News flash from the Winn Health Foundation’s blog.
Who is Winn?
“In 1968, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) created what would soon become Winn Feline Foundation, establishing a source of funding for medical studies to improve cat health and welfare.”
Story summary, dumbed down to my level of comprehension:
Cats have a natural perfume on their paw pads. When they scratch, the scent rubs off. Like the perfumes worn by humans, the paw’s scent conveys a message. Human perfumes say, “Hey there Big Boy, wanna date?” Cat messages are, one would assume, both more subtle and less subtle.
If they bottle this cat perfume, aka pheromone, you will be able to spray it on places where you would like your cat to scratch, such as scratching posts.
Longer days and less sunlight mean it’s time to change fur coats. Your cat does not need to have a winter fur coat delivered from the fur vault. Their coat change is “do-it-yourself.”
Telltale signs that the feline coat change is underway . . .
Tufts of dull-looking fur poking out here and there.
More strands of fur decorating your sofa.
Increased puffiness of coat.
Increased licking and grooming, followed by increased fur balls on the carpet.
If your cat is shedding more, a grooming session will keep that fur under control. In nature, your cat would frolic and scamper through bushes and grass. Excess fur would be snagged on branches. Since cats now live indoors, we have to help them get rid of extra fur.
Your cat is not a ticking time bomb. It’s okay to pick up your cat. What I often see is the DANGLE HOLD. This is when the owner picks up the cat and holds it in front of his body, as if he were disposing of a dirty, wet towel. The cat’s body does not come in contact with the owner’s body. The cat is forced to levitate in front of the owner, supported only by one hand on top of his body and one below it.
Naturally the cat will want to wiggle to safety. This confirms the owner’s suspicion that his cat “hates being picked up.”
When you pick up a baby, do you hold the baby twelve inches away from you? Cats are not babies, but they certainly are animals, and most animals won’t enjoy being propelled through the room in this way.
Try holding the cat against your body, with one arm under the chest. If the cat wiggles, use your fingers to clasp the front legs, and hug the cat a little more closely to your body.
Act as if you like the cat, because you do!
Hmmnnn. Fun test of the imagination.
I would be a Domestic Short Hair (DSH) mixed breed. My mix would be 1/4 Japanese Bobtail, 3/4 Siberian. Why this mix? My mother was half Japanese, half American. My father was born and bred in North Dakota, which is our version of Siberia.
I love this description of the Japanese Bobtail.
Wait, is that a cat he’s talking about or my last boyfriend?(Just joking!)
This is a Siberian cat. Can’t you imagine him in the fields of North Dakota?
Why are you afraid to brush your cat? Come on now. Put on your big-girl panties. Put on your big-boy boxers. Do it, because it’s your job. Plain and simple. It’s your job. So do it.
Pretend your hand is a great, big, furry paw. Plunk that paw down across your cat’s shoulders. Comb and brush your cat, starting with the neck, working your way back. Most cats don’t like it when you mess around with their rear, so save that for last. Comb and brush vigorously. Don’t use that hoity-toity Furminator. Use a comb and a slicker brush, like a patriotic American!
Don’t get angry. Don’t get frustrated. Just “git ‘er done.”
Be a proud, strong momma tiger. Be a proud, strong daddy lion. Rawrrrrr!
(Or call me and I’ll do it.)
Some people trust my opinion more than they trust a veterinarian’s advice. While I certainly appreciate the trust, I do NOT know more than a veterinarian. ANY veterinarian knows more than I do.
For the record, while I’ve picked up bits and pieces of information about cat health over the years, I am 100% uninterested in offering veterinary advice, because I am 100% unqualified to do so.
Having been disappointed or even harmed by medical care, more than a few cat owners no longer believe in a hierarchy of knowledge. One person’s well-intentioned advice is the same as any other person’s well-intentioned advice. A doctor’s opinion is simply another opinion, or so they believe.
I attended the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois for a year. After one year, I knew that I was not cut out to be a veterinarian. Watching students who WERE cut out to be veterinarians humbled me. They studied night after night, from dusk to dawn. They took a verbal beating from professors, and kept on going without a stumble. They watched animals suffer, knowing they couldn’t be saved, and rebounded enough to face the next day. Any veterinarian, even the worst, knows more about animal health than most of us will ever know.
Naturally, you can easily locate lazy, callous or greedy veterinarians. Veterinarians are human. Some are a mess, because humans are prone to being a mess.
Instead of saying, “I don’t trust vets,” perhaps you could say “I’m going to find the best veterinarian in New York. That veterinarian is going to become my most valuable resource. They may save my cat’s life one day.”
Your veterinarian is out there, waiting for you. Find her. Find him. Trust them. They need your trust to do their job.
How do you survive in a world of predators and prey? Hide weakness. Look normal. Act healthy. No matter what.
This is your cat’s code of survival. They don’t have to think about it. They do it automatically.
You look at your cat’s claw and see something that looks weird. You look closer. Wait . . . what? Why is the claw so fat? It’s growing into the paw pad! Oh no! Oh wow! You quickly check the other claws, heart beating. You love your cat. Your cat looked normal, nothing unusual about her behavior, and now this?! You wonder, “Is my cat in pain? This is awful.”
1. If you usually trim your cat’s claws, you can try to cut the part of the claw that is exposed. You need good lighting. If the claw is deeply embedded, there may be blood. To prevent infection, keep the claw as clean as possible. Ask your veterinarian how to care for the paw.
OR . . .
2. You can take your cat to your veterinarian.
OR . . .
3. I can trim the claw, BUT if the claw was embedded, you MUST take your cat to the veterinarian or talk to your veterinarian ASAP. I am a groomer, not a doctor. I can only care for the outside of a cat, not the inside. I am not trained to prevent or treat possible infections. Graduating from grooming school is NOT the equivalent of earning a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, right?
1. Trim your cat’s claws at least every 4-6 weeks. If you can’t do it, we will set up a schedule. It only takes 15 minutes for a claw trimming visit, as long as the cat is relaxed. For a nervous/angry/wiggly cat, the claw trimming is the easy part. Picking up and restraining the cat is the hard part. Cats that bite or scratch may be calmer at a veterinary clinic. Some cats “freeze” in a clinic, while they try to figure out what to do next. Or not. With cats you never know. It’s worth a try if house call claw trims don’t work out.
Good luck. Ingrown claws can be found on cats owned by even the most loving people. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty. Just fix it, fast.