Educational Articles

Cats + Care & Wellness

  • Feeding your cat can be easily accomplished with mealtimes on a set schedule. At least two meals per day are best for your cat. The use of food toys or interactive feeders adds interest to your cat’s mealtime. Routines help your cat adjust to changes that may occur in your home as well as allow you to monitor her health.

  • Once your cat has reached adulthood, their nutrient profile will change from when they were a kitten. Your veterinarian can help you determine what proportion of each nutrient is needed based on your cat's lifestyle and current body condition. It is important to lay a good nutritional foundation to maximize the health and longevity for your cat and reduce the potential for developing obesity.

  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a virus that infects only cats. It depresses the immune system and cats tend to remain infected for life. FeLV vaccines have been available for many years and have been continuously improved upon. They are helpful in preventing infection with FeLV and, therefore, in controlling FeLV-related disease. Your veterinarian can discuss the pros and cons of vaccinating your cat against this disease based on her specific lifestyle and risk of exposure.

  • This handout discusses how to find reliable information for your pet on the internet. Recommendations are to always seek out trusted sources, such as your own veterinary clinic, veterinary schools, and those sites with content written by veterinarians. Try to avoid sites offering homemade cures, are heavily weighted with opinions, or offer prescription medications without requiring a veterinarian’s prescription.

  • Broken nails are acute painful injuries that require first aid, and in some cases, a veterinary visit. Nails are made up of a collection of blood vessels and nerves covered by a hard protective layer of keratin. Bleeding should initially be controlled with pressure from gauze or a towel, followed by cauterizing powder if needed. Any remaining damaged part needs to be removed which usually requires veterinary care. Depending on the level of the break, your cat may need to be sedated and/or the area numbed with a nerve block prior to trimming the nail above the break. Depending on the severity, a bandage may be placed to protect the injury. Antibiotics and pain medications may be prescribed if indicated. Broken nails are best prevented by keeping all nails short through regular trimmings.

  • While most of the time cats will land on their feet, they can still sustain serious injuries after a fall, including sprains, broken bones, head trauma, and chest or abdominal injuries. If you see your cat fall, monitor her for at least 3-5 days for anything abnormal that may develop. Serious injuries need to be evaluated immediately by your veterinarian, but there are steps you can take at home to prepare your pet to be transported to your veterinary hospital.

  • Insect stings or bites can cause mild signs of swelling, pain, and itching or can be more severe causing hives, anaphylactic reactions, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, or seizures. If the bite or sting has been observed, look for the insect or spider to allow identification. Look for a stinger and remove it carefully without squeezing more venom out of the venom sac. Depending on the severity of the reaction, first aid including cool packing the area, dosing with oral antihistamine, and prevention of self-trauma may be all that is needed; however, in more severe cases emergency veterinary attention is required to stabilize the cat, screen for organ dysfunction, and provide supportive care.

  • Lameness occurs due to the injury or debilitation of one or more parts of the leg; bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, or skin. Depending on the cause of the limp, immediate veterinary care may be needed. If your dog is in severe pain, carefully transport your dog to your veterinary hospital or emergency hospital immediately. For non-emergency limps, you may be able to determine the cause of the limp and provide home care. If the lameness persists for more than 24 hours, seek veterinary care. Medication or surgery may be necessary to help your cat heal and reduce pain.

  • Tail injuries are common and can sometimes be managed with home first aid but some cases require veterinary care. Abrasions are mild scrapes that can be treated with daily cleaning and application of antibiotic ointment. Lacerations are more serious cuts that may expose underlying muscle and bone requiring stitches and often antibiotics. Tail fractures can heal well if they occur near the tip of the tail but if bones are severely damaged then amputation may be required. Nerve damage can occur from fractures, crushing injuries or severe tail pulls causing stretching or tearing of the nerves and can result in loss of fecal and urinary continence and can also result in a limp tail.

  • If your cat limps, or licks at her pads, she may have a foot pad that is torn, punctured, or burned. Minor injuries may be treated at home, but deeper or complicated wounds require veterinary attention. Clean the wound and remove small debris if possible. If larger foreign or deeply seated objects are discovered, or if the wound is deep and does not stop bleeding after 10-15 minutes, seek immediate veterinary care. Control bleeding and apply gauze as a bandage, wrapping the affected paw including the ankle or wrist. Keep the wound clean and bandaged and if any changes are noticed, seek veterinary care. Try to avoid foot injuries in your cat by surveying the areas where your cat plays and walks.