient motion. My first apartment probably still has Vaseline on the ceiling! It's better to spread it on the leg below the elbow, or any place it's easy for your cat to lick off. You can also put a dab into a syringe and force-feed it to your cat, but if it comes to this, you're probably better off with a more kitty-friendly method of treatment.

Cat Vomiting

There can many varied reasons why a cat vomits when it comes to cat problems, from a serious illness to eating something disagreeable. An occasional, isolated episode of vomiting is usually normal.

As a rule of thumb, if your cat throws up once or twice or infrequently and then goes on to eat normally, play normally, pee and poop normally and shows no signs of ill health then there probably is no reason for concern.

If your cat has chronic vomiting. (Chronic means persistent and lasting. Continuing for a long time; lingering; habitual.) then medical advice should be sought. Always check with your vet if vomiting is severe or persistent. You should also take into consideration other factors. How is your cat's general health? Is he well? Is he lethargic? Does he have other symptoms for example diarrhea or no appetite? Because vomiting in cats could signal a serious underlying disorder your vet will ask you many questions and may run tests in relation to the vomiting to determine the cause.

Below are some of the reasons why cats vomit. Some are temporary and minor and others indicate an underlying serious illness.

One of the most common reasons for vomiting in cats is hairballs. Keep in mind that when a cat vomits all the contents of it's stomach are expelled including hair. Because you see hair in the vomit don't always assume that hairballs are the reason the cat is vomiting as there could be other causes.

Eating Problems

The cat eats too quickly or overeats.

A change in diet.

Food intolerance

Eating grass or plants

Eating food that has gone off

Eating rodents or lizards or other foreign material.

An infestation of worms and other intestinal parasites can cause your cat to vomit. You may even notice your cat vomiting up worms. If your cat is vomiting worms you should give him de-worming medicine as soon as possible.

Your cat may also vomit after giving him worming medication.

Poisons

Toxic plants, anti-freeze, lead paints, cleaning agents, human medications, coffee, weed killer, fertilizers and many other poisonous substances found around the home.

Accidental over dosage of medications.

Gastric and Intestinal Problems

Colitis, Cancer, Constipation, Enteritis, Fungal Disease, Gastritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Obstruction, Tumours, Ulcers. 

Metabolic diseases

Acidosis, Diabetes, Feline Hyperthyroidism, Hormone Imbalance, Kidney disease, Liver disease,  Pancreatitis, Sepsis

Infections

Salmonella,  pyometra (infection of the uterus), abscess

Other Causes

Feline Urinary Syndrome, Heat Stroke, Motion Sickness.