My Horse Is Too Fat

fat horse

We’ve all heard the phrase “I’m as hungry as a horse.” But we never really stop to think about what that means.

Horses eat a lot.

Like… a lot.!!

Like so much that someone came up with an idiom to make how much they eat synonymous with a ton.

Unfortunately, sometimes horses eat too much and, as a result, can wind up unable to comfortably work and even develop some seriously worrisome health issues.

Luckily, chunky horses don’t have to stay that way. There are a variety of tools at the horse owners’ disposal that can help horses shed weight without too much hassle.

Assessing Your Horse’s Body Weight

big fat horseBefore any treatment plan can be recommended, you must first get an accurate understanding of your horse’s weight. There are several methods available to help you determine whether or not your horse is overweight.

If any of the following methods indicate that your horse if overweight or obese, you should consult with an equine nutritionist and veterinarian to develop a weight loss program.

Weight Scales

The gold standard for getting an accurate weight measurement of your horse is to use a scale, likely available with your nearest equine veterinarian.

Of course, we also understand that not everybody has easy access to this tool. If you’re unable to get your horse weighed on a scale, proceed with using one of the methods described below.

Girth Height Ratio

feeding fat horseWho ever said you wouldn’t use math outside of the classroom? Okay, besides you that one time. The girth-height ratio is a reliable, easy-to-implement method of getting a quick snapshot of your horse’s weight.

To put it into practice, first take a flexible tailor’s measuring tape and measure the circumference of your horse’s girth in inches by running the tape behind both elbows and straight over their withers. Record this measurement.

Next, take a carpenter’s measuring tape or a sturdy six-foot ruler and measure the length of your horse’s torso on one side, in inches, from the point of their shoulder to the point of their hip. Record this measurement as well.

Next, you want to apply the two measurements taken to the following formula:

[(girth)2 X length] / 330 = body weight

By using this formula, you should get at least a semi-accurate picture of your horse’s current weight.

Body Condition Score

A horse’s body condition score is a numeric value assigned on a scale from 1 to 9 that measures the amount of fat deposited across six areas – their neck, withers, spinous processes and transverse processes, tail head, ribs, and behind the shoulder.

standing horses This score allows horse owners to have a reliable overview of their horse’s general health. A score of 1 would indicate that a horse is far too thin to be healthy, while a score of 9 would indicate that a horse is far too fat to be healthy. Generally speaking, a horse’s body condition score should fall between 4 and 6 to be categorized as being of normal weight.

To evaluate a horse’s body condition, start by visually assessing their ribs. If the ribs are easily seen and felt, then the score for the ribcage will be below a five and vice versa if the ribs are not easily seen or felt.

Next, look at their shoulders. A horse’s shoulder with a body condition score of greater than five will be bulging with little deposits of fat behind it. A bonier shoulder indicates a score that will likely be below five.

A visual assessment of their withers should follow. A very thin horse with a body condition score of below five will have little to no fat deposited between the top of the shoulder blade and the spinal vertebrae, making them easily discernible. A horse with a body condition score of five, however, will possess withers that are slightly rounded.

You should then spend some time looking at their loin, which is the area of the back just behind where a saddle sits. If the horse has a body condition score of five, the loin area will be relatively level with no bumps, dents, or creases along the spine. As the score begins to increase, fat will begin to build up on either side leading to the formation of visible creases.

Next on your list should be the tailhead. A horse with a very low body condition score will exhibit an easily discernible tailhead, while a horse with a body condition score of seven or greater will have a tailhead that feels soft and plush.

horse standing Finally, look at their neck. If your horse is a proper weight, the neck should blend smoothly into the rest of their body. If your horse is overweight, however, their neck will look and feel quite thick with fat deposits at the crest.

As you assess each area of their body, remember to assign them a score of 1 to 9. You can consult this chart as you assess each area to get a better understanding of what each score means.

After each area is evaluated and assigned a score, you then want to average the scores together to get a final overall body condition score. If your horse has an overall score between 4 and 6, they’re likely to be able to perform almost any activity you give them without too much trouble.

However, if your horse scores above 6, they may be less tolerant to high levels of activity. A score of 6 or above will likely require consultation with an equine nutritionist to begin contemplating ways to bring their weight down.

My Horse is Overweight – What do I do?

So, you’ve determined that your horse is a bit husky and you’re wondering what the best course of action is. We understand completely. Not only are horses with a high body fat percentage less capable of comfortably working, but they’re also predisposed to a number of concerning health issues including mainitis, hyperlipidemia, orthopedic stress, and less effective body temperature regulation.

With the stakes set so high, it’s only natural that caring horse owners like yourself are determined to help your hooved friend get back down to their target weight. Noting that most horses gain weight the same way that all animals do (via taking in more calories than they expend), the target of any worthwhile weight loss program must be to either reduce their calorie intake without sacrificing essential nutrients and vitamins, increase their exercise levels, or both. However, caution must be used if increasing exercise is the route taken, as overweight horses can quickly become overstressed by a sudden jolt in activity levels.

Set Realistic Expectations

sorrel horse running The first step in getting your horse to lose some weight is to set realistic expectations. Just like with humans, weight loss is a journey, and a difficult one at that. It can take many months for your horse to reach his target weight, and he may plateau or even experience a mild regression of progress along the journey.

If any of the above happens, don’t fret. Just revisit the feeding and exercise program you’ve crafted and consult with your equine nutritionist and veterinarian about whether changes ought to be made. Remember: patience and consistency are key to successful, healthy weight loss.

Re-Evaluate What You Feed Your Horse

smallest horse Next, you need to think about where the horse’s excess calories are coming from. It’s well understood that horses consume their calories from pasture, hay, grains, and/or concentrated feed. However, most people underestimate the importance of hay and pasture in a horse’s diet – if your hay and pasture are of good quality, your horse can likely derive much of their needed caloric intake from these two sources alone. Concentrates, while certainly beloved by our galloping buddies, have the most calories per pound of feed. Therefore, it can be assumed that a reasonable first step in reducing total caloric intake is to reduce the amount of concentrate/feed being fed.

It’s important to remember that the average horse requires about 2% to 2.5% of their body weight in forage in order to maintain their weight. Overweight horses who are receiving this amount of forage or more can benefit from a slight reduction in the amount consumed each day. However, remember that it is critical that the amount of forage given each day makes up at least 1% of a horse’s bodyweight. With regards to what type of feed is best, it’s recommended that horses consume forage that is high in fiber and low in sugars and starches such as mature grass hay. Not only is mature grass hay high in fiber, but their thick stems require more chewing and, as a result, uses up more calories to eat.

In addition to feeding hay, you may want to consider giving your horse a daily dose of ration balancers rather than a regular horse feed.. Ration balancers deliver high concentrations of essential vitamins, minerals, and protein that are otherwise missing in most forages but, caloric “fillers” are missing from these feeds. Consequently, a ration balancer help your horse get their necessary nutrients without extra unnecessary calories being consumed.

Restrict Pasture Feeding

It may just seem as though the issue is due to all of the additional calories that we provide to our horses. Maybe the best solution is to just let them eat exclusively from the pasture, right? After all it’s all just grass… right? …Wrong! In reality, horses evolved from eating on pastures that were much less calorically dense than the lush pastures that horses often graze on today. Pastures today can provide a seemingly limitless supply of calories to especially hungry horses.

horse legs With that in mind, it may be advisable to limit your horse’s access to pasture. The best way to do this is to put your horse in a dry-lot where you can limit the amount of food your horse has access to. However, confining your horse to a dry lot presents a picture of them just standing around, a little bored, just waiting for more food. This does not help to burn off calories!. To combat this, consider pairing your horse with a younger horse who will keep the older horse mobile.

If this solution is untenable, either due to the lack of a dry lot or because dry lot placement is not working, consider fitting your horse with a grazing muzzle. Muzzling your horse will allow them to eat very little at a time, thus reducing the likelihood of them gorging themselves on all that sweet, sweet pasture..

However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can just muzzle a horse for a few hours and that this will solve an overeating problem. A horse who is used to having more calories and is only muzzled for four hours per day will try and find ways to make up for those lost calories in the remaining twenty hours of the day!. You must keep the muzzle on whenever they’re at pasture to see real progress. Remember: consistency is key.

Get Your Horse Moving

While you’re finagling the diet portion of your horse’s weight loss program, you need to also be thinking about ways to get your horse active. Regular exercise is the single best way to increase the total number of calories used per day. Horses who are deemed capable of exercise should work out three to four times per week for a duration of between thirty minutes and one hour.

how much horse cost Beneficial exercises include, but are not limited to, lunging, trail riding, walking, trotting, participating in riding lessons, and competing. However, any forms of exercise must be introduced slowly and gradually increase in intensity as the horse demonstrates greater capability. Slow increases in exercise levels will prevent the development of metabolic issues or exhaustion. Remember to never simultaneously pair an increase in exercise intensity with an increase in exercise duration, as this can quickly overwork your horse and potentially lead to injury.

While guiding your horse through weight loss may seem like an arduous, perhaps even overwhelming, task, just remember that you’re not alone! Remember to lean on the expertise of your equine nutritionist and veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about the progress your horse is making.

Simultaneously, don’t forget to be attentive to any other developments in your horse’s health. Neglecting to treat certain disorders or ailments like White Line Disease or skin infections such as Scratches can stymie your horse’s ability to comfortably proceed with any exercise regimen or dietary adjustments.

If you notice your horse is beginning to show symptoms of either of the above, reach for Banixx Horse & Pet Care! This topical antimicrobial solution delivers instant, odor-free, sting-free relief for a variety of fungal and bacterial maladies without relying on pesky steroids or antibiotics. Simply identify the affected area, apply Banixx to it twice daily, and wait for your neighing buddy to feel better. Delivering relief to your horse really can be that simple.

For more tips on how to keep your horse happy and healthy, stay up to date with our horse page!

Sources

  • https://stablemanagement.com/articles/equine-obesity-31969
  • https://www.extension.iastate.edu/equine/body-condition-score
  • https://thehorse.com/164978/body-condition-scoring-horses-step-by-step/
  • https://www.purinamills.com/horse-feed/education/detail/body-condition-scoring-your-horse
  • https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/horses/Trimming%20the%20Fat%20-%20Weigh%20Loss%20Strategies%20for%20the%20Overweight%20Horse.pdf
  • https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/2805/2805-1002/2805-1002.html
  • https://thehorse.com/165233/my-horse-is-too-fat-what-should-i-do/
  • https://www.banixx.com/scratches-injuries-horse-how-to-treat/
  • https://www.banixx.com/horse-chronic-white-line-disease/
  • https://www.banixx.com/blog/

Can I Pet a Cat with Ringworm?

cat with ringworm

There’s nothing quite as lovely and fulfilling as sharing our hearts and homes with our cats. They provide endless entertainment and even cuddles. However, it’s not like we want to share everything with our cats (they clearly think differently, given their joy at bringing us dead rodents).

Of the things we’d most like to not share with our felines is ringworm. Both highly infectious and unsightly, ringworm is a common, persistent problem among cats. Not only does this infection end up costing pet owners money, but it often steals away time that could have been spent bonding with your purr-fect buddy.

Today, we’re going to outline what ringworm is, how it’s spread, what an official diagnosis should entail, how to treat it, and answer the most pressing question pet parents have when they discover it: can I handle my cat if they have ringworm?

What is Ringworm?

ringworm catFirst things first: the name ‘ringworm’ is misleading. Ringworm has nothing to do with worms at all. Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the superficial layers of your cat’s skin, hair, and nails. Its name comes from the circular shape of the symptomatic hair loss of the infection.

It’s caused by a specific group of fungi known as dermatophytes. Once they make a home for themselves in their host’s body, they thrive by digesting keratin, the main protein structure of hair and nails. As they feast on keratin, they begin to rapidly multiply into millions of single-cell spores that can perpetuate the infection.

Some species of dermatophytes only infect one species, while others can transfer between different species of animals or between animals and humans. Cats who are infected with ringworm are likely infected with the dermatophyte variant known as Microsporum canis. While other variants exist, they’re not nearly as common.

Is it Safe to Pet a Cat with Ringworm?

petting cat with ringwormAnswering this question is a bit tricky. Is it safe? As in, will you die if you pet a cat with the tell-tale red rings? No, probably not. But should you pet that ringworm riddled cat? No, probably not.

What you must keep in mind is that ringworm transmission occurs via direct contact with the fungal spores. While some species of ringworm are only transmittable between specific animal species, some are zoonotic and can thus infect humans. Unfortunately, it’s not like our eyes can immediately distinguish between variants of ringworm as safe or unsafe for humans.

But you shouldn’t necessarily jump to donning your hazmat suit if you suspect your cat has ringworm. Most healthy human adults are resistant to ringworm infection unless they make contact with a spore through a break in the skin like a scratch, scrape, or cut. However, as with cats, most elderly and young humans, as well as adults with weak immune systems, are susceptible to ringworm infection.

Moreover, in summary, there are a number of precautions you can take to protect yourself against infection if you suspect that your cat has ringworm. It’s as simple as wearing disposable gloves!

How do Cats Get Ringworm?

There is no shielding your cat from ringworm. Ringworm spores can live just about anywhere in the world, from soil to surfaces to the skin of animals and humans. Cats often become infected with ringworm via coming into contact with infective spores from other infected animals, contaminated surfaces, and contaminated objects.

ringworm cat legIt should be noted that the mere presence of ringworm spores on a cat’s coat isn’t sufficient enough to spark infection. Rather, there are a minimum number of spores that must be present to establish an infection. However, there is no set minimum number that applies to all cats; it varies depending on a variety of factors.

That being said, some cats are predisposed to ringworm infection, such as long-hair cats. Long-hair cats are believed to be more predisposed to ringworm because their long hairs protect the spores from being effectively groomed away. Similarly, Geriatric and young cats are also particularly susceptible to developing ringworm due to their inability to properly groom themselves. Kittens, in particular, are a target due to their immature immune system that has trouble fighting any infection.

Even still, it’s not necessarily as simple as just: minimum number of spores present = cat is infected. Cats have evolved a number of natural defense mechanisms, such as grooming and sunbathing, to protect against these sorts of nasty skin infections. But should those defenses fail, the spores will begin invading and germinating.

What are the Symptoms of Ringworm in Cats?

kitten ringwormAn especially frustrating fact about ringworm for veterinarians, pets, and pet parents alike is that it can be quite difficult to even detect in the first place. Some cats who are infected with ringworm present no clinical signs at all, while others present a cornucopia of unsightly symptoms.

The classic symptom of ringworm is the appearance of one or more areas of patchy or circular hair loss accompanied by some form of crusting. A sort of “cigarette ash” scaling in the depths of the coat may also be visible. Other cats may develop alopecia in spots where the spores have infected the hair shafts. The scale of hair loss can range from mild to dramatic, and can be symmetrical or asymmetrical depending on which sites are infected. Most areas of hair loss will also often present with varying degrees of redness.

Other symptoms can include alterations to the color of your cat’s skin or hair, as well as the emergence of broken or stubby hair. Some unfortunate felines with ringworm may even develop a secondary condition known as onychomycosis, which is where the claws become rough and develop a scaly base. Many cats who develop ringworm will also begin grooming themselves in an excessive amount to stave off the irritating itching that may follow.

Regardless of whether your cat presents with all of these symptoms or none, any suspicion of ringworm should be immediately met with caution and a trip to the vet.

 

How to Protect Yourself from Ringworm

Humans are thankfully just a tad more thorough with our hygiene than our pointy-eared buddies. For one, we have access to soap and the means to apply it whenever we want without issue. This makes the likelihood of just picking up ringworm from our cats a little bit lower than the risk they have of contracting it themselves.

cat toy ringwormHowever, it’s always good to be cautious, especially when you suspect one of your cats has become infected. First, remember to wear gloves, long sleeves, and an apron when handling a cat who has ringworm. Also, remember to wash your hands and clothes thoroughly each time you handle your pet if you suspect they have ringworm. If you have even the slightest abrasion or open wounds, even if it’s covered by your favorite superhero Band-Aid, minimize any contact of that spot with the infected surface.

Additionally, you’ll want to throw out all bedding, toys, supplies, and other paraphernalia that is possibly contaminated and buy new ones. (We know, it’s already expensive enough having a cat.) Some recommend simply washing all cat bedding in a good bleach solution followed by a plain water cycle in the wash machine. The regular washing and disinfecting your pet’s new bedding, toys, and dishes with a disinfectant spray can also reduce the risk of surface-to-skin transmission. Do not use Lysol, it’s not friendly to our felines. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent cleaner and its acidic nature repels fungal infections such a ringworm. You’ll also want to diligently vacuum your floors, and not just because you want to actually see your carpet again. Ringworm spores can still survive even on loose hairs, so vacuuming is an easy way to be thorough with your disinfection efforts. Follow this by disposing of the vacuum cleaner bag.

Perhaps most unfortunately, you may also want to consider isolating any infected cat during their treatment. If you have multiple cats, it’s safe to assume that they’re all infected if one is. In that case, you should aim to have each of them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, a suspected ringworm infection necessitates that you regularly deep clean and disinfect your cats’ environment. Since spores can linger for long stretches of time, you may need to remain vigilant against possible reinfection for a long period of time, possibly up to two years after the initial infection.

How is Ringworm in Cats Diagnosed?

There are a variety of diagnostic procedures your veterinarian can deploy to uncover the presence of ringworm in your purry pal.

veterinarian giving a cat a blood test due to blood in cat stool One of the most common tests is what’s known as a Wood’s lamp procedure. This is when affected hairs are placed on a surface known as a dermatophyte test medium. Then, the hairs are examined beneath a special ultraviolet light known as a Wood’s lamp. Hairs that begin to glow with a yellow-green or apple-green fluorescence are typically thought of as being infected by Microsporum canis.

However, the Wood’s lamp test is by no means definitive in diagnosing ringworm. Veterinarians often need to conduct what’s known as a fungal culture to completely discern whether or not an infection is present. During this procedure, scrapings of the skin and samples of the hair are taken and studied for signs of fungal growth in a laboratory.

If the technicians begin to see evidence of fungal growth consistent with Microsporum canis or other variants of ringworm, they will be able to officially diagnose the afflicted cat as suffering from the infection.

How is Ringworm in Cats Treated?

So, your cat’s got the bad news. He has ringworm. His hair is patchy, his skin is irritating, and he is just dying to get back to how things used to be, when he could cuddle up on you without you recoiling in fear.

Luckily, ringworm is by no means a fatal or even a debilitating disease. Modern veterinary science has innovated a cocktail of topical and oral treatments that are especially effective at eradicating ringworm when done in conjunction with aggressive clipping of the coat and environmental disinfection.

shave cat with ringwormThe first step in any effective treatment plan for feline ringworm is to determine whether the coat needs to be clipped. If your cat has long hair or lives with any humans who are immunocompromised, it’s likely they will need their coat clipped. Rest assured that this measure alone will save lots of money and time spent at the vet by reducing the chances for spores to continue spreading via shedded hairs.

After the clipping commences, your veterinarian will likely start your cat on a 1-2 treatment plan consisting of daily oral antifungal medication and twice-weekly topical therapy. Oral antifungal drugs that have been shown to be particularly effective at combating ringworm include griseofulvin, terbinafine, and itraconazole. Please keep in mind that itraconazole frequently has to be compounded into a liquid solution for administration.

There are a variety of effective topical products to choose from including medicated ointments, creams, and shampoos. If symptoms seem to encompass large parts of your cat’s body, a periodic full-body dip or rinse in whatever medicated solution is chosen may be necessary.

One topical treatment that is exceptionally effective at alleviating the discomfort of ringworm’s symptoms is Banixx Pet Care! Due to its remarkable anti-fungal properties, Banixx is capable of providing immediate, soothing relief to your kitty while delivering a damaging blow to fungal spores. While wearing disposable gloves, gently massage a cotton ball soaked in Banixx to your cat’s skin two to three times daily. Within minutes, your cat will begin feeling relief without having to rely on pesky antibiotics or steroids or some stinky, oily topical treatment.

Once your cat is feeling a bit better, you can take them to the vet and begin the process of eradicating this awful infection once and for all! In the meantime, you can learn more about how to keep your pointy-eared buddy happy and healthy through our cat blog or cat page! We hope you found this article helpful and if your cat ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.

Sources

  • https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/ringworm-serious-readily-treatable-affliction
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/keratinase
  • https://www.purina.co.uk/cats/health-and-nutrition/symptoms-to-watch-out-for/ringworm-in-cats
  • https://www.manhattancats.com/blog/2019/september/ringworm/
  • https://ahmontgomery.com/blog/126633-ringworm-in-cats
  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/ringworm-in-dogs-cats-and-people-3385705
  • https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/healthcare/ringworm-in-cats
  • https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/ringworm-in-cats
  • https://novacatclinic.com/my-cat-has-ringworm-will-i-get-it/
  • https://www.care.com/c/stories/6522/ringworm-in-cats-what-you-need-to-know/
  • https://www.uwsheltermedicine.com/library/guidebooks/ringworm/diagnosing-ringworm
  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/ringworm-in-cats-4175211
  • https://www.banixx.com/faq/faq-cats-kittens/115-how-to-treat-ringworm-in-cats-ringworm-in-kittens-solutions-from-banixx-pet-care/

When Do Cats Stop Growing?

kitten in grass

When you first lay eyes on your kitten, it almost seems impossible to imagine that something so tiny and meek will one day grow into a beautiful, majestic cat. That same little furball with the huge blue eyes who can barely walk will one day be powerfully jumping into the air with pure terror at the sight of cucumbers. Nature really is a miracle.

But exactly how long is the timeframe between your kitten being so small it can fit in the palm of your hand and it being a fully grown cat? Should you expect a gradual shift from kitten to cat? Or will it be like with humans, where they go from small children to getting their driver’s license in the blink of an eye?

What Age Do Cats Stop Growing?

cute kittenAccording to veterinarians, most cats will usually be considered at or near their full size by the time they reach one year of age. However, some larger breeds will continue to grow for months afterwards. In fact, some of the largest cat breeds like the Maine Coon have been reported to grow all the way up until they’re four years old!

While the exact date of maturity varies slightly by breed, your little furball will likely turn from being a kitten into a cat between ten months and eighteen months old. With that in mind, you may be sitting next to a kitten as you read this and wondering: “This looks like a cat to me, and I know Whiskers isn’t older than six months! What gives?” While your kitten might have the physical characteristics of a mature cat, it’s important that we review the milestones that kittens pass as they transition from kittenhood into…. Well, cathood!

From Months Three to Six

During this pivotal time in your feline friend’s life, a lot is going to change. They’ll begin sprouting ferociously sharp baby teeth around this time. Those teeth will start to fall out, too, so make sure the “Tooth Fairy” has some small treats for your buddy. Their eyes will change color too, shifting from a precious, baby blue color to its adult color. Your kitten’s petite frame will also begin to fill out during this time, meaning they’ll start packing on muscle and the adorable baby fat adorning their belly will likely slim out.

Month Six

kitten playingBy six months old, your once youthful kitten will likely look more and more like their adult selves. However, this doesn’t mean they’ve reached full size. As a general rule, remember that an average-sized cat will gain one pound per month while they’re maturing. So, by six months old, your cat should weigh roughly six pounds and look like they could use a bowl or two more of food. Your cat’s body proportions may even look a bit wonky around this time, but don’t worry, they’ll easily grow into their bodies with time.

Month Seven

Raising your seven-month-old kitten may feel reminiscent of raising a teenager: your cat will be simultaneously excited to explore everything but oh so sleepy. As your cat works his way through his seventh month, expect him to take lots of naps. With a larger body to match their budding confidence, seven-month-old cats will also begin demonstrating how social they want to be, both with you and other animals in your household.

Months Eight and Nine

toyger kittyAt this stage, your cat is likely nearly done growing. Notice we said nearly. Having taken the awkward first few steps towards pronouncing their personalities, your cat’s confidence will likely be at an all-time high. During this time, their paw-eye coordination will strengthen considerably, as will the muscles in their hind-legs. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that you clear your counters (and any other high spaces, really) of materials that could be hazardous or, non-replaceable, if they were knocked off.

From Months Ten through Twelve

It’s between months ten through twelve that the average cat will reach their full adult heights and lengths. Additionally, your cat’s personality (while by no means paused forever) will likely conclude developing in these three months. This is also the time that your cat will likely have achieved sexual maturity, although we recommend getting your cat spayed or neutered well before this point. Perhaps most importantly, this is the period of time when your kitten will make the full transition from eating kitten food to eating regular cat food. After all, we are what we eat, right?

So, that’s it. Start to finish, nine months is about all it takes for the average kitten to evolve from a tiny fur ball into the slinky, loveable critters we know and love. Now, the above timeline is by no means a hard-and-fast schedule. How fast your cat grows (and how big they grow to be) can be affected by a variety of factors.

What Factors Affect How Fast Cats Grow?

Gender

siamese catIt may be surprising to learn that, unlike humans, male cats actually grow more slowly than their female counterparts. This is because female cats tend to have smaller frames than male cats of the same breed, meaning they have less of a body to grow into. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the average domestic male cat weighs approximately seven pounds, whereas female cats weigh approximately six pounds. Using this same manual, it’s found that male cats tend to be around 21 inches long while female cats are slightly shorter at 19 inches long.

Spaying or Neutering

It has long been a subject of discussion as to whether or not spaying or neutering your point-eared friend stymies or stunts their growth in some way. More specifically, it was believed that spayed and neutered cats grew larger than their unaltered counterparts. Studies have, in fact, borne this theory out to a degree. It can now be safely said that, so long as the procedure is performed before the cat reaches adulthood, their girth and length will be larger than their virile counterparts. This is because pediatric spaying and neutering results in a protracted fusion of a cat’s growth plates around their legs and arms, thus giving them more time to grow.

Diet

Of all the items on this list, this is by far the most important.

Once a kitten is weaned off milk at around two months old, they become solely reliant on their owners for nutrition. With such a heavy weight placed on your shoulders, it’s necessary to keep in mind the goals of proper kitten nutrition.

A proper diet ensures that your purry pal grows at just the right rate – not too fast, not too slowly. You want to avoid a diet that precipitates maximal growth at all costs, as this can lead to feline obesity. While the type of food you feed your kitten is undoubtedly important, you should also consider how much food you’re feeding them and how often you’re doing it.

cat in food From months two to three, kittens should be fed small meals at least four times per day. This is because their tiny stomachs can’t store the amount of food needed for proper nutrition. As they progress from three months old to six months old, you should be feeding them between ⅓ and 1 cup, volume-wise, of food at least three times per day.

Some veterinarians even recommend a practice known as “free-feeding” for kittens who are between three and six months old. Free-feeding is exactly what it sounds like: you leave food out for kittens to eat throughout the day. Regardless of whether you choose a meal-based schedule or a free-feeding style, you should be weighing your cat every week at this stage of life and consulting with your veterinarian about whether or not adjusting their food intake is necessary to maintain a healthy weight.

From months six through twelve, your cat should be eating twice per day at roughly the same time each day (cats purr-fer a routine). During this period, follow recommendations from food labels and your veterinarian to determine the amount you should feed them.

However, be warned that these dietary guidelines change drastically if you neuter or spay your kitten. In general, it’s believed that removing a cat’s reproductive tract can reduce their daily caloric needs by up to 30%. The reasons for this are still being studied, but two theories have gained prominence. The first is that the process of neutering and spaying lowers a cat’s activity levels so substantially that they need to take in less food in order to account for the lack of additional calories being burned. The second is that the process of spaying and neutering alters the hormones in a cat’s bodies responsible for regulating their metabolism. Regardless of the reason why, the science is clear: if you spay or neuter your cat, give them less food during each feeding.

Now that we’ve discussed the questions of “How much?” and “How often?”, we can begin talking about the components of a proper diet for growing kittens. When crafting a diet for your kitten, there are three main nutritional components that you have to solve for: fat, protein, and calcium.

One thing to note is that, unlike dogs and humans, cats are obligate carnivores. As such, they have much higher minimum protein requirements than dogs (33g versus 21g per 100g of dry matter). That’s why kittens require that at minimum 35% and up to 50% of their dry food be composed of protein, with at least 9% of dry food coming from an animal source. The necessary amount may be higher when the kitten is weaning off milk, but, rest assured that the amount of protein they’ll need will decrease as they continue aging.

While we might try to avoid foods that are rich in fat, kittens actually need a fair bit of fat in their diet. Fats are loaded with essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins that are crucial for your cat to be in good health. Generally speaking, the fat content of your kitten’s food should be between 18% and 35% on a dry matter basis.

cat eating food Another critical mineral for your kitten’s healthy development is calcium. As specified by the trade body representing the European pet food industry, a complete diet for your cat should provide 2.5g of calcium per 1000 kilocalories of food. Do not overshoot or undershoot this nutritional requirement. A study of cats who were fed a diet lacking calcium demonstrated cats that grew to develop soft-tissue calcification which led to breathing difficulties, lethargy, and stunted growth as a result of vitamin D toxicity. Meanwhile, cats who were fed too much calcium developed hypercalcaemia, which resulted in calcium deposits building in their kidneys.

In order to guarantee that your kitten gets all of these essential nutrients, we recommend following the advice of most veterinarians and getting your kitten specially formulated kitten food. More specifically, we recommend following the advice of Mindy Bough, Senior Director of Client Services for the Midwest Office of the ASPCA, stating “Don’t go with generic or store brands. Buy from a reputable company. Research has shown these kitten foods provide excellent health.”

A quality kitten food, Bough says, will have a label that specifies that it meets the nutritional requirements for kittens as established by the American Association of Feed Controls. Better yet, look out for the “Complete and balanced nutrition” label; this label signifies that any kitten eating this food will need no mineral or vitamin supplementation in order to grow healthily.

So, let’s say it’s been a year since you picked up Ole Whiskers. Well, she’s now a year old, so, it’s probably Young Whiskers. Regardless, let’s say it’s been a year and you still have moments where you can swear she looks like she’s getting bigger. How exactly are you supposed to tell when she’s done growing?

How to Tell When Your Cat is Finished Growing

cat licking lips While we’ve already discussed the fact that cats can indeed continue to grow after one year, it’s important to remember that their growth will slow down significantly. However, it’s natural to wonder whether or not your kitten is done blossoming into a beautiful cat! So, if you ever catch yourself just itching to know whether or not your paw-fect pal is done growing, use the tools at your disposal and measure them! For real! It’s that simple.

Just measure their length and take their weight every month for three to six months after they hit one year old. At some point, the ever-minutely-increasing measurements are likely to stop. Once they do, you’ll know for sure that you’ve got one whole cat in front of you!

We understand the want to monitor your cat’s development and check up on them constantly. So, when we check on our fur babies and find that they’re developing a skin infection or a yeast infection, we reach for Banixx Pet Care! This antimicrobial spray provides instant sting-free, odorless relief from a variety of fungal and bacterial maladies, all without relying on steroids or antibiotics. Just identify the afflicted area, apply Banixx a few times per day, and wait for your pet’s symptoms to begin waning. Relief really can be that simple.

Almost as simple as we make learning about how to keep your pet happy and healthy! We hope you found this article helpful and if your cat ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.

Sources

  • https://pets.thenest.com/kitten-considered-fully-grown-4251.html
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  • https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-bust-6-myths-pediatric-early-spay-neuter-cats
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  • https://www.healthypawspetinsurance.com/blog/2019/11/12/when-do-cats-stop-growing-reliable-ways-to-know-when-cats-reach-their-full-size

How To Keep Your Senior Dog Healthy

old dog window

senior dogAs our dogs begin to age, we start to notice changes, both in their behavior and appearance. Their once vibrantly-colored coats begin to take on a grey or white hue, and they move a little slower. The seemingly-endless playtime suddenly becomes a lot more finite, and you notice they’re much more in favor of just lounging around next to you.

These changes bring to mind important questions: Do I have to adjust how I care for a senior dog? Can they still go on long walks or hikes with me, like they used to? Is giving them little nibbles of cheese still okay? While the answers to these questions ultimately are going to vary from dog to dog, there are still some relatively universal rules you can abide by that will keep your graying pup around for many happy years to come.

Keep Your Dog’s Weight In Check

When we think about the national “weight problem”, we tend to think of humans who can’t help but get large-sized meals, or people who just love soda. However, the weight problem is by no means restricted to just us bipedal creatures.

man with senior dogBy defining obesity in dogs as being 30% above their ideal body weight, it has been estimated that more than 55% of dogs can be categorized as overweight or obese. While having a bit of extra cushion isn’t likely to lead to significant issues, obesity presents significant health risks to dogs. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, dogs who are obese are at a greater risk for developing arthritis, chronic kidney disease, bladder/urinary tract disease, liver disease, low thyroid hormone production, diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, and cancer.

When mixed with other afflictions that already plague older dogs, obesity can compound the damage done by existing conditions to a dangerous degree. According to veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman at Tufts Cumming School of Veterinary Medicine, obesity can be especially brutal on dogs with bad joints, stating: “The large weight of the dog will stress the joints further. You can get a lot of relief if you can get him down to his fighting weight.”

However, don’t just go slashing your good old boy’s food intake by half just because they’re a bit chunky. Instead, go in with a plan. Weigh them first to get an exact idea of whether they’re overweight, underweight, or just right. If you discover your dog can afford to lose a few pounds, consult with your veterinarian to devise a plan on how to effectively cut back the amount of food you give them.

While we’re on the subject of food…

Feed Them a Senior-Friendly Diet

Your four-legged friend’s been eating that same brand of dog food for the past six years, so there’s no way they’d need to switch things up once they reach their golden years, right?

senior dog eatingGuess again!! Just as it is with humans, dogs’ dietary requirements evolve as they age. As Dr. Katie Kangas, founder of The Pet Wellness Academy, says: “[Practicing good nutrition] is literally the most important thing we can do to support and promote the health of our pets.”

But in order to fully understand how to practice “good nutrition”, we have to first discern what good nutrition is for senior dogs. One of the most important concepts to grasp is that senior dogs may require fewer calories than their spry counterparts. While that may point to the increased likelihood of your dog gaining weight, the opposite can also be true! As dogs progress from being a senior pup to an ancient dinosaur, they actually tend to start losing weight. In these cases, dogs need to have their diet monitored to ensure they’re getting enough calories rather than to make sure they’re not overeating. In any case, determining the exact right caloric intake for your dog is good conversation to have with your veterinarian.

However, discerning the optimal number of calories for your dog doesn’t help you understand what macro nutritional needs they might have developed as they age, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. As an example, many believe dogs should eat less protein as they age to minimize potential negative impacts on their kidneys. However, while chronic kidney disease is a known health issue for elderly dogs, recent research disproves the notion that protein poses any harm to kidney function. In reality, veterinary dieticians are now in consensus that elderly dogs actually need up to 50% more protein in their diet than younger dogs in order to maintain a healthy muscle mass.

Additionally, you should consider orienting your senior dog’s diet around mitigating the effects that old age is having on their bodies. For example, many older dogs begin to suffer from constipation due to a progressively impaired colon. Luckily, we can limit the harmful effects of this organ breaking down by giving our senior dogs food that is high in fiber. Diabetic dogs can also greatly benefit from a low-fat, high-fiber diet thanks to the delayed absorption of food that this diet yields. However, be warned that giving your dog a diet that is too high in fiber may decrease the uptake of essential nutrients.

Also, as discussed previously, many dogs are predisposed to developing kidney diseases in old age. Likewise, some dogs’ hearts will stop working as well as they did when they were young pups. Thankfully, there are ways to feed your dog a heart- and kidney-healthy diet! A 2011 study revealed that low-phosphorus, high-potassium diets are particularly helpful for bolstering the function of your dog’s kidneys and heart. Decreasing your dog’s intake of sodium can also support their kidney and heart function.

Dr. Kangas also suggests that one of the first (and easiest) steps we can take towards providing optimal nutrition to senior dogs is weaning our older pups off of processed foods. This is because heavily-processed foods are not only pro-inflammatory, but are known to contain preservatives and additives that are, at some level, toxic. Minimally-processed or unprocessed foods, on the other hand, tend to have higher quality ingredients and, due to their lower levels of processing, greater bioavailability of essential nutrients.

senior dog licking lipsHowever, diet alone is unlikely to solve all of an older dog’s nutritional deficiencies; that’s why many senior dog foods include supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin (two supplements that aim to prevent your dog from developing osteoarthritis). Unfortunately, the evidence that these ingredients work is limited.

On the other hand, there are a range of supplements you can give your aging furball that have been clinically proven to benefit their health. Perhaps one of the most famous examples is omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Originating from fish, krill oil, and phytoplankton, omega-3 fatty acids are not only anti-inflammatory, but can also improve your dog’s cognitive function and stabilize your dog’s heart muscle cells. Similarly, research conducted by Purina suggests that feeding your senior dog a normal diet supplemented by a mixture of antioxidants, B-vitamins, fish oil, and L-arginine led to significantly higher cognitive function.

Your dog’s heart, kidneys, and brain aren’t the only thing supplements can support. Two compounds we discussed above, glucosamine and chondroitin, can both be taken as standalone supplements to protect your dog’s joints and cartilage. Let’s not forget about the tummy, either. Human doctors are beginning to understand the importance of gut health, and veterinarians are doing the same. That’s why you see more and more dog-friendly probiotics coming to market.

All that being said, we know that diet and nutrition are only two parts of a total wellness regimen. One of the most important, and most loathed, aspects of maintaining optimal health is regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Keep Your Senior Dog Active – Physically and Mentally

Right now, you might be looking at your pup and thinking: “What? My dog? Slow down? Have you seen how fast he runs after that ball?”. And we understand completely. However, this thinking is misguided. Not only is waning mobility a common issue that senior dogs face, but some even deal with debilitating conditions like arthritis that make moving around genuinely painful.

senior dog kidWhile senior dogs might be a bit slower than they used to be, they still need to move around. Ideally, you should walk your dog at least once per day even if you think their health should prompt less movement. Your walks don’t have to be marathons in order to get tangible benefits from them, either; according to Dr. Kangas, even a short ten-minute walk once per day can help stave off the progression of arthritis.

Be sure to also tailor your dog’s exercise regimen to their own capabilities. If your dog is suffering from a particularly mobility-limiting ailment like osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia, then you’ll want to choose a physical activity that eases stress on their joints such as swimming. Also, if you notice that your dog is walking stiffly after a walk, consider adjusting the length, intensity, or surface of their workout. Really, all you need to remember is that your dog’s workout routine is meant to benefit them, not you. If you notice your dog tends to take their sweet time on a walk, let them! The whole point is to get them out and about while keeping it enjoyable for them!

It’s not like exercising only yields physical benefits, either. On the contrary: moving around and getting outdoors is a simple, effective way to keep your pup’s brain sharp. Sitting around the house all day is boring, anyway! Giving your dog novel things to see and sniff each day will keep their brain active.

Exercise is by no means the only way to keep your dog’s brain young, though. Much like how humans use brain teasers and crosswords to keep their minds sharp and snappy, dogs can use toys to stimulate their brains. Certain toys, for example, prompt your dog to try and retrieve items that are hidden or are stuffed into the toy. These force your dog to think logically about how to solve the puzzle in order to get the reward. Other toys, such as the famous KONG, reward your pup while cleaning their teeth and soothing their gums. In order to keep your old pup’s interest, consider rotating your toys on a weekly basis to keep things fresh and exciting.

senior dog playing outsideAnd while the old saying goes “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, we think that’s a load of…. Well…you know. It may not be as easy to teach an old dog tricks, but it absolutely can be done and it pays off big in terms of keeping their mind sharp. All it takes is a little bit of patience and consistent encouragement from you!

Perhaps one of the most potent (and adorable) ways to enrich your dog’s brain is to get them a dog companion. We’ve all seen the videos of elderly dogs excitedly receiving a younger sibling, and they typically follow a formula: the elderly dog initially reacts with a bit of apprehension or is downright standoffish–followed shortly by the duo playing together. The message of these videos seems to be that a young dog can reinvigorate your old timer while the senior pup teaches the new dog social and behavioral skills. It seems like a win-win.

Now, while impossibly cute, this heart-warming scenario is not guaranteed. For starters, you should honestly assess your current dog’s sociability before introducing a new puppy. The last thing you want is for your graying pup to act mean towards the baby. Additionally, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian to make sure your elderly dog is sufficiently capable, both physically and mentally, of handling the new puppy’s high energy levels.

Shine Those Chompers

The importance of a dog’s dental hygiene to their overall health can not be overstated. Not only will diligent dental care prevent the development of oral infections or the loss of teeth, but it will also prevent the development or worsening of certain medical conditions. This is because the bacteria that is present in oral plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, where it does additional (lasting) damage.

senior dog butterflyWhat’s worse: decaying teeth and gums can exacerbate presently-existing health conditions, which can be especially perilous for senior dogs. Unfortunately, many pet owners do not heed this warning, which is why 80% of dogs have some form of oral disease by age three. Thankfully, you can prevent these sorts of negative outcomes by giving your dog’s mouth just a little bit of T-L-C.

First things first: you need to feed your dog a well-balanced, nutritious diet. This ensures that the environment of your dog’s mouth is insusceptible to the growth of harmful bacteria. Next, make sure to brush your dog’s teeth every-day with a made-for-dogs toothbrush and toothpaste.

While you’re brushing their teeth, be sure to check their mouth for evidence of redness, bleeding, inflammation, and broken or cracked teeth. You might want to also consider getting your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned by a veterinarian to guarantee that nothing is missed.

Make Your Home Friendly to Senior Dogs

As dogs’ muzzles begin to gray and the walks with them get a bit slower and shorter, it becomes apparent to us that they’re really getting older. And while we may adjust how often and how hard they work out, or what we put in their food dish, we tend not to spend too much time thinking about how to make their living spaces a bit friendlier to their needs. This is a mistake, and it’s one we can easily fix.

senior dog tableIt all starts with acceptance that our dogs’ needs change as they get older. As we become more aware that our dogs are slowing down and their mobility is shrinking, we can take steps to make it easier for them to get around. An easy way to do this is to provide them with ramps so they can still go up the stairs, get on the couch, and climb into bed.

Speaking about bed, answer this question: when you’re 70+ years old, do you want to sleep on soft blankets or 20+ year-old bedsheets? We thought so. That’s why we implore you to make your senior dog’s bed as comfortable as possible! Give them soft blankets, and consider even springing for an orthopedic bed if your dog suffers from joint pain or arthritis.

Furthermore, there are other simple, low-cost ways to account for ailing joint health. One way is to account for how joint health impacts where our dogs spend their time. For example, if your kitchen has slippery flooring, an aging dog may begin to spend less time there. In order to prevent this from happening, you can install non-slip surfaces with rubber backings on any hard floors your dog walks on.

For good measure, you should also limit the frequency with which you move furniture around. As your dog ages, the strength of their senses will also begin to deteriorate. If you semi-frequently change the layout of your house, this can make navigating the home a stressful experience for a dog whose sight and smell are fading. After all, wouldn’t you be stressed if you just kept bumping into stuff in your house?

old dog homeAnother, unexpected way to do right by your senior pooch is to elevate their food and water bowls. This may seem contradictory to the advice we’ve given thus far; after all, wouldn’t doing this make it harder for them to get food and water? Yes, but also no!

While our natural instinct might tell us to lay the food and water bowls on the floor, or even bring the bowls to the dog, that may not be the best idea for their overall health. As explained by Connie Schulte, a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner at Blue Pearl Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Missouri and Kansas: “Once we start providing everything for them, they no longer have the need to get up and walk to the food or water bowl.”

With this in mind, it makes sense that we’d want to find simple ways to keep our old buddies as mobile as possible for as long as possible. Hence the suggestion to elevate the bowls off the floor. With this simple action, we end up encouraging our old dogs to get up, travel to the bowls, and remain standing while they consume. By forcing them to move around more frequently throughout the day, even in this minimal way, we end up bolstering their mobility and preventing further muscle atrophy.

Don’t Skip Those Health Check Ups

It may seem like an easy thing to do, but we strongly advise against falling into the mindset of: “I’ll wait until something is wrong before I take my pup to the vet.” This line of thinking actually goes against the consensus of most veterinarians who advise that senior dogs be examined bi-annually.
Regular, thorough physical check-ups by your veterinarian can help catch the beginnings of a variety of potentially lethal diseases and conditions including heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and more. By catching them early on, your vet can work with you to develop a treatment plan that will prevent found conditions from worsening. Remember: it is almost always easier (and cheaper) to prevent a disease than it is to treat one.

However, we know that you’re a diligent pet parent and that you’re likely to pursue solutions quickly. That’s why we know that, if your senior pupperoni ever starts displaying signs of skin infections or injuries, you’ll use Banixx Pet Care! Our antimicrobial spray offers immediate, sting-free relief from a variety of bacterial and fungal infections – all without leaving a lingering odor or relying on steroids or antibiotics. Just identify the affected area, apply Banixx once or twice daily, and watch your dog recover from anything such as an ear infection, hot spot, itchy skin, ringworm & more…Relief really can be that simple.

And so can learning ways to keep your dog happy and healthy, regardless of their age. We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or hot spots, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.

senior dog owners

Sources

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Toyger Cats

toyger cats

In 2020, a phenomenon took the world by storm, all while we were sitting on our couches. We’re talking, of course, about Netflix’s show Tiger King. While watching Joe Exotic get his come-uppance was certainly entertaining, it sparked a curiosity in many people about the ethics of big cat ownership. As we observed through the show, the cats’ playful and exuberant nature was contrasted by Joe Exotic’s heavy hand and blase management.

But what if you could enjoy the playful nature of these majestic animals in a more bite-sized, home-friendly body (with far less scary teeth)? You can! Enter the Toyger breed. An adorable cat of recent creation that mimics the look and gait of wild tigers, these cats are friendly, intelligent, and so beautiful that it’s unfair. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry! By the end of this article, we’ll have you feeling like an all-knowing Toyger King (or Queen).

History of Toyger Cats

toyger kittyUnlike with many cat breeds of unknown origin, we actually know the exact person who is responsible for the inception of the Toyger: Judy Dugden, daughter of Jean Mill, the original breeder of the Bengal cat species. Developed in the 1980s, the Toyger cat gets its name by crossing the words ‘toy’ and the word ‘tiger’. Sugden’s inspiration for breeding the Toyger came after noticing one of her cats had tabby markings on their temple which she believed could be used for creating a cat with circular patterns on their head, similar to a tiger.

After deciding to embark on this journey, Sugden began formulating the exact characteristics a cat would need to have in order to bring the image of a “toy tiger” to the public’s mind: a long, muscular body, a sprawling network of tabby patterns, circular head markings previously unheard of on a domestic cat, and a long face. Eventually, she was able to achieve her goal by mixing her mother’s famed Bengal breed with a Domestic Shorthair. A Kashmirian street cat was also eventually brought into the mix to get those distinct spots behind the ears, while a cat from Delhi helped give the Toyger its characteristic sheen.

Finally, after years of development and further tweaking, the International Cat Association accepted the Toyger for registration in 1993. As of today, it is now listed as a championship breed.

Characteristics of Toyger Cats

Toyger cats’ visually stunning, orange and/or tan coat is characterized by distinct, dark stripes. However, unlike the vertical stripes that characterize mackerel tabbies or the rounded rosettes of other breeds, the Toyger has broken, branched stripes and rosettes that proliferate across and around their bodies. Like their big cat cousins, each Toyger’s stripe patterns are unique to each cat, acting almost as a fingerprint. Their thick coat is also accented by a faint glow of glitter that some breeders describe as a “dusting” of gold.

Toyger cats are medium to large in size and tend to have a surprisingly muscular definition, often weighing in between seven and fifteen pounds. To accommodate their muscular stature, their long, rectangular body is slung low to the ground while their shoulders sit high on their torso, mimicking the powerful stance of wild tigers. Toyger cats are also unique in the composition of their facial markings. According to the 2008 TICA Standards, a Toyger cat’s facial markings and stripes are circularly aligned around their face and are accented by white “thumb marks” on the back of their ears.

Personality of Toyger Cats

toyger kitten playingLike the Tiger cubs they were modeled after, Toyger cats are exceptionally playful and outgoing, often yearning to play with their owners, children, and even other pets! Whether you want to play fetch or even play in the water, your Toyger will be ready to join in the fun at the drop of a hat.

Toygers are remarkably active cats, meaning they require consistent physical and mental stimulation. Luckily, their laid-back temperament and high levels of intelligence makes them easy candidates for leash training. To keep his mind busy, consider investing in toys that reward him with treats or kibble for learning how to solve puzzles. If they’re anything like Tigers, your Toyger should learn how to manipulate any puzzle you put in front of him in no time.

But don’t worry – while their name might imply that these are some sort of ferocious or cunning felines, the Toyger breed is actually one of the most loving, affectionate cat breeds around. As much as they delight in scurrying around and pleasing you by performing tricks, they’re equally happy to laze around in your lap as you watch television or read. There really is a Toyger for everyone!

Health of Toyger Cats

Unfortunately, while the name for these cuddly cats takes inspiration from one of the strongest, most resilient big cats in the world, they’re prone to developing some health issues. Like the Bengal and Domestic Shorthair, Toyger cats can be predisposed to developing heart murmurs.

The Bengal side of the Toyger may also make them a prime candidate for developing pyruvate kinase deficiency, an inherited disorder that leads to a breakdown of red blood cells and can morph into anemia. However, the newness of the Toyger breed makes determining the probability of inheriting this condition hard to discern.

toyger stripesAdditionally, while its frequency is unknown, some Toygers are reported to suffer from a condition known as cow hocking. This painful affliction sees a cat’s hind legs turn inwards, leading their feet to point outwards which makes walking difficult.

However, the most prevalent health issue that Toygers face is one that is not limited to any single cat breed: obesity. Feline obesity, defined by Cornell’s Feline Health Center, is characterized by a body weight that is 20 percent or more above normal weight and is currently the most frequently observed nutritional disorder in domestic cats. Unfortunately, it’s also the fastest growing feline health crisis.

If left untreated, feline obesity can breed and exacerbate a variety of serious disorders including: osteoarthritis, a the erosion of cartilage in the bones; hip dysplasia, where a cat’s thigh bone will no longer fit properly into the socket of their hip; and diabetes, a condition where a cat’s pancreas can no longer regulate or produce insulin. Thankfully, there are multiple steps you can take to prevent your whiskered friend from becoming obese.

According to Carolyn McDaniel, VMD and lecturer at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, an important first step is to eliminate free feeding and switch to pre-portioned canned food. Making time in your cat’s routine for regular exercise and play are also important components of any weight management regimen (which won’t be a problem for your Toyger!). Above all, make sure that any weight loss or weight maintenance program you decide to employ is carried out under supervision of a trained veterinarian.

Grooming and Caring for Toyger Cats

toyger cat cuteGrooming a Toyger cat is a piece of cake (and much easier than grooming an actual Tiger, thank goodness.). Since their coats are relatively short, they’re not going to require constant maintenance. Most Toyger owners have found that simply brushing or combing them weekly is enough to keep them kempt. And, unless you love cat hair on the sofa, consider increasing the frequency of grooming to once per day during their shedding season.

The same ease of grooming holds true for their nails, ears, and teeth. Like all cats, Toyger cats should regularly have their nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and teeth brushed using veterinarian-approved products to ensure optimal health.

Unfortunately, doing all of the above isn’t a silver bullet to preventing the development of certain annoying maladies. Even the most attentive owners might discover that their Toyger has developed a skin infection, fungal infection, or even just gotten an owie that won’t stop irritating their purry pal. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: Banixx Pet Care! Developed without the use of pesky antibiotics or steroids, Banixx is a clinically-proven formula that provides instant, sting-free relief without leaving any lingering medicinal odor. Just identify the affected area, apply Banixx a couple of times per day, and wait for the great results.

How to Find Toyger Breeders

Due to the fact that Toyger cats are a relatively new breed, finding a reputable breeder can be a bit of a challenge. That being said, we have some tips to make this process go a heck of a lot smoother and ensure you won’t give your money to any sketchy breeders.

The first thing to remember is that any reputable breeder will proudly abide by a code of ethics that forbids them from selling to pet stores and wholesalers. This code of ethics will also outline the breeder’s responsibilities, both to their cats and to the buyers – like you. Additionally, any worthwhile breeder will be forward with the results of all necessary health certifications that screen for genetic disorders. Along those same lines, make sure to get as much information on the physical conditions of the breeding operation as possible; consider even going to check the facility yourself! Remember: any breeder worth their salt will be happy to show you around. You’ll want to make sure that the cats are being raised in sanitary conditions and that there are no sick cats to be found.

toyger kitty catAlso, be sure to ask about how the breeder is socializing the kittens. While it may not seem consequential, you’ll want to avoid buying kittens from breeders who raise kittens in isolation since kittens who aren’t raised in the home might become difficult to socialize later in life.

If the breeders that you’ve selected have websites, then keep this handy list of red flags close by to weed out potentially unreputable candidates. First, never buy a kitten from a breeder who claims there are always kittens available. Many reputable breeders will have wait periods from a few months to up to a year in advance, so a facility who always has kittens available may not be treating their cats ethically. Along those same lines, make sure to only pick from breeders who are giving the kittens at least twelve to sixteen weeks with their mothers. Any less than that and you run the risk of picking a kitten that wasn’t allowed to properly develop.

Also, if your breeder has multiple litters on the premises at once, make sure to ask them why and really probe how they’re ensuring the cats’ health and safety. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to get a satisfying answer to these questions, as having multiple litters or (worse) multiple breeds on-site is often indicative of kitten farming. While the process of question asking might sound arduous or even uncomfortable, it’s important to ensure you don’t end up with a sick or otherwise troublesome kitten.

In fact, it’s advised to approach any potential transaction with a breeder with a list of pertinent questions in-hand to avoid any potential mishaps. Some things you may want to ask them include how long they’ve been a breeder, how many cats they raise in any given year, and any information they know about the genetic defects specific to this breed. If the breeder you’re interacting with sputters or tries to dodge these questions: run. Any reputable breeder should have quick, verifiable answers to these basic questions.

Of course, you can take the guesswork out of finding a reputable breeder by leaning on certain resources available. Your veterinarian is likely to have the contact information for local breeders who they’ve verified as passing the sniff test. And, if they don’t (which may well be the case for Toygers), they’ll likely be happy to connect you with someone who does have that information. Plus, there are a growing number of Toyger-specific rescue groups that will be able to help you find your fur-ever friend. However, take note that some of these groups have limited availability and may not have what you’re looking for.

But, in between searching for breeders or rescue groups, be sure to visit our cat page to learn more about how to keep your Toyger (and other pointy-eared buddies) happy and healthy!

Sources

  • https://www.cpccares.com/blog/avoid-buying-from-kitten-puppy-farm/
  • https://tica.org/toyger-breeders
  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/heart-murmurs-in-cats-3384633
  • https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/pyruvate-kinase-deficiency/
  • https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/obesity
  • https://www.petguide.com/breeds/cat/toyger/
  • https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/get-to-know-toyger-cat-breed-wild-look-tame-temperament
  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/toyger-cat-profile-554213

Successfully Managing Your Horse’s Kissing Spine Syndrome

kissing spines horse

Kissing spine syndrome is a back disorder in horses that causes pain, stiffness and soreness. It’s often complex to diagnose and a challenge to treat because it affects horses in different ways.

Courtney Cooper, a five-star eventer and breeder who is proudly sponsored by Banixx, describes her mare’s “very, very bad kissing spines” in a recent YouTube interview:

“I have a homebred mare and she got to the point where, we could get on her, we could tack her and I could get on her on the mounting block, but when I went to close my leg, she wouldn’t go anywhere with the rider on her back. She was violent about it,” says Cooper.

Kissing spines may invoke behavioral changes as Cooper mentioned, or increase sensitivity to touch or routine care. Horses may have reactions such as:

  • bolting
  • bucking
  • edginess
  • head tossing
  • kicking out
  • lameness
  • rearing
  • reluctance to jump or move forward
  • resistance to training
  • stiffness and soreness
  • unwillingness to be groomed

How Is Kissing Spines Diagnosed?

The medical term for “kissing spines” is overriding dorsal spinous processes (ORDSP). These are bony projections at the top of each vertebrae along the horse’s spine that overlap or touch (hence “kissing”) rather than being spaced evenly. This can cause inflammation, pain or soreness where the bones rub together. Most horses have 54 vertebrae along the spinal column; however this can vary by breed from 51 to 58 vertebrae. Vertebrae that are commonly affected are between (T) 13 and 18, with (T) 15 the most affected. This one is located directly under the saddle and the rider’s seat.

An estimated 40% of horses have the condition but it is more common in Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Warmbloods and dressage horses.
Interestingly, these horses often continue to perform and compete at high levels with the condition. The underlying cause for this syndrome is not known. The role of heredity is unclear or if certain horses are predisposed to the condition. It may be related to external factors such as poor saddle fit or improper training or problems with the rider; however, the research remains inconclusive and there are no known ways to prevent it.

Dr. James M. Hamilton, DVM, an equine sports medicine veterinarian, diagnoses about 50 cases of kissing spines annually at Southern Pines Equine Associates in Southern Pines, North Carolina. He says that some horses are prone to kissing spines due to having a long back and short vertical pelvis which can cause the vertebral column beneath the horse’s topline to take unnecessary stress.

“It is prudent to make as strong an effort as you can to get a specific diagnosis. There are many cost-effective ways of doing appropriate diagnostics that give a clear source of the lameness, how best to treat it, and some sense of prognosis,” says Dr. Hamilton.

highlighted kissing spine

Kissing Spines

To diagnose kissing spines, your horse’s veterinarian will most likely obtain X-rays or radiographs, an ultrasound, bone scan or magnetic resonance image (MRI) to get a complete picture of the severity of the condition. The difficulty with the diagnosis is that some horses do not show any outward clinical signs for kissing spines, while others exhibit behaviors that may be attributed to other health problems unrelated to back pain.

“The radiographic findings are not necessarily indicative of how the horse reacts,” adds Cooper, who operates C Square Farm, a horse sales program and training operations based in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. “And so you can have horses that radiograph poorly but will never have a problem with it. And you can have horses that radiograph well and will have a problem with it. And so I think it really comes down to does the horse show palpable sensitivity and then how do you manage it?”

Effectively Treating and Managing Kissing Spines

The first line of treatment for your horse is to make her feel comfortable. One of the best ways to treat or potentially cure kissing spines is to give your horse an extended rest for a minimum of three to nine months and to incorporate other approaches to maximize comfort and manage kissing spines syndrome in the long term. These medical and therapeutic interventions may include:

  • acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and physical therapies.
  • bisphosphonate drugs, which prevent loss of bone density in horses four years or older.
  • extracorporeal shockwave therapy, a noninvasive, nonsurgical approach for chronic and painful orthopedic problems.
  • mesotherapy which stimulates the middle layer of the skin on the horse’s back that can help stop the pain and spasms.
  • steroidal injections at regular intervals to reduce inflammation.
  • surgical methods such as:
    • inter-spinous ligament desmotomy (ISLD) which relieves pressure and increases space in the affected areas.
    • bone shaving, trimming or removal of the problematic areas to allow for more room and movement.

In addition, you may need to add to these initial and ongoing treatments to support your horse with massage blankets, tack fit to ensure that the saddle, girth and pads are fitting properly and a daily physical therapy routine.

rock star akd

Courtney Cooper and Rock Star. Photo by Amy Dragoo.

At one time, kissing spine syndrome was considered a career ending condition. But great strides have been made in digital imaging and surgical and medical treatments. Cooper’s horse had surgery, underwent rehabilitation and made a full recovery. The mare resumed her career, competing at the two-star level. Cooper says horse owners can feel confident about doing a good job finding effective treatment and managing the condition.

“You know there are always extreme cases, it’s sort of like anything. But for the most part I think people have gotten to the point where they can manage and it’s inspiring them to do massage or riding work or mesotherapy, or injections, or shock wave or surgery. I don’t think it is like it used to be,” Cooper says.

Different treatment modalities with ongoing maintenance may take time and persistence until you find the right regimen for your horse. It is estimated that 85% of performance horses that are treated for this condition recover and continue on with successful careers. It is important to remain patient and try different methods until you find what works for your horse.

Your horse will be free from pain — and she just might kiss you for it!

Find Banixx at a store near you.

Brought to you by BANIXX – The #1 trusted solution for equine and pet owners!

We hope you found this article helpful and if your horse ever gets any cuts, abrasions, scratches or white line disease, we hope you keep Banixx Horse & Pet Care in mind.

Sources

  • https://ceh.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/kissing-spines; Young, Amy (2019, July 29). What are kissing spines? UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Center for Equine Health.
  • https://thehorse.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/FactSheet_KissingSpines_2019.pdf; Oke, Stacey (2019, April); reviewed by Contino, Erin; Fact Sheet – Kissing Spines. TheHorse.com – Your Guide to Equine Health Care.
  • https://news.vet.tufts.edu/2019/09/surgical-management-of-kissing-spines/; Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. (2019, September 4); Surgical management of kissing spines. Cummings School News Center.
  • https://thehorse.com/148184/kissing-spines-horses-back-pain/; Hill, Jackie (2018, February 14) Kissing spines in horses: More than back pain. TheHorse.com – Your Guide to Equine Health Care.
  • https://thehorse.com/148184/kissing-spines-horses-back-pain/; Hill, Jackie (2018, February 14) Kissing spines in horses: More than back pain. TheHorse.com – Your Guide to Equine Health Care.
  • https://news.vet.tufts.edu/2019/09/surgical-management-of-kissing-spines/;Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. (2019, September 4); Surgical management of kissing spines. Cummings School News Center.

Smartest Cat Breeds In The World

cats peanuts

It’s pretty easy to tell if a cat is smart. Most intelligent cats can remember their name when called, greet their owners upon arrival, survive a couple of hours independently, learn basic tricks, and effectively emote their moods. While we may have this mental image of cats only being concerned with sunning themselves on the windowsill or occasionally climbing a cat tree, some want more from their lives. It may strike you as strange to imagine your cat playing fetch or walking by your side on a leash, but you’d be surprised how many cats love doing these things.

The reason for this is simple: cats are a very smart species! Their brain structure resembles that of some of nature’s most intelligent animals (including humans). However, that’s not to say that cats will always be able to school their neighborhood pooch. Just like with any other species, some cat breeds are smarter than others. Below, you’ll learn more about eight of the most clever cat breeds around.

The Eight Smartest Cat Breeds

Abyssinian

abyssinianMany people point to the Abyssinians’ resemblance to paintings and sculptures of cats found in Ancient Egypt as evidence that they’re among the oldest cat breeds in existence. However, this royal history is often disputed and it is believed that the modern iteration of the breed comes from Great Britain (so still potentially royal!).

Regardless of whether they’re the purry pals of Ramses II or Queen Victoria, one thing is for sure: these are some wickedly smart cats. Abyssinians are among some of the most naturally curious and independent cats out there. Once they’ve decided to pursue something that’s piqued their interest, there’s no stopping them. This same intense inquisitiveness can also lead to them making a fool of themselves in front of you, which can be highly entertaining.

If you’re going to own an Aby, you’ll want to keep their highly active brains and bodies stimulated, or else risk them getting restless. Pairing them with another Abyssinian or giving them lots of puzzle toys to play with are easy ways to keep their minds busy. But don’t worry – your Aby isn’t going to be too busy thinking to give you some love. In reality, they’re some of the cuddliest cats around, too!

Bengal

bengal catPerhaps best known for its exotic, almost Jaguar-esque coat, this breed wishes it got more props for its brain! Originally bred as the result of crossing a domestic cat with a wild Asian leopard cat, the Bengal breed is a highly active, curious, and social cat. They love the high energy that children bring and revel in any amount of playtime you give it. However, be warned that their love of play and boundless excitement can also lead to a few broken items if you’re not careful.

Bengals’ high degree of intelligence also makes them highly trainable, with some Bengal owners reporting that they’ve been able to teach their cats basic commands including “sit” and “stay”. This can also be a double-edged sword, as some Bengals have even been reported to learn how to open doorknobs or turn on the faucet just by watching their humans do those things. However, these kinds of annoying behaviors aren’t something you have to worry about so long as you keep their brains occupied.

Another area where Bengals like to flex their superior IQ is hunting. Due to their wild backgrounds, Bengals are extraordinarily efficient at both hunting small creatures and fishing. This may be a behavior that you want to tamp down on quickly, as this is not a behavior that your Bengal will easily unlearn. In order to curb this behavior, try introducing your Bengal to small animals and fish frequently while they’re still kittens.

Cornish Rex

cornish rex catUnusual to the eye but surprisingly elegant in their silhouette, the Cornish Rex breed is known for being an active cat that loves being around its family members. These fun-loving cats are known for an easy-going temperament which makes them exceptionally trainable, with some learning to wave, shake, sit, and even play fetch! That last one is par for the course for this breed, as they love physical exercise.

The breed is also renowned for its affability with both children and other pets, making them great family pets. However, Cornish Rex cats aren’t going to be happy if they feel like they’re just a pick of the litter housecat; they crave one-on-one time with their humans. So, if you intend on getting one, make sure you’re giving them plenty of space to run, jump, and climb as well as plenty of cuddles to enjoy.

Singapura

singapura catCan you guess where these cats hail from? That’s right: Singapore! Currently the world’s smallest domestic cat breed, these frisky little critters are balls of fun and companionship. Thriving on attention and always looking for more, the Singapura loves to bound up, down, and around, playing whenever and wherever possible (so make sure to provide ample vertical space for them!).

Sometimes referred to as “little lions of love”, the Singapura often wants to be in the middle of whatever it is their family is doing – every activity is an opportunity to play, after all. Additionally, every new item that comes across their saucer-like eyes is an item that’s ripe for keen inspection…and playing with. That means any unimportant objects you might use once in a blue moon, such as pens, a computer keyboard, your shoelaces, or kitchen utensils are all fair game for them to become intrigued by and tamper with.

With their insatiable curiosity evident, consider keeping your Singapura’s little head busy by teaching them tricks or providing them with puzzle toys that reward them for each successful attempt.

Korat

korat catThis isn’t just another blue cat. Beneath their striking silver coloration is a cat that’s uniquely emotive and intelligent. While they share a similar lineage to the Siamese breed, they’re not nearly as talkative as their Siamese cousins are. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t let you know what’s up. Ask any Korat owner and they’ll tell you that you can tell what a Korat’s thinking just by looking at them. What’s more surprising is that an equal proportion of Korat owners will tell you their cat seems equally aware of what their owner is thinking.

This is probably because Korat’s are especially observant cats, often employing a “watch, then do” approach to everything. So, don’t be surprised if you come home to find your Korat opening containers or trying to unlock a door! However, Korats’ fondness for closeness also means that they’re not very keen on being left alone. In fact, their observational nature lets them quickly pick up which tactics gain them the most attention for the longest amount of time. Once they have your attention, they’ll also jump at any opportunity to play and express great interest in whatever toys are in front of them. So, we’re not saying that Korats are master manipulators, but they sure do know what tricks keep us wrapped around their little paws!

Burmese

burmese catKnown by some as the “dog of cats” due to the strong bonds they form with their owners and enjoyment of various games like fetch, Burmese cats thrive on attention from their owners. Their shared ancestry with Siamese cats makes them an especially vocal breed, albeit with softer and sweeter voices.

Like dogs, Burmese cats are uniquely equipped to learn tricks (which they enjoy thanks to the additional attention it brings them), with some being able to learn how to sit, roll over, fetch, and walk on a leash. However, not all Burmese cats are the same! Male Burmese cats tend to be a bit more demure in their personality, while females are much more openly demanding of their owners’ attention. Nonetheless, both sexes of the Burmese breed are curious animals who thrive when given proper mental stimulation.

Scottish Fold

scottish foldIf you’re looking for a cat with the most adorable ears you’ve ever laid your eyes on, then the Scottish Fold is the cat for you. Though most of their popularity comes from their distinctive folded ears (and from the YouTube-famous Maru), Scottish Folds have become famous among cat lovers for their extraordinarily gentle and intelligent nature.

Scottish Folds love being as close to the action as possible, often closely following behind their humans as they walk around the house. Unlike many breeds, Scottish Folds are uniquely adaptable to changes in their environment, making them well-suited to homes that are planning to introduce other cats or young children to the house. The Scottish Fold also loves to learn tricks that will keep its humans entertained and amused, such as opening doors or playing fetch.  Don’t worry about them becoming pests for attention, either – Scottish Folds are still cats, and they enjoy regularly exercising their independence. However, once they’ve decided to come back after an afternoon of sleuthing, they’ll be all over you. Enjoy!

Siamese

siamese catQuick: what’s black, white, and blue all over and doesn’t stop talking? A Siamese cat! Characterized by their stunningly blue eyes and their tendency to chat up everyone about everything, these cats are known for their cunning wits and their affectionate, playful nature. When they’re not curling up on their human’s lap or carefully watching their every move, you might find them playing with their housemates including other cats, dogs, and children.

They are also quick to boredom, which can lead to unwanted destruction if you’re not careful. Luckily, you can avoid having them come up with their own entertainment by training them or providing puzzle toys to keep their minds busy. Getting them a companion (like another Siamese cat) is also a good way to keep them from feeling bored or, worse, lonely. Siamese cats are especially social creatures, so you don’t want to leave them alone for too long or else they can quickly become distressed. If left alone for too long, you may come back to find your faucet running, your cabinets swung wide open, or your toilet roll cut to pieces!

“Well, that’s great,” you might say to yourself, “but cat isn’t any of these breeds! Is she just destined to be my little dope forever? Or can I train her to be more intelligent?”

How To Train Your Cat’s Brain

As any animal ages, their brain functions begin to naturally decline. This process is accelerated when the animal lives in an environment that isn’t mentally and physically stimulating. As cats reach old age, they can develop a disorder known as feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD): a cat version of Alzheimer’s disease. Cats with FCD can begin displaying a variety of troubling symptoms, including acting disoriented, missing the litter box, and even rejecting affection.

Unfortunately, once FCD strikes there’s no curing it. That’s why it’s critically important to begin focusing on amping up your kitty’s brain health long before FCD has its chance. With that in mind, here are just a few ways you can help keep your cat’s brain sharp.

Give Them a Puzzle

It’s been shown that having pets complete problem-solving activities has dramatically slowed down mental decay. Luckily, there are toys on the market that both enrich your cat’s brain while filling their bellies: food puzzles. The idea behind these toys is that they force your pet to use their brains in order to access the reward inside.

Food puzzle toys are available for purchase in a whole assortment of shapes and sizes. A common example of a food puzzle is The Kong, which is a rubber shape that has a hollowed out cavity where you can stuff food into. You can also turn every mealtime into a puzzle by buying a puzzle feeder. Popular among dogs and cats who are ravenous while they feed, these bowls and dishes often have raised obstacles on their feeding surface in order to force the pet to tease out bits of kibble. If you’d rather keep things low-cost, you can even create a puzzle for your cat by simply dispersing their kibble in the grass! This achieves the same goal as the puzzle feeders while also getting your cat outdoors and mobile!

Play With Them

cat toyLike dogs, cats love to play with their owners. They’re just as easily perplexed by simple, everyday items as their canine counterparts and they’re just as antsy to start toying with anything that intrigues them.

For example, while most of us have probably used the dangling feather toy to laugh at our cat, these toys are actually incredibly useful for stimulating their brain. Not only will they expend some calories trying to catch the feather, but they’ll also have to figure out how to actually catch the feather. It helps their minds and body stay active, all while strengthening their innate hunting instincts. Sounds like a win to us!

Speaking of stimulating their hunting instincts, have you ever considered letting your cat hunt you? Okay, maybe not the best wording, but have you ever thought about how mentally taxing a game of hide and seek is? Well, your cat sure knows! In order to find their prey in the wild, cats would have to think about where their prey might hide and then carefully scope out those locations without alerting anyone.

There’s no reason they can’t replicate this experience in the comfort of their own home, so consider incorporating short games of hide and seek into your play routine. However, remember that you have to remind your cat it’s a game and that you haven’t actually disappeared. Make sure to continue calling out to them so they can hear your voice, and eventually they’ll get the hang of it.

Also, we know that it’s a common belief that cats mix with water about as well as oil does, but this isn’t a universal rule by any means. In fact, some cat breeds tend to love playing in and with water. If your cat loves splishing and splashing around, here’s a fun game for you to try: fill up a large bowl with colorful marbles and then place some ping pong balls on the top of the water. Your cat may become fascinated by the shiny balls at the bottom and will work to fish them out without getting too wet.

However you choose to play, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is to keep playing as part of your cat’s normal routine in order to keep them active into their later years.

Keep Their Bodies Active

cat playing shoesThe science is clear: there are clear mental benefits gained by keeping physically active, and there’s no reason to believe that’s exclusive to humans. Keep your cat active by installing cat trees in your house. These fun additions will incentivize your cat to climb to the top of their perches. Or, you could build one yourself by assembling a collection of empty boxes, cheap ramps, old wooden planks, and tons of other component parts! You may also want to encourage climbing by placing their food dishes at the top of stairs or on top of these cat trees. Not only will this keep their physique in check, but it will also facilitate problem solving.

Finally, you may even want to explore taking your cat for a walk! Some cats are going to be more enthusiastic about donning a leash than others, but there’s nothing to worry about. If your cat simply refuses to step foot outside in that thing and you have a backyard, get them to come out in the yard with you! Even just leading them around by dropping treats behind you for 15 minutes everyday can do wonders for keeping them active.

We know that most cats are pretty particular about their behavior, but we promise that the tips above should capture their attention without too much trouble. So, next time you’re thinking about just letting Whiskers hang out all day for the 117th day in a row, consider spending just a little time engaging them and their brains. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with a cat whose mind has aged wonderfully and who’s just as willing and capable of chasing the feather as they were when they were younger.

Whether your cat is the Feline Einstein or they forget their own name, we know that you love them dearly and would do anything to keep them and their brain happy and healthy. We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.

Sources

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/11/dog-cat-brains-neurons-intelligence-study-spd/
  • https://cattime.com/cat-breeds/bengal-cats
  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/learn-all-about-the-cornish-rex-cat-4694497
  • https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-breeds-cornish-rex-personality-ballet-dancer-body-pictures-photos
  • https://cfa.org/korat/korat-article/
  • https://cattime.com/cat-facts/1324-smartest-cat-breeds
  • https://www.petmd.com/cat/breeds/c_ct_burmese
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDolQlZWSmw
  • http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/is-your-kitty-confused-4-signs-of-cognitive-dysfunction-syndrome
  • https://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/collections/why-cats-love-water-cat-breeds-that-like-water/
  • https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-using-exercise
  • https://www.banixx.com/blog

250+ Japanese Cat Names

cat japan

As part of our growing, global society, it’s natural to become curious about how we can incorporate other cultures into our everyday lives. We might take up yoga, listen to Chinese pipa music in the morning, or take up a new cuisine that uses ingredients we are unfamiliar with.

japan One fun way that we can gain perspective onto different cultures is by observing and respectfully adopting their names for things, including our beloved pets! Nowhere is this more evident than by the wide array of available cat names that come from Japan.

Once revered for the supposed luck they bring and now beloved for their cuddliness, cats are the dominant pet of choice in Japan. As a result, there are so many Japanese names for cats that us Westerners can look to for inspiration when trying to name our own kitties.

Cats in Japanese History and Folklore

Cats have an undoubtedly special place in Japanese culture, with an interesting history to boot. In the modern world of cat cafes, Hello Kitty and ‘cat islands’ (islands where there are more cats than people…infinite cuddles, anyone?), it can be surprising to learn that cats were not always a part of Japanese society. In fact, cats aren’t even native to the island nation.

Rather, they (along with Buddhism) were imported by way of China in the mid-sixth century. On the voyage from China to Japan, Buddhist monks and traders would bring their cats as a means of protecting important scriptures and wares from being destroyed by rodents. But almost as soon as they arrived, cats were absorbed into the cultural fabric of Japan, soon becoming the subjects of art, literature, folklore, and Japanese Buddhist tradition itself.

Japanse Cat We find the first definite mention of a domestic cat in the diary of Emperor Uda, who described that he kept a black cat which was brought from China in 884. In his diary, Emperor Uda writes:

“On the 6th Day of the 2nd Month of the First Year of the Kampo era. Taking a moment of my free time, I wish to express my joy of the cat. It arrived by boat as a gift to the late Emperor, received from the hands of Minamoto no Kuwashi.

The color of the fur is peerless. None could find the words to describe it, although one said it was reminiscent of the deepest ink. It has an air about it, similar to Kanno. Its length is 5 sun, and its height is 6 sun. I affixed a bow about its neck, but it did not remain for long.

In rebellion, it narrows its eyes and extends its needles. It shows its back.”

Clearly, cat owners have not changed in a millenia. Like Emperor Uda, we understand that it can be hard to not talk about your cat (even when they’re exposing their….needles).

We can see this adoration of these fuzzy felines continue throughout Japanese history. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), for example, cats were the subject of multiple works of art from some of Japan’s most esteemed authors and illustrators. Utagawa Kuniyoshi, a prodigy illustrator, famously depicted cats taking the place of kabuki actors during a time of artistic censorship.

During the later Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the famous author Soseki Natsume wrote the popular fiction novel “I Am a Cat.  Decades later, Hiro Arikawa would build off of the success of Natsume’s story by authoring “The Travelling Cat Chronicles”.

Perhaps one of the most famous cats of Japanese culture is Maneki-neko, or the beckoning cat. Commonly seen waving his golden hand back and forth in storefronts, this ubiquitous cat has its origins in two tales from Japanese folklore. The first tells the story of a brave, lucky cat that saved the life of a samurai during a lightning storm. The other tells of a poor, elderly woman whose cat came to her in a dream and instructed her to craft a clay sculpture of a cat to sell at the market. Following the advice of her cat (as one does), the woman eventually sold more and more statues until she finally retired rich. While these stories are obviously fiction, that doesn’t stop the sales of thousands of these waving cats from rolling in, year after year.

japanese cats However, cats are not exclusively the subject of adoration in Japan. While their “kawaii” (cuteness) cannot be overstated, cats in Japan have also been viewed for centuries as potentially magic creatures. Their physical characteristics don’t help this skepticism – if you learned of the existence of an animal that could dilate the pupils of their glowing eyes, stretch out to very long lengths, walk without making sounds, and seemingly understand and respond to human language, you’d probably be pretty spooked. The fact that cats are not native to Japan and came from “the outside world” only further fueled this skepticism.

The first reported instance of supernatural cats in Japan dates back to the 12th century, when farmers and woodsmen reported that a massive, two-tailed cat had begun snatching up locals and eating them. Tales of supernatural cats continued to flourish during the Edo Period, when stories of shape-shifting bake-neko (monster cat) emerged. According to these new legends, cats could transform into anything you could think of; including human shapes.

The lore goes on to say that cats who live long lives (how about nine of them?) would go on to kill their owners and assume their place. Eventually, these legends morphed into stories about cats who lived entirely alternative, humanistic lives at night, including activities such as acting, playing games, drinking sake, smoking tobacco, etc, before slinking back home at dawn. It’s not so hard to see how a musical like Cats came to be now, is it?

The catlore of Japan is as fascinating as it is detailed, and we’ve only just begun nibbling on the surface kibble here in this article. With such a rich (and fantastical) history behind them, it’s no wonder why Japanese people have so many unique names for these adorable little critters.

Japanese Cat Name Conventions

There aren’t really any hard and fast rules one should follow when picking a Japanese name for their cat, aside from remembering to be respectful of Japanese culture. Much like Westerners, Japanese people often take inspiration from their cat’s physical appearance, objects, names in popular culture, and various other sources when deciding on a name for their little furball.

japan cat names Additionally, the Japanese names of other animals and plants can serve as inspiration for naming your pointy-eared pal. For example, the Japanese word for tiger, ‘Tora’ (虎) is a solid name for male cats. Meanwhile, plenty of female Japanese cats are named after flowers such as the names ‘Hana’ (flower, 花) and ‘Ume’ (plum, 梅).

Speaking of food, there’s plenty of food-based names you can pick from! Although, since we’re talking about Japanese names, you may want to use the names of foods that are commonly consumed in Japan such as ‘Matcha’ (green tea, 抹茶), Saba (mackerel, サバ), ‘Katsuo’ (bonito flakes, 鰹) and others for a more authentic name. However, tailoring the name to Japanese-specific dishes isn’t really necessary! The Japanese word for apple, ‘Ringo’ (林檎), is a common name for male and female cats alike. Similarly, the word for bean, ‘Mame’ (豆) is commonly used as a diminutive to describe cats who are small.

Plus, there are plenty of names from Japanese pop culture that can be lifted for naming your furry friend. One of the most famous cats in Japanese pop culture was the subject of a hit manga series titled ‘What’s Michael?’. The cat’s name? Michael. Drawing from the deep well that is anime and manga, there are a dowry of character names from multiple movies, television shows, and comics that you can pick from. Some might include Jiji (from Kiki’s Delivery Service) or Mello (from Death Note).

In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a Japanese cat name is to have fun with it! After all, we’re talking about naming creatures that get scared when they see cucumbers – it only makes sense that they might end up with a silly or tongue-in-cheek name!

Male Japanese Cat Names

cute cats A

Aki – Born in autumn

Akihiro – Great brightness

Akio – Bright boy

Arata – New

Asahi – Morning sunlight

Atsushi – Kindness

B

Banzan – Indestructible mountain

Bassui – High above average

Bento – Boxed lunch

Bishamon – Buddist god of war and fortune

Botan – Peony

Byakuya – White night

C

Chimon – Wisdom gate

Chotan – Deep pool

D

Dai-In – Hidden greatness

Daichi – Great land

Daijiro – Great second son

Daiki – Shining

Daisuke – Great helper

Doryo – Generosity

Dosei – Saturn

E

cute Christmas cat Ebisu – Shinto god of luck, wealth, and prosperity

Eiji – Eternity

Endo – Roadside

Enkai – Deep sea

Eryu – Dragon wisdom

F

Fuji – Unsurpassed

Fujin – Shinto wind god

Fuku – Lucky

Fumihiro – Large sentence

Fumio – Scholarly hero

G

Genkei – Honored

Giichi – One rule

Goku – Aware of emptiness

Goro – Fifth son

H

Hajime – Beginning

Haruto – Soar to heaven

Haya – Falcon

Hiroki – Vast timber trees

Hiroshi – Prosperous

Hiroto – Big flight

Hisa – Long life

Hisoka – Secret

Hitoshi – Motivated person

Homura – Fire

Honcho – Leader

I

Inoue – Above the well

Isamu – Vigorous

Ishii – Stone well

Issey – First-born son

Itachi – Weasel

Ito – String

Iwai – Celebration

Izanagi – First male, the god of creation

J

sleeping cat Jikai – Ocean of compassion

Jiro – Second son

Joben – Enjoys cleanliness

Judo – A martial art form

Junichi – Obedient first son

Juro – Tenth son

K

Kage – Shadow

Kaito – Between pear trees

Kakashi – Scarecrow

Kaname – Vital point

Kane – Gold

Kangiten – Buddist god of bliss

Katsu – Victory

Kazan – Fiery volcano

Kenichi – Strong, healthy first son

Kenshin – Modest

Kenta – Thick

Kichiro – Lucky son

Kitsune – A fox spirit

Kiyoshi – Purity

Koji – Little one

Kotaro – Plump

Kouta – Great peace

Kuebiko – Shinto god of knowledge and agriculture

Kunio – Countryman

M

cat drool Mamoru – Earth

Manzo – Third-born son

Masaru – Victory

Matsui – Pine

Michio – Man on a journey

Mitsuo – Shining hero

Mokusei – Jupiter

Mugen – Infinity

Myojo – Venus

N

Naoki – Tree of truth

Naruto – Maelstrom

Natsuo – Birth of summer

Nintendo – Leave luck to heaven

Nobu – Faith

O

Oki – Blue water

Osamu – Discipline

R

Raiden – Shinto thunder god

Reo – Wise gentleman

Riku – Clever tiger

Rikuto – Person of land

Ringo – Apple

Rokuro – Sixth son

Ryota – Great refreshment

Ryouichi – Clear one

Ryuunosuke – Noble herald

S

Sake – An alcoholic drink made from rice

Sanji – Praise

Sanjiro – Admired

Satoshi – Fast learner

Seiji – Lawful

Shimizu – Pure water

Shiro – White

Sho – To fly

Suijin – Shinto god of water

Sushi – A bite-sized Japanese food

Susumo – Advance

T

cat looking with eyes Tajimamori – Shinto god of sweets

Takeo – Strong as bamboo

Takumi – Artisan

Taro – Big boy

Tatsuo – Dragon Man

Tenjin – Shinto god of scholarship

Tetsu – Iron

Toshiro – Talented

Touma – Mountain top

Tousen – Otherworldly

Tsukikage – Moonbeam

Tsukiya – White moon

U

Umi – Sea

Unkan – Cloud valley

Usaku – Moonlit

Usui – Mortar well

W

Washi – Eagle

Wataru – Navigation

Y

Yamaha – Mountain Leaf

Yamato – Old Japan

Yami – Darkness

Yasu – Peace

Yoshi – Silent

Youta – Great sunlight

Yuji – Courageous second son

Yukio – Snow boy

Yuma – Calm truth

Yuuto – Gentle person

Z

Zinan – Second-born son

Female Japanese Cat Names

why do cats purr A

Ahmya – Black rain

Ai – Love

Aika – Love song

Aiko – Little love)

Aimi – Beloved

Airi – Jasmine flower

Aiya – Beautiful silk

Akane – Brilliant red

Akemi – Beautiful Sunrise

Akina – Spring flower

Akira – Bright and clear dawn

Amabie – A type of mermaid in Japanese mythology

Amaterasu – Shinto sun goddess

Amaya – Night rain

Ameonna – A female spirit that makes rain

Aneko – Older sister

Anzu – Apricot

Asami – Morning beauty

Asayo – Generation of the morning

Asuka– Fragrance or beautiful perfume

Aya – Colorful

Ayame – Iris

Azume – Safe space

B

Bankei – Ten thousand blessings

Bashira – Joyful

Benten – Buddist goddess of everything that flows

Bunko – Literary child

C

Ceiko – A splendid creature

Chia – Thousand loves

Chibi – Tiny

Chie – Wisdom

Chihiro – Thousand questions

Chika – Scattered flowers

Chinshu – Calm place

Chiyo – Thousand generations

Chizu – One thousand storks

Cho – Butterfly

Chorei – Transparent spirituality

D

chubby cat Dai – Great

E

Eiko – Eternal child

Emi – Blessed with beauty

Ena – Gift from God

Eri – Blessed gift

Eshima – True intention

Etsuko – Child of joy

F

Fumiko – Child of treasured beauty

Fuyuko – Winter child

G

Gen – Spring

Gina – Silvery

Gyo Shin – Heart of dawn

H

Haiku – A form of Japanese poetry

Hana – Flower

Hannya – A female demon

Hayami – Rare beauty

Hekima – Wisdom

Hikari – Radiance

Himari – Ball of light

Hina – Good vegetables

Hiromi –Abundant beauty

Hoshi – Star

Hotaru – Firefly

I

Ichika – One thousand flowers

Ima – Present

Ino – Wild boar

Iva – Yew tree

Iwa – Rock

Izanami – Shinto goddess of creation and death

J

Japana – Ambitious

Jin – Tenderness

Junko – Pure child

K

Kabuki – Japanese dance/drama

Kaiyo – Forgiveness

Kannon – Goddess of mercy

Kaori – Perfume

Kasumi – Mist

Keiko – Adored one

Kichi – Lucky

Kiko – Hope

Kimi – Righteous

Kohana – Small flower

Koko – Here

Koto – Beautiful harp

Kukurihime – Shinto goddess of meditation and negotiation

Kumi – Nine seas

Kura – House of treasure

Kyoko – Mirror

M

cat in blanket Mai – Brightness

Maiya – Rice valley

Mana – Affection

Megumi – Blessing

Midori – Green

Miki – Flower stem

Minako – Beautiful baby

Mio – Waterway

Momo – Peach

N

Nami – Surf

Nana – Green vegetables

Nara – Flower from heaven

Nari – Thunder

Nishi – West

Noriko – Child of law

Nozomi – Hope

O

Ohara – Small field

Orino – Worker’s field

R

Rei – Spirit

Reiko – Thankful child

Rini – Little bunny

Risa – Growing flowers at home

Ruri – Semi-precious stone

Ryoko – Bright child

Ryuji – Dragon child

Ryuk – Gift from God

S

Sachi – Blessed

Sachiko – Child of bliss

Sai – Intelligent

Sakura – Cherry blossom

Sango – Coral

Sara – Music

Sato – Sugar

Satome – Beautiful

Sen – Fairy of wood

Shinju – Pearl

Shion – Aster

Shiori – Poem

Suki – Beloved

Sunako – Dark side

Suzu – Bell

Suzume – Sparrow

T

Takara – Treasure

Takashi – Noble

Taki – Waterfall

Tamayo – Generation jewel

Tamiko–MeansA beautifulCreature

Taru – Barrel

Tatsu – Dragon

Tennin – An angelic being in Japanese Buddhism

Tora – Thunder

Tori – Bird

Tsuki – Moon

U

Ukemochi – Shinto goddess of food

Umeko – Plum blossom child

Umiko – Child of the sea

Utano – Field of songs

W

Wakana – Harmony

Wakumi – Spring of water

Y

cat Yasuko – Child of peace

Yoko – Positive

Yori – Public servant

Yoru – Dark

Yōsei – A fairy

Yuka – Friendly blossom

Yukari – Destiny

Yumi – Archery bow

Yuri – Lily

Yuriko – Lily child

Yuuna – Gentle

Z

Zakuro – Pomegranate

Zen – Peace

We know that you’re the type of pet owner who goes above and beyond to make sure that your cat has everything they need to remain happy and healthy (and cultured, clearly). That’s why we hope you’ll keep coming back to learn more about how to best care for your cat! We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.

Sources

  • https://web-japan.org/nipponia/nipponia26/en/animal/animal01.html
  • https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/japans-love-hate-relationship-with-cats-180975764/
  • https://fineartamerica.com/featured/3-cats-parody-of-kabuki-utagawa-kuniyoshi.html
  • https://lithub.com/on-sosekis-bitingly-critical-novel-i-am-a-cat/
  • https://japancraft.co.uk/blog/decoding-the-lucky-cat/
  • https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/beware-cat-tales-wicked-japanese-bakeneko-and-nekomata-part-1-004471
  • http://yabai.com/p/2318
  • https://www.rd.com/article/why-cats-afraid-of-cucumbers/

Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

cats and peanuts

cats peanuts Is there any bar food more satisfying than a bowl of lightly salted and peppered peanuts? Their crunchy texture pairs wonderfully with their smooth, creamy taste that delivers a satisfying, filling snack with each handful (or handfuls, if you’re like us).

That’s not even mentioning peanuts’ high concentrations of protein and healthy fats! With these facts in mind, they almost seem like a superfood that should be eaten whenever we can. But what about for our cats? If you’ve just popped open a can of new peanuts and the kitty is staring right at you, is your best course of action to offer a nibble or two? Or are you better off shelving the peanuts and trying to find some Friskies?

Can Cats Have Peanuts?

Rest assured: if you spill some peanuts on the floor and your pointy-eared buddy scoops some up, they’re probably going to be just fine. But just because cats can have peanuts doesn’t mean they should.

Are Peanuts Healthy for Cats to Eat?

It can be easy to assume our pets are able to enjoy many of the same benefits of eating some of our favorite foods, like peanuts (Pad Thai, anyone?). But, unfortunately, this is a misconception borne out of ignorance to our pets’ digestive systems. When we think about giving our cats peanuts, for example, our minds might quickly jump to thinking of them as an easy, protein-dense snack.

peanuts and cats While the high protein content of peanuts is undeniable, peanuts unfortunately contain the wrong kinds of proteins for our cat’s bellies. Unlike omnivorous dogs and humans, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their digestive systems are built to break down proteins that are derived exclusively from animal sources. And while peanuts are certainly rich in certain nutrients and amino acids that are essential for a healthy life such as taurine, Vitamin E and biotin, these same nutrients can be gained in higher concentrations from meat.

Perhaps even more important to discuss is peanuts’ high fat content. While cat food tends to already contain lots of fats, it’s best not to complement this with high-fat snacks like peanuts. Gary Richter, DVM and owner of Montclair Veterinary Hospital, agrees with this opinion, stating: “Nuts and nut butter are high in fat so, even if cats will eat it, it’s best not to give a lot.” If you’re looking to supplement your cat’s diet with fat-rich foods, consider giving them treats that contain high concentrations of essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and arachidonic acid.

It must also be stated that under no circumstances should you feed your cat peanuts which have been salted, seasoned, dipped, or flavored in any way. While certainly delicious, these accoutrements can seriously upset their tummy and cause a whole host of issues ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy, lack of appetite, and even disruption to the function of their kidneys, liver, and pancreas.

Are Peanuts Safe for Cats?

cats snuggling It seems like a funny question to even ask. When you hold a bunch of peanuts in your hand, it’s easy to think that these little legumes (that’s right, not nuts) couldn’t hurt anything. And you’d be right, for the most part: peanuts do not contain any compounds that are inherently toxic to cats.

However, just because eating peanuts doesn’t pose a guaranteed risk to cats doesn’t mean that they’re all that good for them, either. For starters, due to their small size and easily breakable form, peanuts may pose a choking hazard to cats if not properly chewed. Additionally, some of our furry friends can suffer from serious allergies to some foods, including peanuts.

Can Cats be Allergic to Peanuts?

Like with any food that they’ve been exposed to, cats can develop mild to severe allergies to peanuts at every stage of life. And, while legumes and nuts are not innately harmful to them, nut allergies are not uncommon in cats, either. The process by which a cat becomes allergic to foods is a rather unfortunate one, too.

When a cat eats something that they’re allergic to, like peanuts, her immune system will mistakenly recognize that food as harmful. Once this identification has been made, the immune system releases the immunoglobulin-E antibody to neutralize the allergen. From this point on, your cat’s immune system will begin releasing a concoction of chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream every time it encounters that food to mount a defense against the supposed threat. The result? A whole lot of uncomfortable symptoms.

What are the symptoms of peanut allergies in cats?

peanuts cats Unfortunately, trying to discern a food allergy from symptoms alone is something of a fool’s errand. For some cats with peanut allergies, they’ll only display mild skin irritation. For others, eating a few peanuts will only cause some minor gastrointestinal distress (and an unseemly litter box). For some truly unlucky kitties, they may present with both skin and gastrointestinal discomfort. Though the list below is by no means an exhaustive list, the most reported symptoms of peanut allergies in cats include:

  • Itching and scratching at their heads and neck
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Irritated ears and eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

However, there are also more than a dozen other reasons why your cat may be afflicted with these same symptoms. That’s part of what makes pinning down a food allergy in cats so frustrating: there’s just no easy way to test for it. If you suspect your cat has an allergy to peanuts, your best course of action is to take them to a veterinarian for an official diagnosis.

But, if you notice that your cat is developing skin infections, don’t fret! There’s a no-sting, no-odor, antibiotic product on the market that provides on-contact relief that lasts: Banixx Pet Care! Just liberally apply Banixx to the affected area two or three times every day and let it go to work. In no time at all your furball’s…skin should begin clearing up, allowing you the opportunity to get them to the vet for a proper diagnosis without having to see them in pain.

How are peanut allergies diagnosed in cats?

Currently, the most reliable test for uncovering and diagnosing food allergies in cats is a food trial. This test involves placing your cat on a special diet as prescribed by your veterinarian that contains very few ingredients. Depending on your cat’s medical history, this test may last from a few weeks to several months.

cute cats Typically, the prescribed diet will allow for a single protein, a single carbohydrate, and only necessary fats, vitamins and minerals. Your veterinarian will likely also recommend excluding all flavored medications and treats to ensure that the results are not affected. A food trial diet may take a variety of forms, with the two most common being a hydrolyzed-protein diet and a home-cooked novel protein diet.

A hydrolyzed-protein diet involves feeding your cat commercially available food with proteins that are so tiny that their immune system can’t recognize them and trigger an allergic reaction. A home-cooked novel protein diet, on the other hand, involves exclusively feeding your cat a form of protein which they’ve never encountered before.

If your cat’s symptoms drastically improve throughout the course of the trial diet, then it can be assumed that something in their old diet was to blame for their previous discomfort. However, the only way to be sure if that’s the case is to (you guessed it) slowly reintroduce old foods into their diet.

If Whiskers begins to feel like a million bucks after being on one of the above diets, but quickly suffers a relapse in symptoms after you let them crunch on some peanuts, then it’s safe to say that peanuts are a food they’re allergic to.

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

In the same vein of thought that cats technically can eat peanuts but probably shouldn’t, the same is true for cats and peanut butter. While certainly delicious (who doesn’t love Reese’s?) and nutritionally incredible, peanut butter may actually pose more potential problems for cats than their crunchy counterparts.

peanut butter As is the case with peanuts, it can be easy to fool ourselves into thinking that giving peanut butter to our kitties might pass on some of the health benefits that we love it for. However, this is a mistake. According to the University of Missouri Small Animal Clinical Nutrition Service: “The simplest and most convenient way to meet the nutrient requirements of a cat is to provide them with a complete and balanced commercial diet formulated by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist or an individual with a PhD in animal nutrition.” This means that, so long as your cat is already eating a balanced diet, there are no nutritional benefits for peanut butter to bestow.

Additionally, like peanuts, peanut butter is high in fat. Specifically, trans-fatty acids. The addition of these trans-fatty acids help to give peanut butter its beloved long shelf-life. However, these same fats are harmful to cats’ hearts. Peanut butter is also rich in sodium which, if consumed in high enough quantities, can cause your cat to present with symptoms such as excessive thirst, weakness, behavioral changes, and even seizures.

Then there is the calorie question to consider. Part of the reason that peanut butter is so cherished by body-builders and moms alike is because of its high caloric density. While this makes it a great, filling mid-day snack for us, this also makes it potentially harmful to give to your feline friends. Indoor cats are already prone to weight-gain, and feeding them something as calorie-dense as peanut butter may only exacerbate this issue. If they’re giving you the ole kitty-cat eyes to try and get a treat from you, consider feeding them something with fewer calories like small amounts of cooked fish or bite-sized carrots instead.

Plus, some peanut butter manufacturers have chosen to eschew adding sugar to their formulas in response to growing demands for low-sugar products. Instead of sugar, they’ve opted for xylitol: an artificial sweetener that is extremely toxic to all domesticated animals. So, if you even think about giving your purry pal a lick of peanut butter, make sure it’s the xylitol-free stuff.

Of course, as responsible pet parents, we know that you’ll look at the product labels before giving your furball anything to eat. That’s why we hope you’ll visit our cat page to learn more about how to keep your cat happy and healthy.

Sources

  • https://www.banixx.com/blog/how-much-wet-food-should-i-give-my-cat/https://www.aspca.org/news/why-cant-my-cat-be-vegan
  • https://www.rover.com/blog/can-cats-eat-peanut-butter/
  • https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/role-of-dietary-fatty-acids-in-dogs-cats/
  • https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/food-allergies
  • https://www.banixx.com/blog/cat-diarrhea-why-does-my-cat-have-diarrhea/
  • https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/food-allergies-in-cats
  • https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Selecting-the-Best-Food-for-your-Pet.pdf
  • https://wagwalking.com/cat/condition/excess-sodium-blood#symptoms
  • https://www.therescuevets.com/education-resources/cat-care-tips/can-cats-eat-peanut-butter/

DIY Dog Grooming at Home

Dog being combed

Tools and Tips for a Successful Grooming Session with Your Dog

Grooming your dog is important to your pet’s overall health. It is a great way to check for skin issues and an excellent means to bond with your pet. Try to brush your dog each day and longer once per week.

Combs and brushes to groom a dog

tools for a successful grooming session with your dog

Look for tangles or mats in the coat and external parasites such as fleas and ticks. Check the skin for flaking, sores and oily patches. When you inspect the coat or hair, be observant if there are layers of different textures. If so, your dog probably sheds. If it seems similar in texture or thickness throughout, then your dog probably does not shed.

Typical grooming tools include curry, slicker and combination brushes, shedding blade, combs and stripping combs, blunt-ended scissors, dog toenail clippers and rotary tools. Note: if you search for Dog grooming tools on the web, you will likely encounter many different ones. The tools listed here are the most common, easiest to use.

Brushing

Watch professional groomer from Win-Star Bed & Biscuit line brush a long-haired dog.
Video courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA – https://www.winstarbedandbiscuit.com/

For medium and large dogs, it is best to get eye level with the dog to brush. Smaller dogs can be put on a slip-free table. Never leave the dog unattended. Start brushing your dog where you normally pet him.

Brush in the direction the hair grows. Pay particular attention to your dog’s ears, armpits, tail, neck, and between the toes.

Grooming Dog with metal comb

German Shepherd being groomed with a metal comb

Regular brushing removes the undercoat or fluffy layer of hair under the topcoat of dogs that shed. Short-haired dogs that shed are best groomed with a soft bristled brush or a rubber glove or mitt. For dogs that do not shed, brushing removes tangles. This technique is called line brushing. Hold a section of hair with one hand and slowly brush the hair away in a straight line. When you encounter a mat, start at the outer edges, and gently work your way back through the mat.

You may be able to use your fingers to untangle the mat. If the mat is large or thick or your dog is sensitive, you may need to clip it. Use only blunt-end scissors so that you do not accidentally puncture your dog. Gently cut the mat in half, starting with the portion closest to your dog’s skin. Cut in a direction away from the skin. If your dog’s skin has an irritation or infection, use Banixx Pet Care Spray or Banixx Wound Care Cream to treat the skin issue. It is important to detect mats and deal with them in their early stages. Mats hold in moisture and warmth that provide a fertile environment for the development of a Hot Spot.

*Some professional groomers feel that a large percentage of hot spots begin with a simple matted hair issue.

Nail Trimming

Watch a dog Groomers clip a dog’s nails
Video courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA – https://www.winstarbedandbiscuit.com/

If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s toenails take her to your veterinarian or a reputable dog groomer. Even if you take your dog to a professional for nail trimming, inspect her feet regularly. She can pick up debris or cuts to her paws, splits or broken toenails. In-grown toenails will occur if not clipped frequently.

If you choose to trim your dog’s nails, you need nail clippers designed for dogs. An alternative to nail clippers is a Dremel tool.

Clip back or Dremel back to just before the “quick” or the blood supply to the toenail. If the quick is compromised, then the toenail will bleed, and cause pain. The quick is visible from the underside of the toenail on almost all toenails. On clear or white toenails, the quick can often be seen through the opaque toenail; it is red in color. Avoid cutting back to the quick. If the quick does bleed, put that toenail in some baking soda or corn starch to cause the blood to coagulate. You may need to apply mild pressure to stop the bleeding.

Cutting, Clipping and Shaving

If you are considering cutting, clip or shave your dog’s hair, it is best to take her to a reputable dog groomer for a couple of good reasons:

  • Pro dog groomer trimming dogs fur

    Professional Dog Groomer cutting a Yorkshire Terrier’s fur

    Dogs that shed should NOT be shaved. Dogs that shed have layers of different topcoats and undercoats. The undercoat serves as a layer of insulation which keeps warmth in and heat out. Dogs that shed and are shaved may remove her natural ability to regulate body temperature and natural insulation. Instead, a thorough brushing will have the coat and skin in healthy condition.

  • Dogs that do not shed need their hair shortened approximately every two months. If you choose to clip your dog, exercise caution! Go slowly and watch videos on proper clipping techniques so you do not accidentally clip your dog’s skin. If there is a cut or burn, immediately apply Banixx Pet Care Spray or Banixx Wound Care Cream for relief and healing on contact.

Bathing

The safest places to bathe your dog are the sink, tub, walk-in shower, wash stall in a barn, or with a hose hooked to a utility sink for temperature control. Use warm water for bathing your dog as cold water can affect his core body temperature and cause hypothermia or other problems, even on a hot day.

Bathing your dog in bath tub

Dog getting a bath

Choose shampoo formulated for pets, like Banixx Medicated Shampoo; avoid products made for humans or autos.

To keep water out of his ears and avoid infection, gently insert cotton balls and be sure to remove them after his bath, water in a dog’s ears may lead to an ear infection. Thoroughly wet your dog’s coat and be careful around his eyes, ears and mouth. Massage the shampoo into his coat and skin and rinse thoroughly.

Brush your dog often and bathe occasionally. Bathing can remove the natural oils from your dog’s coat and skin. In contrast, brushing stimulates the skin and brings the oils up, working them through the hair in a healthy fashion.

Drying

dog grooming blow drying

Dog getting dried

Dogs naturally shake off excess water while bathing. If indoors, hold a large bath towel over your dog while he shakes. It is best to use a blow dryer specifically for dogs but if you only have a personal one, make sure to run it on a low setting because the high heat can burn the dog’s skin. Air drying is the best option at an appropriate level for the season (when it’s not too cold or hot).

Before & After

Doodle dog dirty needs a bath and grooming

Doodle before bathing and grooming

Doodle dog after he was groomed

Doodle after a bath and grooming.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA – https://www.winstarbedandbiscuit.com/

 

 

 

Happy Grooming

Overall, take time to groom your dog and enjoy getting to know his or her preferences. If your dog is excitable and can’t relax, take it slowly and in shorter but more frequent intervals. In time, you and your dog will look forward to your daily sessions to bond and spend happy tail wagging time together!

We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or hot spots, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.