Equine Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medical treatment that dates back 2,000 years. It is a therapeutic method that uses stimulation of specific areas (points) on the horse’s body to promote balanced function and enhanced energy flow in your horse. Better balance and flow in your horse results in positive physiological changes.
Acupuncture points are locations on your horse that have special electrical and anatomical attributes. The points have lower electrical resistance and a higher electrical conductivity than the surrounding tissue. The points are found in areas of concentrated free nerve endings, small arteries, lymphatic vessels and mast cells.
Several stimulation techniques may be used to activate acupuncture points including needles, injection of the horse’s own blood or using other agents such as laser, electro-acupuncture and moxibustion. Moxibustion uses burned herb close to the acupuncture point or close to a needle at the point for stimulation.
How Does It Work?
The immense therapeutic results are achieved using a combination of mechanisms in the body. “A multimodal mechanism of action involving a cascade of events in the body” is the current description used to explain acupuncture. Participation from the nervous system, endocrine system and immune system are all required to achieve the desired physiological results.
How does it feel to the horse? Do the needles sting?? During acupuncture needle placement, many horses show subtle responses to the needle insertion at reactive points. The reactivity of the point varies in each patient and depends on the patient’s general sensitivity as well as the point. Some points are generally thought to be more reactive than others. Point reactivity is unique to the patient’s condition as was observed in our geriactric horse (see below). Once all the needles are placed, some horses relax, chew, body shake, yawn and/or sleep. Some horses experience a phenomenon called De-Chi translated as the “arrival of Chi.” Human patients describe this experience as tingling, warmth, pressure and so forth. Your horse may respond to similar sensations subtly or with bucking and excitement followed by licking/chewing and subsequently–a deep exhaling breath. Each patient is unique; the level of response may vary from horse to horse.
What Can It Be Used To Treat?
“… Acupuncture can directly and indirectly treat many equine disorders. Using TCVM (Traditional Chinese veterinary Medicine) theory, acupuncture is unique in its ability to aid in prevention of illness and disease. It is also a non-invasive therapy with few contraindications and low incidence of side-effects” says Dr Nikki Byrd DVM who is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA) and veterinary medical manipulation practitioner (CVMMP). “There are special considerations taken by veterinarians when selecting treatment points for a few conditions such as pregnancy. For example, some acupuncture points and point combinations are useful in inducing parturition, so those points would be avoided in early term pregnancy. A few of the most common uses of acupuncture in horses are:
Stress or anxiety
Stem cell release into circulation
Moreover, it’s a powerful adjunctive therapy in numerous illnesses and injuries to promote health and healing”
Acupuncture To Treat an Equine Sarcoid
Healing a Sarcoid with Acupuncture
Lyford presented as a healthy 10 year old Thoroughbred. All systems looked great apart from a suspected sarcoid on the inside of his right front knee. It precariously close to the cephalic vein and near the medial carpal joint (inside knee). Dr. Nikki Byrd DVM examined and treated with three treatments of acupuncture and a minor (one needle) follow up at conclusion over the course of two months. The sarcoid was approximately the size of a half dollar. See picture. Banixx spray was used am and pm to keep the area clean. The sarcoid “shed” or “peeled” after the second treatment revealing healthy pink tissue indicative of good blood flow and evidence of healing. During fly season Banixx Wound Care Cream protected the area. It acts like a medicated Band-aid and contains oil of peppermint that is a natural fly repellant.
As the treatments progressed, the sarcoid rapidly shrank. Two months later, hair was growing vigorously at the site, and the horse was pronounced healed. See picture. Today, there is absolutely no visible or tactile evidence of any Sarcoid.
Sarcoids do not commonly respond well to surgery. It seems to “disturb’ the adjacent tissue resulting in additional lesions and proliferation. Acupuncture is 100% non-invasive; it requires no “recovery time or stall rest and has no side effects. The “side effect” or additional benefit for this horse was improved jumping style!
Acupuncture To Aid a Geriatric Horse
Devlin presented as a 32 year old. quarter horse with chronic severe Recurrent Airway Obstruction (Heaves). Hydroxyzine and steroids had been administered for several months but were not providing a material improvement in his condition. Acupuncture was performed with the goal of improving his appetite, respiratory condition and overall quality of life. Acupuncture points were selected for his specific pattern (TCVM diagnosis) to support his respiratory system, nourish his constitution and support his geriatric condition. Dr Byrd commented ..”Measurable improvements were observed within one day despite Devlin’s age and advanced condition. His appetite doubled, interaction with his herd improved and his general demeanor was brighter.”
How To Find a Good Horse Acupuncturist?
Clearly, talking with your veterinarian about acupuncture is an excellent approach. If your veterinarian doesn’t offer acupuncture services, many general practitioners have excellent relationships with colleagues who can offer provide local referrals. Horse owners who cannot obtain referrals from their veterinarians can find a local CVA by searching online on the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society website [https://www.ivas.org/vets/] or on the Chi University website [https://www.tcvm.net/]. Both websites also offer additional information about acupuncture and its application in veterinary medicine.
Dr Nikki Byrd DVM,CVSA, CVMMP, Byrd Equine, is located in Fair Bluff, N.C. but she practices from Kentucky to Florida
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.
Imagine this: you’re scooping the litter box and you notice drops of blood mixed in with the typical clumps. Your eyes go wide. Your heart races a bit. You may even start to panic as you wonder about what this could mean for Whiskers and his health.
What’s even more alarming is how unalarmed your cat might be. While you’re sitting there panicking over what ultimately constitutes a medical emergency, your kitty might just be happy as can be, sunning themselves on their perch. So what does this mean? Should you worry if you find blood in your cat’s litter box? Should you wait and see?
Before we go any further, we feel the need to be right upfront about something: seeing blood in your cat’s urine should be enough to schedule a visit, sooner rather than later, with your vet. This is because blood in your cat’s urine can be due to a variety of issues, and you want to make sure you don’t leave anything serious undetected.
What is it Called When Cats Pee Blood?
When a cat’s urine contains traces of red blood cells, that cat can be diagnosed as having hematuria. When you can see flecks of black, brown, red, or pink in your cat’s urine with your naked eye, this is called gross hematuria (and we agree – it is gross). On the other hand, some forms of hematuria are only detectable with highly advanced equipment; this is called microscopic hematuria.
Causes of Blood in Cat Urine
It’s important to remember that blood in your cat’s urine is usually a symptom of an underlying condition, rather than being a condition in and of itself. But noticing bloody urine isn’t sufficient enough on its own to make a proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, a variety of diseases and conditions can cause your cat to pee blood. That means, once it’s noticed, blood in your cat’s urine must be taken seriously and investigated by a veterinarian.
Urinary Tract Infections Causing Blood in Cat Pee
Urinary tract infections arise after bacteria makes its way from the urethra up into the bladder. The microorganisms then begin to reproduce within the urine that’s stored inside, leading to inflammation of the bladder and downstream in the urethra. This inflammation causes spasms in your cat’s urethra and makes them feel the urge to pee more often. The inflammation can also cause irritation in the lining of your cat’s bladder and urethra which can result in mild bleeding.
Luckily, urinary tract infections are a relatively uncommon ailment for most cats. They tend to affect mostly senior cats who are more than ten years old and cats who suffer from diabetes. The presence of certain small bladder stones, called uroliths, may also increase your cat’s risk of developing a urinary tract infection and subsequent irritation of the lining of the organs that facilitate urination.
Pandora Syndrome Causing Blood in Cat Pee
Much more common than urinary tract infections is Pandora Syndrome, otherwise known as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis. Pandora Syndrome is the most common form of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which itself is a broad term used to describe a range of conditions that affect the lower portion of a cat’s lower urinary tract. As the name suggests, Pandora Syndrome has no easily identifiable single cause. Instead, it’s a term that’s used to describe varying degrees of inflammation of the bladder or urethra that may be caused by a number of different conditions.
It is important to note that Pandora Syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that it is only diagnosed once all other common or known causes of your cat’s symptoms have been eliminated. Unfortunately, Pandora Syndrome is often a chronic condition that waxes and wanes in severity, making it a very frustrating disorder for cats, pet owners, and veterinarians alike.
Physical Obstructions in the Urinary System Causing Blood in Cat Pee
Mostly seen in male cats (though not exclusive to them by any means), urinary obstructions are a self-explanatory condition: it’s when something is literally preventing your cat from being able to effectively empty their bladder. Like with many diseases related to the urinary system, urinary obstructions can come from a variety of underlying issues including swelling caused by inflammation in the urinary tract, urethral plugs, urethral or bladder stones, urinary strictures, or even tumors.
However, make no mistake: a urinary obstruction is a life-threatening emergency that must be taken care of immediately. A cat with an untreated urinary obstruction is at significant risk of mortality as being unable to pee causes a buildup of urine within the kidneys. This buildup of waste products in the kidneys leads to kidney failure which can kill you cat. If you notice your cat is really straining to pee and only produces a little blood instead of…well, pee, take them to a vet immediately.
Bladder or Urethral Stones Causing Blood in Cat Pee
Stones can develop anywhere along a cat’s urinary tract but will most often form in their bladder or urethra. Stones form via the accumulation of minerals, crystals and other natural substances within an organ. Once they compact and form into a stone, these pesky little things may start rubbing against the walls of the bladder or urethra. As the stones move around in the bladder or down through the urethra, they can cause inflammation, irritation, and eventually bleeding.
Some cats who are afflicted by bladder or urethral stones may have blood continually appear and disappear in their urine. This can make it especially hard for their owners to know if something is wrong and whether or not their cat requires veterinary attention.
Malignant Kidney Neoplasm Causing Blood in Cat Pee
Neoplasia is a catch-all term to describe a number of different abnormal growths that can occur in cats. These growths, caused by an uncontrolled division of cells, live longer and divide faster than normal cells. Neoplasms can be either benign or malignant, though it’s common to see the terms neoplasia, tumor, and cancer used interchangeably. The key difference between benign and malignant neoplasms is that benign neoplasms do not invade normal tissue, while malignant neoplasms destroy the tissue around them.
Neoplasms can occur anywhere in the body, and can even spread to distant regions (also known as metastases). When a neoplasm forms in a cat’s kidneys, it can cause a sudden and sharp reduction in kidney function. After it first forms, its blood vessels are fragile and may begin to lightly bleed. As it grows and invades surrounding tissues, it may grow into nearby blood vessels and the bleeding may worsen. This blood will work its way down from the kidneys into the bladder, where it will mix with urine being produced. Besides causing blood to appear in the urine, malignant neoplasms can also cause weight loss, difficulty breathing, loss of stamina, listlessness, and a loss of appetite.
How is Blood in Cat Urine Diagnosed?
The first step in obtaining a diagnosis for why your cat is peeing blood is a complete physical examination. During this procedure, your vet will examine your cat’s belly, listen to their heart and lungs, and inspect their genitals and urethra. They may also check for any physical abnormalities like bumps or tumors. The physical exam will also clue your vet into your cat’s body condition score and physical fitness levels.
After the physical exam concludes, your vet will ask you a series of questions aimed at better understanding of your cat’s complete medical history, home life, and stress levels. The reason for this is that, like all animals, cats can respond psychosomatically to external stressors. If something at home is causing them to feel anxious, their stress can physically manifest itself in the form of urinary troubles.
Next, your vet may order a series of labs or tests to gain deeper insight into what could be causing blood to appear in your cat’s urine. These might include a urinalysis, urine culture, complete blood count (CBC), and imaging.
Urinalysis is a lab that’s used to discover if any crystals, bacteria, red blood cells, white blood cells, cancer cells, or even sugar are present in your cat’s urine. Likewise, your vet can use urine culture tests to uncover bacteria in your cat’s urine if they suspect that a bacterial infection is to blame for any blood in your cat’s pee. They may also conduct a complete blood count with a chemistry profile to gauge how well your cat’s organs are working and to detect signs of heart disease, immune system disorders, or other medical conditions that might cause bloody pee.
Imaging tests like x-rays or abdominal ultrasounds can also reveal whether bladder or urethral stones or neoplasms are to blame. Even if growths or tumors aren’t the cause, these imaging tests can still be useful in detecting the presence and severity of inflammation in organs involved in urination.
How is Blood in Cat Urine Treated?
The exact plan that will be prescribed to treat blood in your cat’s urine will be entirely dependent on what the underlying condition is. There is a broad spectrum of treatments that may be recommended, and they vary greatly in intensity. For example, a simple course of antibiotics might be prescribed if a bacterial infection is determined to be the cause of your cat’s bloody urine.
However, something like a urethral blockage will necessitate surgery in order to properly correct the issue. On the other hand, some severe-sounding conditions like bladder or urethral stones may be resolved with a special prescription food or medication that can dissolve the stones if they’re small enough. Larger stones, however, may still require surgical removal.
If a neoplasm is found to be the cause, your veterinarian will likely request to take a biopsy of the site to determine whether or not it is cancerous. If it’s determined to be benign, they will likely want to monitor the area for the foreseeable future so they can detect and react to any changes as they occur. If the site is cancerous, treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or palliative care.
Idiopathic causes for bloody urine like Pandora Syndrome, as well as generalized urinary disorders like Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, will likely yield a treatment plan focused on comfort management and lifestyle modification. Your vet may prescribe pain medication to deal with any discomfort caused by inflammation or irritation. They may also recommend using feline pheromone diffusers to aid with relaxation and minimize the chance for your cat to feel stressed in your household (cats are literally so self-absorbed that they calm down when they smell other cats, isn’t that funny?).
How to Care For Your Cat with Hematuria at Home
Once you’re back from the vet’s office, you’ll want to closely monitor your cat for the next couple of weeks. Keep them inside where you can keep an eye on them, and make sure that they’re eating properly and drinking plenty of fluids. Additionally, keep them on schedule with any medications that they’re prescribed. If the medication is an antibiotic, remember to make them finish the entire course regardless of whether or not they appear to be getting better.
There are a number of environmental and routine changes that you might want to consider to limit your cat’s stress and to aid your cat’s recovery. For starters, make sure that your cat has plenty of choices in where they rest, play, drink water, eat, use the restroom, and sleep. This will minimize the chance that they come into conflict with other cats they live with. Likewise, be sure to provide adequate litter box space (conventional wisdom dictates that you have one for every cat you have, plus one) and clean them daily.
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating anyway: proper hydration is key in preventing urinary problems. Consider getting a circulating water fountain to encourage your cat to drink more water. And, if you haven’t already, you might want to think about switching your cat over to wet food. Not only will they appreciate the scrumptious treat, but these watery, canned delights can help prevent the formation of crystals that would develop into stones. Moreover, make sure to give your cat wet food that is formulated for their specific life stage to ensure they get all of the essential nutrients and vitamins they need.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that seeing blood in your cat’s urine is never a symptom to dismiss. Even if your cat is otherwise behaving just fine, you need to take them to a veterinarian. Cats are masters at hiding things that are wrong until it’s too late. Taking the time to rule out potential, treatable diseases can save your cat’s life and give you many years of great cat cuddles together!
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. For more information on how to keep your cat happy and healthy, head on over to our cat page.
As cat owners, it can be difficult to remember that our beloved furballs have roots in the wild. Way back when, cats used to have to exclusively hunt for their food. As competition developed between them, cats eventually learned that they could claim hunting territory by marking surfaces with their urine.
While we can appreciate the genius of this idea, it gets remarkably less cool when it starts happening in our houses. We don’t know about you, but we want to minimize the amount of cat pee we have to smell at any given point in time. So, when you realize that Whiskers is spraying all over your furniture, what are you supposed to do?
What is Cat Spraying?
Before trying to understand why cats spray or how to stop spraying, you first need to ask whether or not your cat is actually spraying or just urinating. It seems like a silly distinction (they’re both pee, after all) but it’s an important one to make because a cat spraying problem has distinct causes that dictate how it should be treated.
Spraying is when a cat ejects a small amount of urine onto a vertical surface, such as a wall, table leg, couch, curtains, or other areas of your household. When a cat decides to spray, they’ll stand up, raise their tail, shake, back up, and spray the targeted surface. They may even happily rub the surface with their behinds if they’re feeling extra spry. Hoo-ray! 😑
This is different from regular urination, which is when the cat squats down in a selected area and voids their bladder with a steady, constant stream of urine.
Why Do Cats Spray?
There are several things that might cause a cat to spray. These range from spraying to exert territorial control, to using spraying as a communication method, or is the result of an underlying medical condition that induces spraying. Regardless of what is causing it, getting to the root of the issue is the first step in effectively stopping the behavior from continuing.
Cat Spraying as a Form of Territorial Control
Any cat lover knows that, while adorable, cats are control freaks. They find all sorts of little, loveable ways to show you that they’re in charge. But having such large desires for control means that cats don’t have an innate mechanism to handle face-to-face disputes with other cats in their vicinity.
Accordingly, what do they do when they feel conflict or anxiety caused by the presence of other cats? They may deal with it by staying as far apart from one another as possible! And, instead of running the risk of being caught in a potentially dangerous cat fight, cats may communicate indirectly with one another via messages– written in urine – which is pretty catty behavior, honestly.
By marking a surface in urine, a cat can communicate to other cats nearby that the marked area/surface is theirs, it’s been theirs for X amount of time, and this is when nearby cats can expect to see them again. In essence, it’s like a much smellier way of puffing out their adorable little chests to competing cats in the house or neighborhood.
Cat Spraying as a Form of Communication
Cats aren’t limited to only being able to communicate territorial feelings through their pee. Some cats may begin spraying as a response to the introduction of any number of environmental stressors. Environmental stressors that can induce spraying include: a new animal in the home; a change to your working hours; boredom with its feeding or playing regimen; construction going on in or outside; or they may just feel generally stressed out! But, when environmental stressors are the cause, the cat who’s spraying isn’t trying to communicate with other cats; they’re trying to communicate with you! in other words, they are trying to get the attention of the human who can actually help them change up their environment! Of course, we’d probably prefer that they would just meow differently. But —that’s just us.
Additionally, cats can use urine spraying to indicate to other cats that they’re looking for a mate. How very romantic! The distinctive and acrid odor of adult male cat urine tells any potential lovers nearby “Hey! I’m looking for a good time!”. After taking a good whiff, an adult female cat will be able to identify that scent on the sprayer’s body and decide whether or not they want to participate/mate.
Cat Spraying Caused by Medical Conditions
As one can imagine, any medical conditions that might cause a cat to spray are likely to concern the organs that facilitate urination; namely the bladder and the urinary tract.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases That Can Cause Spraying
A very common medical condition that can cause cat spraying is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This is a broad term that’s used to describe a number of urinary tract disorders and conditions that affect the urinary organs.
Besides spraying, cats who have any disorder related to FLUTD may present the following symptoms:
Difficulty or pain while urinating
Straining while urinating
Increased frequency of urination
Urinating in small amounts
Crying out in pain while urinating
Excessive licking of the genitals
Bloody or cloudy urine
Urinating in odd places such as on the floor or on furniture
Irritability (more so than usual)
Hard, distended abdomen
Idiopathic Cystitis in Cats
The most common form of FLUTD is idiopathic cat cystitis, which is a diagnosis of exclusion used to describe generalized inflammation of the bladder. The name idiopathic indicates that this condition can arise spontaneously and without any singular, traceable cause. This is partially because any number of inflammatory conditions affecting a cat’s urinary tract or bladder can produce the same symptoms. Oftentimes, young and old cats are affected by idiopathic cystitis as a psychosomatic response to being unable to handle stress rather than as a result of underlying medical troubles. Unfortunately, idiopathic cystitis is often a recurring problem for cats, which makes it a very frustrating condition for the pet, owner, and veterinarian alike.
Bladder Stones in Cats
Cats who suffer from bladder stones may also begin spraying. Bladder stones are small deposits of minerals, crystals and other substances that build up in your cat’s bladder. After accumulating, these materials can begin to rub against their bladder walls and cause inflammation. Over time, this inflammation can cause immense discomfort which can force your cat to adjust their urinary behavior, resulting in spraying.
Some unlucky cats with this form of FLUTD may even have proteins and blood leak from their inflamed bladder and accumulate in their urethra, resulting in a blockage. These blockages prevent them from peeing altogether and present a life-threatening complication which must be treated immediately by a vet.
Urinary Tract Infections in Cats
Typically affecting senior cats who are more than ten years old and diabetic cats, urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that makes its way up the urethra and into the bladder. Once inside the bladder, these microorganisms begin to interact with and reproduce inside of the urine that’s stored in the bladder, causing infection and inflammation. The presence of certain small bladder stones, called uroliths, may increase the risk of your cat developing a urinary tract infection. Besides being uncomfortable for your kitty, the resulting infection can also induce spraying.
How to Stop Cat Spraying
In order to effectively stop your cat from spraying, you’ll need to first determine what’s causing them to spray in the first place.
Neutering Your Cat to Stop Spraying
First things first: if you haven’t already done so, get your cat neutered. The earlier the better. While urine marking isn’t a behavior that’s exclusive to unneutered male cats, they have the most (romantic) reason to engage in the behavior of all their feline counterparts. By removing the romantic reason why your cat might spray urine via neutering your male cat – you cut down on the likelihood of the behavior ever even occurring. Makes pretty good sense, right?
Getting Medical Conditions Treated to Stop Cat Spraying
If your cat is already neutered, the next step is to determine if there are any medical conditions that may be causing your cat to spray. If you suspect that a disorder affecting the urinary tract, the bladder, or kidney may be to blame, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Once you’re at the vet’s office, they’ll likely begin by conducting a full physical exam. The purpose of this exam is to check for any abnormalities on their body function, as well as to determine their body condition score and physical fitness.
After the physical exam is complete, your vet may order a series of tests or labs such as a urinalysis, urine culture, complete blood count (CBC), or imaging tests. A urinalysis will be used to uncover crystals, bacteria, or blood that are present in the urine. A urine culture, on the other hand, will expose specific bacteria that may be infecting your cat’s urinary tract or bladder. A complete blood count will tell your vet how well your cat’s organs are functioning and help them determine if they’re likely to be suffering from diseases such as chronic kidney disease or diabetes. Imaging provided by procedures such as X-rays or ultrasounds can provide critical insight into whether blockages in the kidney, bladder, or urethra are causing the problem.
If an underlying medical condition is determined to be the cause of your cat’s spraying, your vet will craft a specific treatment plan aimed at eliminating the condition. The kinds of treatments that may be recommended depend entirely on what the cause is determined to be. Potential treatments may range from something as simple as an antibiotic course to treat a urinary tract infection all the way to surgery for urethral blockages. Additionally, your veterinarian may recommend certain diet or lifestyle changes, such as exercising or going on a special low-calcium diet, to limit the potential for recurring urinary or bladder irritation. Many cat foods are especially formulated to deal with cats that are prone to various FLUTD conditions.
Other Methods to Stop Cat Spraying
If no medical condition is determined to be the cause of your cat’s spraying, then environmental conditions and external stressors must be considered. If your cat has already begun spraying, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize the chance of recurrence.
The first step is to keep your cat as far away as possible from the area they sprayed on. Next, you’ll want to vigorously clean the area using a quality enzymatic, bio-based cleaner to eliminate leftover urine from the space. And don’t be afraid to really get in there and scrub. You don’t want to leave a single trace of urine for your cat to sniff out. If they catch a whiff of the spot, they may be encouraged to spray there again. But do remember: do not use ammonia-based cleaners. Urine is partially composed of ammonia, so using an ammonia-based cleaner may instead attract more attention to a spot instead of deterring a cat.
On the subject of cleaning, be sure to keep your cats’ litter boxes sparkling clean. In the words of Dr. Cathy Lund of River Valley Veterinary Services, you should “make the litter box like the Ritz Carlton”. (PetMD) This is because a dirty or unkempt litter box can make it an unattractive spot for your cat to do their business. This then causes them to seek out other areas to do their business – such as your curtains, couch, dirty laundry, your bed and more!
After cleaning the sprayed surfaces and tidying up your litter box, you’ll need to determine if your cat is anxious due to other cats in the house or animals outside.
If the latter, close the blinds or shades to reduce the chance of your cat seeing other animals. If the problem persists, you may have to move your cat’s perching areas away from the window (though we know she’ll miss the view). Also, if you notice another cat mozying into your yard from time to time, shoo it away and out of your yard. If you recognize it as a neighbor’s cat, diplomatically let them know that their cat is causing your cat to feel anxious.
If your other cats are causing one of their siblings to spray, you should aim to minimize the chance for conflict between them. In general, the mantra of “More cats, More space” is a good rule-of-thumb to follow.
For example, if there are too few litter boxes for each cat to use, this may cause silent conflict which can lead to spraying. Make sure to have one litter box in your house for each cat you have, plus one more. Be sure to place any additional litter boxes in spots by where the marking cat spends the majority of his time. It’s also a really good idea to place the litter boxes away from food bowls, water dishes, or other areas that might spark territorial behavior.
In that same vein, making multiple perching areas available ensures that all your cats have their own spaces to rest. Cats also should also have multiple sources of food, water, and things to keep their minds busy like toys or scratch posts with a little catnip sprinkled on it from time to time, as well as multiple ways to access them. Moreover, don’t forget to spread the love! Each of your kitties craves a certain amount of affection and attention from you. Lay the snuggles on thick with your cuddliest cats and give your more aloof buddies some good head scratches. And play with them, too! My cat loves to play hide-and-seek with me—honestly!
Finally, if your cat’s spraying is caused by general anxiety, you may want to consider bolstering all of the efforts above with an anti-anxiety medication treatment plan. You may, with your vet’s help, want to administer supplements such as L-theanine, whey protein, or colostrum to calm your cat’s nerves. It’s also been shown that spraying certain pheromones within your cat’s living spaces may help them feel safer and more secure. Pheromones are a variety of a chemical communication between members of a particular species. The vomeronasal organ, found between your cat’s nose and mouth, receives pheromones. Jacqui Neilson, DVM, DACVB, owner of the Animal Behavior Clinic (Portland, OR) says “certain pheromones, called calming or appeasing pheromones, can sometimes help relieve stressed pets. Pet pheromone products are said to mimic natural cat or dog pheromones and come in various forms, including sprays, plug-in diffusers, wipes, and collars.”. These are just some ideas; be sure to involve your Vet in any of these treatment options.
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.
When we think of horses, we imagine large and powerful animals that are awe inspiring in their resilience and their endurance.
Heck, we call individuals who are always plowing ahead with their goals “work horses”. It might seem natural to assume horses are a sort of super animal that can always bear more and more weight without issue.
This assumption, however, is wrong. Each horse has their own upper limit to how much weight they should ever be expected to carry and you, as their owner, need to be able to recognize what that level is and when they’ve reached it.
Why Should We Limit How Much Weight Horses Carry?
Like humans, horses (and their bodies) react negatively to being put under too much pressure or weight. Horses who carry more weight than they can comfortably handle can be faced with a number of short- and long-term consequences including rub-sores from the saddle, strained and/or inflamed muscles, pinched nerves, swayback, or even arthritis. A horse tasked with suddenly carrying lots of weight can also quickly begin to feel uncomfortable and forget its training, which can be a potentially dangerous situation for the horse and her rider.
The secondary health effects that too much added weight has on your horse can be significant. Researchers at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona found that horses who trotted on a flat-surfaced treadmill at different speeds – 5.05 miles per hour, 7.4 miles per hour, or 10 miles per hour – with weights on that were equivalent to 19% of their bodyweight displayed an average increase in metabolic rate of 17.6% at all speeds. Over time, this increase in metabolism in response to increased weight burden can lead to a need for increased calories and nutrition.
Those same researchers found that horses bearing a load equivalent to 19% of their bodyweight moved an average of 6% slower than they did without weights added. They also found that the same load weight caused horses to shorten their strides, leave their feet on the ground for longer, and increase their step length with each stride. Horses are forced to make these adjustments to reduce the impact of forces on their individual limbs throughout their gait, which can cause damage in the form of microfractures over time.
The researchers also noted the magnitude of forces applied to a horse’s individual limbs during the heavy-weight portion of the study were significantly higher than the observed magnitude of forces at the lower weight and no weight portion. This could indicate that, even with proper adjustment, a horse’s body can still be at risk of developing some forms of microdamage from carrying too much added weight. Likewise, a 2008 study completed by Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute found that horses who carried more than 20% of their body weight displayed noticeably faster breathing and higher heart rates during the study, as well as substantially tighter muscles the day after, than horses who carried lighter loads.
In short, we ought to limit the amount of weight a horse can carry so we can keep them comfortably riding and working for as long as possible.
How Much Weight Can Horses Carry?
As with most questions regarding the health and safety of our hoofed partners, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of “How much weight can a horse carry?”. In reality, determining the ideal amount of weight for your horse to carry depends on a variety of factors.
That being said, a generally accepted rule of thumb is that a horse’s weight-carrying capacity should never be greater than approximately 20% of their bodyweight. This means that a 1,000 pound horse, for example, should never be expected to bear more than 200 pounds of weight on their back.
What Affects How Much Weight a Horse Can Carry?
There is a combination of many variables that determine how much weight a horse will be able to comfortably carry.
Conformation is the horse’s outline as dictated by its bone and muscle structure. More specifically, a horse’s conformation is determined by the length of its bones, the angles of its joints, and the overall proportions and balance of its build. Researchers have found that horses with greater loin width and cannon bone (CB) circumference had a higher weight carrying capacity on average than horses with lower loin widths and CB circumference.
In their research, they compared the carrying capacity of Icelandic horses and Arabian horses. They found that Icelandic horses, with their compact build and thick cannon bones, were able to work aerobically up until they carried more than 23% of their body weight. As a result of their increased ability to use reserved energy and oxygen, the Icelandic horses displayed lower levels of lactic acid buildup.
This led to less muscle soreness and fatigue than that displayed by the lankier Arabian horses, who could not work aerobically when carrying up to 20% of their body weight. They concluded that horses with short, well-muscled backs and thick cannon bones were more likely to be able to capably carry weight that amounted to more than 20% of their body weight than horses with narrow backs or smaller cannon bones.
Dr. Deb Bennett, an equine anatomist and conformation analyst, has even provided her conformation “wish-list” for weight bearing to Path International. This list attempts to outline what traits a horse should have to comfortably and safely bear additional weight. It reads as follows:
An excellent loin coupling (the span from the last rib to the hip) – broad, short, smooth, and strong, yet flexible for rounding up the back in order to oppose and neutralize the weight of the rider.
The circumference about the loin and groin should be about the same as the heart-girth;
A short to medium-length back;
A bone-tendon circumference (measured just below the knee) of 8 inches or more per 1000 lbs. of weight. The heavier the horse (or horse + rider + tack) the more bone density the horse needs in order to stay sound;
A neck set high on the shoulder, with a shallow vertebral curve at the base of the neck;
Moderately high withers, with a peak that lies well behind the horse’s elbows;
A pelvis that constitutes at least 30% of the body length and slopes from 18-22 degrees;
A total body weight of less than 1,450 pounds (658 kg).
General Health and Fitness
Generally speaking, healthier horses are more capable of carrying additional weight than horses who are unhealthy. Unfit or unbalanced horses often lack the strength or agility to adequately lift their back and support additional weight while simultaneously maintaining balance. Horses who are obese (defined as having a body condition score of over 8) may even struggle to carry up to the recommended weight limit of 20% of their body weight. In fact, a study of 366 horses concluded that body condition score was more important in determining whether or not a horse could finish their assigned task than the weight of its rider and tack.
Horses with more developed and muscular toplines are less likely to exhibit signs of muscle soreness or tightness after carrying weight. Using the guidelines prepared by a research team at the Cargill Animal Nutrition Innovation Center, we can define a horse with an ideal topline as displaying a full and rounded athletic appearance without any sunken-in areas. The Horse Feed Blog has more information on how to evaluate your horse’s topline.
A number of physical ailments and disorders can reduce a horse’s total weight carrying capacity. Horses who have a history of chronic lameness or musculoskeletal issues (especially those involving the back) should never be expected to carry as much weight as a healthy horse. Horses who have been out of work for an extended period of time or who have had insufficient conditioning will have a harder time carrying weight than horses that are continuously active.
Very young and very old horses will also be less able to comfortably carry additional weight than their mature, more athletic counterparts. This makes sense, as young horses’ bones are still developing. On the other hand, older horses have a lifetime of work and play behind them, which can make their bones a bit more fragile or even arthritic, both of which can make them susceptible to damage from added weight. Old horses may also have issues with balancing effectively, so it’s important to go easy on them.
The health of a horse’s hoof cannot be understated when it comes to determining how much weight they can carry. Without healthy hooves, a horse can’t carry anything – not even itself! Be sure to continually check your horse’s hooves for signs of any injury, infection, or abscesses. If you notice signs of any of the above, schedule a visit with your farrier or equine veterinarian right away.
If you notice evidence of certain fungal or bacterial infection like white line disease in your horse’s hoof, don’t horse around! Act quickly and apply Banixx to the affected area to disinfect it and provide instant no-sting, no-odor relief that’s free from steroids or anti-biotics. Then, remember to follow up with your local farrier to evaluate and treat the underlying cause for infection.
Horses should have their hooves routinely trimmed to ensure that they’re walking on a balanced, flat surface at all times. If your horse seems to constantly wear down their his hooves, consider asking a quality farrier to craft protective shoes or boots.
When looking for a farrier, you want to choose someone who understands the necessity of minimizing unnecessary stress on your horse’s joints and who will keep your horse’s hooves properly trimmed and cared for. The more well-cared-for your horse’s hooves, the better chance they have at being able to safely and comfortably carry additional weight for longer periods of time.
Rider and Horse Experience
While this may seem less important than, say, rider weight, it’s worth remembering just how heavy and awkward an inexperienced rider can feel to a horse. New riders often don’t know how to carry their own weight and this leaves the horse confused as to how to effectively compensate. As a result of the added work they must do to keep the rider on top, the horse may quickly fatigue and become unable to comfortably continue carrying the added weight.
However, as riders get more experience, they grow to understand how to effectively shift and balance their weight once they’re in motion. Until they learn how to do this, they’re about as graceful and light on a horse’s back as a sack of potatoes.
Likewise, a horse that doesn’t have much experience with riders or extra loads on their back should be given lighter weights to start out with. They need time to develop the muscles on their back that allow them to comfortably carry riders or extra weight.
Type and Intensity of Work
The type and intensity level of the work you expect your horse to do both play into how much weight you should expect them to be able to carry. For example, racehorses should only be expected to hold very lightweight saddles and an experienced jockey who moves in motion with the horse in order to reduce drag or feelings of unnecessary weight on their back.
Certain types of workhorses, however, are often perfectly capable of bearing near 20% of their body weight for short periods of time. However, you should aim to keep their loads relatively light if you’re going to work them constantly. Even for the beefiest horses, extended heavy load bearing can still result in negative health consequences down the line.
Additionally, horses that work on rough terrain or are required to complete their work at increased speeds will likely be able to carry less weight. In other words, don’t make a horse’s work harder than it needs to be. That makes sense, right? Would you want to help someone move apartments if they required you wear ankle weights and run the whole time? Probably not!
How Can I Tell My Horse is Carrying Too Much Weight?
Luckily, our horses’ bodies will give us several indicators that they’re probably carrying too much weight for it to be comfortable or safe. For example, horses who are carrying too much weight may have a much faster heart beat after they’ve completed work or a ride.
Horses who are carrying too much weight may also display an unusual degree of muscle soreness, tightness, or stiffness a few hours after they carried the load. Horses who bear heavy weight might begin to breathe very rapidly or sweat more after the fact. In some cases, horses may begin to show signs of fatigue such as lethargy, panting, or loss of muscle coordination. In these instances, the horse may literally become incapable of continuing their task.
If your horse begins displaying any of the above symptoms while working or carrying a rider, immediately unpack some of their load or have the rider dismount and see if their symptoms improve. If they do, then the added weight is likely the culprit. If their symptoms do not improve, they may be the result of an underlying condition that should be examined by an equine veterinarian.
We know that you just want to keep your horse happy and healthy. 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.
With temperatures outside beginning to steadily drop, we know better than anyone that the best antidote to wintertime chills is to pour some coffee, find a good book, and snuggle up with our cats for a purr-fect day inside.
But while you’re thrilled to have Puss inside with you providing much-needed kitty love, you may realize one day that you’re spending a lot more time scooping litter than normal.
And if you notice that they’re either at the litter box or coming back from the litter box every time you see them, you may find yourself wondering: “What the heck is going on?! Why is my cat peeing so much?!”
But, before we answer that question, we have to attempt to answer one thing first: how much is too much?
How Much Pee Should Cats Produce?
It’s an odd thing to consider, but every living thing with a bladder has a “normal” amount of urine that they produce in a given day. When an organism produces more urine than normal, this is called polyuria.
But how much urine should a cat be producing in a single day, anyway?
Well, according to a study conducted by Dr. Delmar R. Finco at the University of Georgia’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, the average cat produces somewhere between 10 and 20 milliliters per kilogram of body weight in a 24 hour period.
This is a little less than the amount proposed by conventional wisdom, which states that cats produce an average of 28 milliliters per kilogram of bodyweight every 24 hours. Using these figures, this means that a 10 pound cat should produce roughly between a quarter-cup and a half-cup of urine per day.
How Often Should Cats Pee?
However, unlike when we evaluate the amount of urine a cat should produce, there’s not necessarily a “normal” amount of times a cat should excuse themselves to go use the “little kitten’s room”.
The amount of water they tend to drink, the average amount of wet food they consume, the heat and humidity of the climate they live in, their size, their age, and so many other factors influence the average frequency with which they’ll tinkle.
With that in mind, it’s important for pet owners to have a rough idea of both how much their cat tends to drink in a day and how often they use their litter box. This is because you want to be able to quickly pick up on changes to your cat’s thirst patterns and subsequent urinary habits, as changes in either can be indicative of more serious underlying health concerns.
How To Measure a Cat’s Daily Water Intake
Measuring your cat’s daily water intake can offer clues as to whether or not they’re experiencing a sharp increase in thirst levels, otherwise known as polydipsia. For cats who drink from bowls, this can be done easily.
Pour a standard cup of water from a measuring cup (equivalent to roughly 237 millimeters) into their water dish at the beginning of the day. At the end of the day, pour the remaining water from their dish back into the measuring cup. You’ll want to see that your cat has consumed between 20 and 30 milliliters of water per pound of body weight throughout the day. Remember that the key word here is “consume” and not “drink”. Your cat is capable of filling their daily water intake needs through other sources such as wet food. Using the numbers above, a cat who weighs eight pounds may drink the entire cup of water throughout the day or leave up to one-third of it remaining, depending on if they got adequate hydration from other sources.
For cats who prefer to drink their water from running sources like a spigot, measuring their daily water intake becomes a bit more challenging. You may have to rely on just keeping an eye on them throughout the day and trying to compare how often they’re drinking from the tap against how often they’d normally do that. If it seems like they’re climbing up to the kitchen counter every time you look at them, they may be over-hydrating and there may be an underlying cause.
How to Measure a Cat’s Daily Urine Production
Measuring your cat’s daily urine production relies less on precise measurement and more on your familiarity with your cat’s average urine clumps in their litter box. Next time you go to scoop your cat’s litter, you’ll want to evaluate all the…. stuff that they left you (yuck) for size, weight, and number.
If any of these factors present in significantly different ways than you’d expect – such as the clumps feeling much heavier than normal, there being less clumps than normal, etc – this may indicate that there have been changes to how much urine your cat is producing.
What Medical Conditions Cause Excessive Urination in Cats?
Just like with humans, the amount that cats pee and the frequency with which they pee can be affected by a variety of health conditions or disorders. In most instances, excessive urination in cats is a product of their body having a difficult time regulating urine formation and expulsion. This can be caused by a number of medical conditions that range in severity and seriousness.
For some cats, excessive urination is caused by a condition known as hypterthyroidism. This is caused by their thyroid glands, located around their neck, producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. Normally they help regulate your cat’s normal bodily processes. However, an excessive production of thyroid hormones can increase your cat’s metabolism and begin to negatively affect the function of critical organs including the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
When the kidneys become impacted by hyperthyroidism, they can begin to have difficulty concentrating urine. This results in the kidneys flushing water out of the system with greater frequency, which leads to a subsequent increase in thirst levels to compensate for the lost hydration.
Diabetes is a most common medical condition in humans and cats alike that deals with the body’s production of and response to insulin: a crucial hormone for regulating blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes: Type-1 and Type-2. Type-1 diabetics are afflicted by a pancreas that is incapable of producing an adequate amount of insulin. Type-2 diabetics, on the other hand, have bodies that do not naturally respond to insulin.
In both cases, the lack of insulin response in the body poses an enormous amount of work for the kidneys to process the excess sugar. As a result, the leftover glucose that the kidneys couldn’t process is siphoned out of the body through urine. Unfortunately, this also leads to the loss of other valuable, hydrating fluids. This can create a vicious cycle where diabetic cats begin to urinate more only to feel more progressively more parched, followed by more and more frequent urination.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats is a self-explanatory condition: it’s the gradual decline in kidney function over the course of a cat’s life. This is a very serious medical condition, as kidneys carry the responsibilities of filtering the blood, eliminating waste, balancing electrolytes, producing certain hormones, and maintaining the balance of water within the body. When they begin to break down, the effectiveness of these vital functions decreases as well.
And while it primarily affects older cats, cats of any age can be affected by CKD in either or both of their kidneys. Cats can begin to present a variety of clinical signs of CKD as the disease progresses. They may begin to appear lethargic, unkempt, or thinner as waste products and other compounds continue to accumulate in the bloodstream. More relevant to the current discussion is the increased urination that CKD can cause. Besides increasing the amount you spend on cat litter, excessive urination can cause your feline friend to miss out on several important vitamins and minerals that are present in their pee.
Urinary Tract Disorders
Dr. Arnon Gal, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Urbana, notes that urinary tract disorders like feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) are a very common problem in cats. Cats who are frequently voiding small amounts of pee may be suffering from some form of inflammation or infection of their urinary tract. In some cases, this may be caused by certain microorganisms which induce the stimulation of muscle fibers in their urinary tract and force those structures to contract, leading to inflammation. According to Dr. Gal, however, urinary tract infections in cats tend to be stress-induced.
You should treat cases where your cat is attempting and seemingly failing to adequately dispense urine as a medical emergency. If your cat is straining or even just visibly uncomfortable while using the restroom, take them to get evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Okay, you got us. Bladder stones do the exact opposite of make your cat pee excessively, but they’re still an important medical complication that you need to be made aware of. And, hey, they still affect how your cat pees. So we’re not too far off topic!
A bladder stone, or bladder blockage, is a hard, rock-like crystal that can get caught in the neck of your cat’s bladder. They’re the product of certain minerals crystallizing and getting stuck together with mucus that it interacts with as they move through your cat’s body. For some cats, developing bladder stones only takes a few weeks, while other cats’ bodies may take months to form them. The exact cause of bladder stone development is dependent on a number of factors including the pH of your cat’s urine, the presence of certain proteins within the urine, and the concentration of water in their urine
Regardless of why or how fast they formed, a blockage like this is a medical emergency. Stones and blockages can lead to your cat’s bladder becoming distended and eventually their kidneys may begin to fail. If you see blood in your cat’s urine or you witness them straining to urinate, get them to a veterinarian to be checked out right away.
How to Treat Excessive Urination in Cats
Excessive urination in cats must be treated on a case-by-case basis, with the exact course of treatment depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Any changes you notice in your cat’s urination habits should be immediately investigated by a veterinarian.
Once you get to the vet’s office, they’ll begin a thorough physical examination. During this exam, your veterinarian will ask you a bunch of questions to better understand your cat’s diet, activity levels, behaviors, habits, thirst, and general lifestyle. Your vet will also check your cat’s body to look for signs of any physical deformity or abnormality. Additionally, they’ll want to check your cat’s body condition and muscle condition to look for signs of proper weight control and muscular maintenance. Your vet may also order labs such as a urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC), biochemical screen, or a urine culture to uncover any hidden causes of your cat’s inappropriate urination.
A complete blood count will check for signs of infection or inflammation by evaluating your cat’s blood chemistry, while a biochemical screen will attempt to determine how well your cat’s organs are functioning. The urinalysis lab will offer an in-depth look at your cat’s kidney’s ability to concentrate urine and will help your vet determine if an underlying kidney infection is to blame. Finally, the urine culture will allow your vet to rule out an underlying bacterial infection in your cat’s urinary tract. Any underlying conditions that are determined to be causing changes in your cat’s urinary behaviors will dictate the recommended treatment plan.
A cat with a urinary tract infection may be prescribed an antibiotic to rid its body of all microorganisms. Other medications may be prescribed in conjunction with antibiotics for pain or inflammation management. Your vet may also recommend that you give your cat more wet food to increase their daily water intake. They might also recommend that you think of ways to keep your cat’s stress levels low, such as by giving them more head scratches!
Bladder stones, on other hand, may require more invasive treatment such as surgery in order to remove any obstructions. Your vet may follow up surgical procedures with a specialty, recovery-focused diet that’ll help ensure your kitty won’t have to deal with bladder stones again. Some cats are lucky enough to find relief from bladder stones by having a catheter passed through their urethra… though we’re not sure if “lucky” is the most apt word, come to think of it.
A condition that will require a much more long-term treatment plan is diabetes. Just like with humans, a diabetes diagnosis necessitates a concoction of simultaneous treatment components including medications, diet modifications, increased exercise levels, and emotional support. The goal in an effective diabetes treatment plan should be to manage your cat’s blood sugar levels and increase their cells’ utilization of glucose with daily injections of insulin.
However, the ideal treatment plan for a number of potential diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, must be tailored for the extent of the disease and its cause. Cats whose kidneys are only slightly damaged as a result of an infection, for example, should be able to avoid any long-term damage by completing an antibiotics course. Additionally, some cats may find relief by taking medications that balance out low potassium levels or high calcium levels in their blood. On the other hand, cats with advanced stages of the disease may have to switch to a kidney-friendly diet, take anti-nausea medications, or even consider kidney transplantation.
A cat whose excessive urination is caused by hyperthyroidism has a number of treatment options at their disposal. Daily antithyroid medication, such as Methimazole, works to inhibit the formation and coupling of iodotyrosine in thyroglobulin and reduce thyroid hormone production levels over a course of two months. Unfortunately, somewhere between 10% and 15% of cats who take this sort of medication may experience a host of unpleasant side effects including loss of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy. Some cats with hyperthyroidism may even undergo surgery to remove the thyroid gland if it’s found that a tumor is causing their thyroid troubles. Luckily, most cats who undergo this procedure have few complications.
Regardless of what’s causing them to rush to the litter box so often, one thing is for sure: you need to take them to a veterinarian if you want them to get better.
And you should visit our cat page to stay up-to-date with information on how to keep your pointy-eared friends happy and healthy!
There’s that old saying: “Cats rule, dogs drool.” And we totally get why the saying developed – no one can deny some dogs are, um…leaky.
But what about cats? Have you ever noticed a damp spot around Puss’s mouth? Have you ever seen a little string of drool hanging from their mouth? What about a waterfall of drool?
Regardless of what it might look like (or feel like – YUCK), we’re here to discuss why cats drool and what to do about it if it starts happening.
Why Do Cats Drool?
Just as with humans, there can be both normal and abnormal reasons why your whiskery friend might start drooling. However, it should be noted that cats don’t drool all that often. In some cases, a cat’s drooling is often prompted by an underlying condition that should be investigated and treated when possible.
What Are Normal Reasons for Why Cats Drool?
While everyone knows that cats aren’t like dogs, not many people know that drooling really is just more of a dog thing. Unlike with our pups, cats won’t typically salivate at the sight of food. That’s not to say no cat will ever salivate when you open a Friskie’s can – some most certainly do. It’s just not typical for them to do that.
Some cats may drool as a physical expression of an emotion they’re feeling, good, bad, or otherwise. For example, you may notice a damp spot beneath your cat’s chin after you’ve just scratched their ears or rubbed their belly. You might also see your cat begin to drool in response to stress or other negative emotions, such as when they’re at the vet or when lots of people have unexpectedly entered your home.
While this may seem like an easy-to-understand explanation, be reminded that cats who drool in response to emotional stimuli have likely done so their entire lives. If your cat suddenly begins to drool when they’ve never drooled before, you should seriously consider taking them to get examined by a veterinarian.
What Are Abnormal Reasons for Why Cats Drool?
There are a plethora of reasons that may cause your cat to drool, and none of them are too pleasant. Luckily, most of the reasons we’ll discuss below are highly treatable if they’re promptly attended to by a professional veterinarian.
Oral and Dental Distress
Just like with humans, maintaining good dental health is crucial to ensuring our feline friends live happy and healthy lives. When pet owners neglect caring for their cat’s chompers it leads to tartar and plaque rubbing against the inside of their mouth, which produces excess saliva.
Some cats even develop periodontal disease and gingivitis which can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms including halitosis, dysphagia, and excessive drooling. In some cases, inflammation of the mouth can become so severe that some cats may even refuse to eat hard food.
Cats may also begin to excessively drool if they’ve sustained some sort of trauma to their mouth. Types of trauma that can induce excessive saliva production include: blunt force trauma to the bones in their face, mouth or jaw, as well as electrical burns sustained from gnawing on electrical cords.
Besides the usual suspects such as tooth decay, plaque buildup, and mouth trauma, oral tumors are also a potential cause of drooling in older cats. In fact, oral cancer (more specifically squamous cell carcinoma) is a very common cause of drooling in geriatric cats.
As if they didn’t have enough to worry about, older cats are also more likely to suffer from kidney disease and kidney failure. In some cases cats who are affected by kidney failure may develop what’s known as uremia (or “urine in the blood”). This can cause cats to develop unsightly and uncomfortable ulcers on the edges of their gums, tongue, and lips that may lead to drooling.
We all know that dreaded feeling. You just ate a few hours ago, and suddenly your tummy starts to twist and turn. Within seconds the uneasy feeling creeps up and sits in the back of your mouth. “No…”, you think, “Surely I’m not about to..” and then it hits you. Your mouth quickly begins to salivate, leading you to spring up from your seat and rush to the bathroom. We wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone, least of all our pointy-eared buddies.
Unfortunately, vomiting is just an inconvenient part of life for humans and cats alike. And, just as with humans, cats who are feeling queasy will often drool… a lot. Once you’ve determined your cat is feeling nauseous, you should begin working with your vet to discover the underlying paws (Ha!). According to veterinarian Dr. Judy Morgan “Nausea can signal anything from a temporary tummy upset to something of more concern, like inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal cancer.”
Foreign Bodies in Their Mouth
Some cat owners speak of their beloved pets as if they were their own children. Of course, Mother Nature had to take that and run with it. Why do we say that? Because, just like you might expect from a toddler, you may notice that Whiskers has a little something hanging from her mouth. Something that is definitely not food.
That “something” can be anything from toy parts to lengths of string to even blades of grass. Regardless of what it is, if your cat has something stuck in her mouth, it’s likely going to cause her to drool.
Some cats are like chimpanzees – they learn with their mouths. While hilarious some of the time, this behavior can get cats into more trouble than the laughs might be worth. In some instances, your cat may lick, chew on, or swallow poisonous items that can lead to them producing excess saliva. These can include: poisonous plants like tulips, azaleas, and chrysanthemums; corrosive or caustic chemicals and acids like those found in laundry detergent and other household cleaners; topical toxins like pesticides; and even some toxic foods. If you suspect that your cat has been exposed to or has put toxic substances in their mouth, get them to a vet as soon as you can.
Luckily, you won’t have to begin frantically dialing around to find the nearest open vet if your cat takes a little lick of Banixx – at worst you’ll just have to reapply it. Our non-toxic, topical solution provides fast-acting, no-sting, no-odor relief from the symptoms caused by a variety of fungal and bacterial infections to get your cat looking and feeling their best in no time.
Fun fact: a variety of disorders of the nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems can induce heavy drooling in humans. Okay, we know. That was not a “fun” fact.
However, it’s important to know that a variety of ailments that affect humans and pets alike can cause your furry friend to start drooling. For example, cats who suffer from liver disease are much more prone to developing drooling than dogs. Additionally, while uncommon, cats who are having a seizure may begin to drool as a result of their decreased ability to effectively swallow saliva.
Drooling can also signal that your cat is dealing with a lingering infection of their nose, throat, sinuses, or even ears. Viral infections that affect the lungs and airways can also foster the development of ulcers which, as discussed previously, may lead to increased drooling. Certain gastrointestinal disorders may also cause increased saliva production, though it’s rare that it will manifest as drooling as opposed to light pooling at the gums.
How Do I Prevent My Cat From Drooling?
Drooling is thankfully one of those symptoms that can often be nipped in the bud with some good ole fashioned TLC.
First, recognize that many of the problems associated with drooling can be prevented by taking good care of your kitty’s teeth. You should aim to take them into the veterinarian for a thorough dental and oral examination at least once a year, although ideally it would be once every six months. Your vet will look inside your cat’s mouth to make sure their teeth and gums look healthy, as well as check for lesions, tumors, or other forms of dental disease. They’ll likely also manipulate your cat’s jaw and closely observe their tongue to make sure there’s no unwanted sensitivity.
In between visits, you’ll need to keep up with brushing your cat’s teeth every other day. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about getting a specially designed toothbrush and specially formulated toothpaste to ensure your cat gets the full benefit of each brushing. Be sure to introduce the act of regular brushing while your cat is still in kittenhood to get them used to having their lips, mouth, gums, and teeth manipulated.
Your veterinarian may also recommend that you begin administering certain oral rinses, gels, or sprays to your cat if they already have established dental problems. However, keep in mind that these sorts of treatments should be thought of as supplementary and not as a replacement for consistent brushing.
You should also take your cat into the vet at least once a year for a total wellness exam. These sorts of exams can help your vet uncover any underlying, sinister illnesses, disorders, or chronic issues before they become more serious. If your vet has determined your cat’s mouth is not the problem, they will likely perform a variety of tests to check their blood, how their organs are functioning, and how their various internal systems are interacting with one another.
Your vet will likely look ask if your cat is displaying signs of kidney disease, such as loss of appetite or bad breath. They might also run a urinalysis test to assess how well their kidneys are functioning. A bile acid blood test may also be ordered to assess their liver function. They may also ask if your cat has been presenting with symptoms consistent with respiratory diseases such as sneezing, discharge from the nose or eyes, or fever and might also run a series of tests to determine whether the issue is neurological in origin.
At home, there are a number of steps you can take to try and prevent your cat from drooling excessively. For starters, make sure that any potentially poisonous plants you have lying around such as lilies, tulips, or English Ivy are far out of reach of your cat. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you securely fasten the tops of any household cleaners or detergents once you’ve finished dispensing them.
Finally, if you’re trying to stop your cat from drooling caused by them feeling content, well….stop making them so dang happy all the time, we guess!
But, on the other hand, if you’re always on the lookout for new ways to keep your cat happy and healthy, visit our cat page!
Ask anyone what they think about when you say the word “horsepower”, and, you’ll likely get a few different answers!
For some, the image of Ford Mustangs squealing their tires and zooming off into the distance is the first thing that comes to mind. For others, it’s the image of regular ole four-legged literal Mustangs galloping majestically.
Regardless, everyone agrees that two words which are synonymous with the term “horsepower” are: speed, and power. But when we talk about speed, how fast are we talking? How fast can a horse run, exactly?
How Fast Can a Horse Run?
Just as with humans, each horse has a different top speed that depends on a variety of factors.
For starters, a horse’s top speed is partially determined by whether or not it is a racing horse. Racing horses are those whose breeds are sought after for their speed, agility, and endurance. Most racehorses are able to reach top speeds that easily surpass those of average horses or work horses, with some being able to run up to 55 miles per hour.
But that’s not to say that the average horse isn’t still… very fast indeed!. For example, your average horse will likely be able to reach top running speeds between 25 miles per hour and 35 miles per hour. If that doesn’t seem that fast or impressive to you, just think about how fast 30 miles per hour feels in your vehicle. Now consider how much technology goes into propelling you down the road at that speed. Then — marvel at the fact that a horse can achieve the same thing with just their four legs!
What Factors Affect How Fast a Horse Can Run?
Besides their training, there are a number of different factors that play a significant role in boosting or lowering a horse’s potential top speed.
Stride Rate, Stride Length, and Stride Angle
A horse’s speed can be thought of as a function of its stride length and stride rate. Before we go any further, we should review that a horse’s stride length is the distance between where its hoof hits the ground to where that same hoof next lands. Knowing this, we can intuit that a horse’s stride rate would measure the number of strides they complete in a set interval of time.
The average racehorse’s stride rate is between 130 and 140 strides per minute, while some of the fastest horses have stride rates of over 160 strides per minute. Additionally, the average stride length of a racehorse tends to be 20 feet or more. To put that into perspective, this means the average racehorse’s stride is as long as an average giraffe is tall!
We must remember that neither a horse’s stride rate nor its length exist in a vacuum when discussing their effects on speed. Rather, they are interdependent on one another and both play a pivotal role in determining a horse’s top speed. Generally speaking, one can increase the maximum speed of a horse by either increasing its stride rate or its stride length.
A horse’s stride angle is just as important in determining its top speed as its stride rate or length. The stride angle is the distance between the horse’s front and back hoof and is measured at the push-off point of the rear hoof. Typically, a horse with larger stride angles will have longer strides and lower stride rates. This becomes increasingly important in determining a horse’s likelihood of success in a race as the length of that race increases. Conversely, horses with lower stride angels, shorter stride lengths, and larger stride rates will likely find more success in shorter races that rely more heavily on sprinting.
Their Cardiovascular System
Horses have weirdly large, active hearts. No, seriously. The heart of a racehorse can circulate up to 75 gallons of blood each minute. And that’s a good thing, too. Their large, active hearts efficiently deliver much-needed oxygen to them when they’re huffing and puffing during strenuous exercise. By being able to transport tons of oxygen throughout their body continuously, horses can accelerate without having to worry about overworking themselves or gassing themselves too quickly.
But you probably won’t ever see a horse “huffing and puffing” as described above, since horses are obligate nasal breathers. This is because a horse’s epiglottis forms an air tight seal above its soft palate when it’s not swallowing. In order for a horse to breathe, air must flow through their nasal passages, down the upper respiratory tract, and into the lungs.
As a result of only having one way to initiate breathing, a horse’s lungs and nasal passages can be put under an immense amount of stress during physical activity. In fact, Poiseuille’s Law states that any incremental decrease to the radius of a tube increases resistance to flow by sixteen-fold.
That means that even the slightest narrowing of a horse’s airway can cause a horse to have an exponentially tougher time catching their breath. As you can imagine, such a phenomenon would slow them down considerably – especially during something as high-intensity as a race.\
Their Muscle Fiber Composition
Like other animals, horses have different types of muscle fibers that assist them with completing different types of movement. We can generally sort these into two categories: Type 1 slow-twitch muscle fibers and Type 2 fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Slow-twitch muscle fibers contract slowly and are able to hold this contracted position for long periods of time without the onset of fatigue. On the other hand, fast-twitch muscle fibers contract very quickly and will cause muscle fatigue if held in a contracted position for too long. Type 2B fast-twitch fibers have the fastest contractile speed and are best suited for short bursts of high intensity motion. Type 2A fast-twitch fibers, however, are something of an intermediate type. These fast-twitch fibers are able to contract at a steady pace and able to hold a contracted position for an intermediary length between what a Type 1 and Type 2B fiber would allow.
While all horses have each of these types of muscle fibers, each breed has a distinct muscle fiber composition that makes it particularly suited for certain types of activity. All things being equal, a horse with more fast-twitch muscle fibers may be better suited for short bursts of sprinting, and thus may have a large stride rate and potentially, a very fast top speed. Horses with more slow-twitch fibers, on the other hand, may excel in competitions that rely on long-distance endurance at lower speeds, and thus may have lower top speeds.
A horse’s jockey can have a profound effect on the top speed that it can reach. A jockey’s posture can reduce or increase the burden placed on the horse back, and that can lead to a proportional increase or decrease in the top speed that it can reach. Many jockeys employ a crouched posture that allows them to move relative to the horse and thus minimize unnecessary movements that may cause drag.
The weight of a jockey and their tack also significantly affects a horse’s speed. Simply put, an increase in the jockey’s total weight leads to a decrease in the horse’s top speed. Sounds like common sense! Larger riders don’t just cause horses to come in second or third place, though. In some unfortunate cases, larger riders may cause musculoskeletal discomfort or even temporary lameness in horses who are unable to adequately support their weight.
The Surface They’re Running On
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s still worth discussing. A poorly maintained track (or even just a recently rained-on one) can effectively neuter much of the training, preparation, and optimization of stride that you might do to increase your horse’s speed.
This is because poorly maintained and wet tracks give way under your horse’s weight, in some cases even causing them to sink into the ground a bit with each step. As a result, each stride ends up taking more time and energy to complete, thus lowering the upper limit of your horse’s potential top speed.
What Can I Do to Make My Horse Run Faster?
It may seem like a horse’s top speed is almost entirely dependent on factors that are beyond your control as an owner. But this isn’t really the case. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure your horse’s performance is always in peak condition.
Keep Them Conditioned
It makes sense, but you’d be surprised how many athletes there are who skip practice yet stare longingly at their stagnant times. Simply put, your horse needs to run often if you want them to run fast. But that doesn’t mean you should push your horse to their limit day in and day out. That’s a recipe for disaster (and injury). Instead, work with your trainer to determine the ideal amount and types of training for your horse and then stick with this plan. When it comes to increasing your horse’s speed, persistent conditioning is key.
Check Their Breathing
We discussed above how even the slightest interference in your horse’s breathing can drastically, negatively affect their performance. With this in mind, make sure your horse’s airway is completely unobstructed before having them engage in athletic activities. Any breathing problems that persist should be immediately investigated by a professional veterinarian.
Give Them Quality Feed and Care
When it comes to training horses for speed, the old saying “What goes in must come out” comes to mind. If you only put the cheapest hay available into your horse, well… don’t expect them to usurp Seabiscuit any time soon. Instead, make sure that your horse’s diet is rich in quality fats, carbohydrates, and protein to ensure they’re getting all of their essential nutrients.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that any underlying conditions that may be bothering or irritating your horse are taken care of quickly. Certain conditions like white-line disease and horse hoof abscesses can cause all sorts of havoc on your equine friend and greatly inhibit their ability to run fast (if at all) and remain comfortable.
Luckily, there’s an over-the-counter solution that offers instant, no-odor, no-sting relief for a variety of horse-related ailments: Banixx! Just apply Banixx to the affected area and your equine partner will be galloping in delight in no time. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about the dangers of any pesky additives – Banixx is a potent steroid-free, anti-biotic free, and biodegradable antifungal and antibacterial agent.
Visit our horse page to learn more about how to keep your hooved buddy happy and healthy.
Your cat is darting around and occasionally stopping just to prod you with her eyes, or she has become particularly affectionate. She’s saying “Come on, it’s 6:01 PM. My dinner should be here as of one minute ago.”
So, you go to the pantry, crack open a can of Friskies, and set it down. As Whiskers begins chowing down, an important question dawns on you: should I be giving her all that?
It’s never seemed to cause any sort of issue. But still, you wonder, how much wet food should a cat really be eating?
How Much Wet Food Should I Feed My Cat?
A veterinarian will always provide the most accurate answer to the question of “How much food should I give my cat?”. This is because the exact amount of food a cat should consume every day depends on a variety of factors, including their age, physical health, weight, activity levels, body condition score, and more.
However, you can use the nutrition guidelines outlined by The National Research Council to get a general idea of how many calories you should feed your cat per day and then adjust their serving sizes appropriately.
Most cat food labels also provide feeding recommendations that are acceptable to use. There’s also a generally accepted rule of thumb that says to feed your cat one, three-ounce can of wet cat food every day per every three to three-and-a-half pounds of body weight.
Regardless of how you determine how much wet food to feed your cat, make sure to observe any changes in your cat’s eating habits or weight that come up. If your cat begins to appear disinterested at mealtime or if they lose weight, then consider switching brands or even switching them to dry kibble. However, you’ll need to slowly switch your cat’s food over a period of about seven days if you want to guarantee a smooth transition.
How to Serve Wet Cat Food
Although successfully serving wet cat food seems pretty self-explanatory, there are some additional considerations to take into account.
First, you’ll want to make sure you serve wet cat food at room temperature. Cats and humans differ in that cats don’t like it when any of their food is cold. If you refrigerate your wet cat food, leave it out for between 15 and 20 minutes to let it come up to room temperature before you put it down.
If your cat is transitioning from dry to wet food, you may want to top their dish with a few small shreds of cooked chicken or fish to encourage them to eat. Also, try mixing her wet food with bits of dry food. But remember to consult your brand’s website for further instructions on how to safely combine wet and dry food!
If your cat only finishes half a can of wet food, don’t worry! You can safely store opened cans of wet cat food for up to five days in the refrigerator. Unopened cans, on the other hand, can last for up to two years in the pantry.
Is Wet Cat Food Better Than Dry Cat Food?
Experts haven’t reached a clear conclusion on whether or not wet cat food is definitely better for cats to consume than dry food. However, there is consensus on a general list of reasons that wet cat food can be beneficial to incorporate into your cat’s diet:
Benefits of Wet Cat Food
Wet Food Keeps Your Cat Hydrated
Cats don’t like still or unmoving water sources. In nature, they grew to recognize still water as a breeding ground for insects and other harmful pests. Instead, most cats prefer to hydrate from fresh, flowing water. Unfortunately, their little sandpapery tongues aren’t very efficient at getting water into their mouths. This means it can be easy for cats to inadvertently not drink enough water and leave themselves dehydrated.
Thankfully, wet cat food is between 70% and 80% water, making it an excellent source of water for your feline friend. Besides literally helping keep your cat alive, this added water also supports kidney function and dilutes your cat’s pee to prevent urinary tract crystals or stones from forming.
Wet Food is Low in Carbs
Most wet cat food is very high in protein because it’s primarily made from fresh meat products, whereas dry food is mostly made from corn, wheat, meat and bone meal, and other additives. Thanks to this high protein content, wet cat food can help your cat retain muscle mass into their senior years.
Additionally, a high-protein diet is shown to promote lean body mass development and maintenance. Given that your cat’s lean body mass consists of its muscles, ligaments, bones, organs, and more (all of which must be kept healthy for your cat to, well…live!) we think this is a pretty big plus.
Plus, research on cat dieting has also shown that the extra water in wet cat food makes your kitty feel fuller, faster, leading to them eating less.
Wet Food Gives Their Diet Some Variety
Although some cats grow to be neophobes as a result of continually eating the same things as kittens, other cats can actually get bored with their food. Luckily, wet cat food seems to stave off this boredom. With so many different textures and flavors to choose from, your cat will likely devour a can of wet food placed in front of them.
However, choosing to give your cat wet food isn’t without its drawbacks.
Downsides of Wet Cat Food
Wet Cat Food Costs More
In general, wet cat food is more expensive than dry cat food. Depending on the brand they buy, pet food shoppers can end up spending double the amount of money on wet food that they would on dry food. However, not all wet food has to cost you an arm and a leg. Be sure to shop around and find a brand whose prices you’re comfortable with; just make sure you’re continuing to buy food made from quality ingredients!
Wet Cat Food Can be Messy
If your cat loves to strut their stuff and show off their majestic mane or gorgeous coat, giving them a can of cat food can be shocking – their gorgeous, lush fur can look gnarly, fast. Luckily, cats are pretty meticulous self groomers. And, if your cat’s fur still looks a bit gruff from dinner, there’s nothing a quick bath can’t fix!
How Do I Find Quality Wet Cat Food?
Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD recommends that cat owners should look for the statement of sound nutrition from the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to guarantee nutritional adequacy of their cat food.
AAFCO uses two methods to evaluate adult cat foods: formulation and a feeding test. During formulation, they conduct nutritional analysis of ingredients and compare them to AAFCO nutrient profiles for a cat’s particular life stage. The feeding test evaluates the food’s digestibility and the degree of nutrient absorption that the food allows.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to choose a cat food that is rich in animal-based protein and possesses small amounts of carbohydrates. This is because dietary protein delivers the highest concentration of essential amino acids that provide the building blocks for several important biological functions, such as the removal of ammonia from the body via urine or aiding the processes in the heart. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are not digested efficiently in your cat’s gut because their digestive systems lack many of the metabolic pathways that would allow them to convert carbs into energy. Instead, digested carbohydrates tend to be converted into sugar which is then stored as body fat.
You’ll also want to make sure the wet cat food you choose is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Found abundantly in fish and certain oils, these essential fatty acids help keep your cat’s coat beautiful and healthy, maintain cell membrane health, increase the efficiency of their circulatory system, and help foster strong responses from the immune system.
There are three fatty acids in particular you should really strive to include in your cat’s diet: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). ALA is used to encourage heart health by regulating heart rhythm and stimulating heart pumping. DHA helps your cat’s heart as well while also stimulating their nervous responses by making it easier for nerve cells to send and receive electrical signals. EPA is used to lower triglyceride levels, making it an effective tool in the fight against cholesterol. Also remember that cat food tends to be richer in omega-6 than omega-3, so be on the lookout for quality wet cat food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids to ensure optimal feline health.
Then there’s also vitamins and nutrients to think about. While you certainly want to make sure your cat is getting enough vitamins, don’t overdo it. Too many vitamins can also cause a myriad of health problems. That being said, there are about a two dozen total essential vitamins and nutrients cats need to have in their diet.
For example, selenium and Vitamin A help boost your cat’s immune system with the added benefit of strengthening their eyesight. Vitamin D can be thought of as a complementary vitamin to phosphorus, as both increase the resilience of your cat’s skeletal structure. Meanwhile, copper helps strengthen the connective tissues that hold your cat’s body together.
Moving deeper into your cat’s body, calcium and Vitamin K help increase the strength of your cat’s bones and promote blood clotting. Speaking of blood, iron stimulates blood production while Vitamin B6 stimulates the transfer of oxygen through red blood cells.
Vitamin B1 and pantothenic acid are also both necessary for regulating your cat’s energy metabolism. Riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamin B12 work with iodine, potassium, and magnesium to regulate your cat’s enzymatic functions. Chlorine also serves a regulatory purpose by establishing an acid-base balance within your cat’s chemical composition, much like when it cleans your pool.
Vitamin E and Zinc, on the other hand, stave off oxidative damage across all cells and simultaneously regulate cell production. Lastly, who can forget about sodium? It’s essential to stimulating your cat’s nervous system!
Be sure to also check with your veterinarian about any food allergies your cat may have, as consuming these allergens can cause all sorts of issues including yeast infections.
Should your cat begin to develop a yeast infection as an allergic reaction to something she ate, don’t sweat it – just apply Banixx to the affected area to give her fast-acting no-sting, no-odor relief!
Visit our cat page to learn more about how to keep your pointy-eared companion happy and healthy!
While we may be daydreaming about the arrival of winter with a light fluffy snow covering, have you ever stopped to think about whether or not your cat is as happy about the cold weather as you are? Sure, they may have a fluffy coat. But you can get cold even when you’re bundled up, so what if it’s the same for our kitties?
Should we be getting them ugly sweaters to wear this winter, too?
Can My Cat Get Cold?
Of course! Just like any other animal, cats’ bodies will attempt to bring their temperature up to par when they’re in cold environments. Cats can even develop hypothermia and frostbite if left in cold enough environments for too long.
How Can I Tell if My Cat is Cold?
If your cat is starting to feel cold, they may present any combination of the following symptoms.
They Can’t Get Enough Snuggles
When our furry friend leaps up and begins purring as they curl themselves into our lap, it melts our heart. But sometimes this affection is more pragmatic than anything. Sometimes, cats will snuggle up to us in order to steal some of our body heat. Not that we ever mind, of course. But if you notice your cat is constantly jumping back up to cuddle with you, consider whether or not the inside of your house is warm enough for them.
Cool cats (sorry….) may begin to shiver in order to raise their body temperature. However, remember that shivering can also be indicative of your cat having a fever. While this may seem contradictory, consider this: if your body temperature was significantly elevated, wouldn’t it be possible that a warm house could feel a bit too cold for you?
If your cat’s shivering is coupled with lethargy, rapid breathing, decreased grooming, or loss of appetite, then it’s possible your cat has a fever. If you suspect a fever, you’ll want to verify your hypothesis by checking the cat’s temperature with a pediatric rectal thermometer. You can read more about how to safely check your cat’s temperature at PetMD. But, possibly a better idea, for most of us, is a quick trip to your Vet to check out your kitty!
They’re Hanging Out by Warm Places
Once they start feeling cold, cats aren’t going to wait around to fix the problem. Instead, you’ll probably find them snoozing on top of the radiator or by air vents if the heat is turned up. You may even find them buried underneath blankets or snuggling in your bed sheets!
Their Extremities Are a Bit Chilly
If you suspect your cat may be feeling cold, gently reach out and start feeling their tail, ears, toes, and nose. If these feel cool to the touch, your cat is likely uncomfortable and would appreciate some help warming up.
How Cold is Too Cold for a Cat?
Just as with so many questions about proper pet care, there is no singular temperature that can be considered “too cold” for every cat. According to Dr. M.A. Crist, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences: “Determining what temperature is too cold for your pet can depend on many different factors, from fur thickness and length to body mass.“ However, it’s generally accepted that kittens, senior cats, and sick cats should never be kept outdoors when the temperature is below 45º Fahrenheit.
Crist says that it’s also clinically accepted that indoor cats, who are not acclimated to cold weather, should not be left outside when the average daily temperature is below 45º Fahrenheit. He goes on to also say that even cats who are acclimated to outdoor temperatures should always have access to warm shelters.
What’s the Ideal Temperature for Cats?
Many people don’t realize that a cat’s normal body temperature is quite a bit warmer than a human’s. While a human’s core body temperature should fall around 98.6º Fahrenheit, a cat’s body temperature should hover between 100.5º and 102.5º Fahrenheit.
Given that their body is adjusted to being at a higher core temperature than ours, cats are generally able to tolerate slightly higher external temperatures than us. Conversely, cats may also feel much colder during winter than you or I would, especially if you don’t turn up the heat often.
Luckily, cats are notoriously skilled at rooting out the most comfortable spots throughout the house and setting up shop there when they feel a need for additional warmth. That being said, there are still a number of ways you can help Whiskers to stay a bit more cozy during the winter.
How Can I Keep My Cat Warm?
Get Them a Cat Bed
Any old cat bed can help your cat feel more comfortable during cold weather! You can even build your own bed with just two sofa cushions and a couple of tightly wrapped up blankets. You don’t have to devise an elaborate solution to keep your cat warm
Of course, you could also treat your four-legged friend to a covered bed; that way they’ll begin to warm up the second they lay down. Some cats also really enjoy the added sense of security offered by enclosed beds. Consider getting a cave-style or triangular A-frame bed if your cat enjoys being in small spaces. Otherwise, try a donut-style beds; they offer a warm, padded base with walls that your kitty can snuggle up to.
Also, remember that heat rises, so it’s best to place your cat’s bed up high! However, if your cat is elderly or has mobility issues, consider getting a slightly elevated bed with an attached ramp.
Give Them Heat
In the middle of really cold weather, you may also want to think about placing an electric heating pad under your cat’s bed. Just remember to switch it off when you’re asleep or out of the house, as a number of accidents can occur when a cat is left alone with a heating pad. Heated sills will also provide warmth and comfort to a cool cat (we’ll wait for the a-paws). But a much better option is to buy a heated cat bed. These have now become quite reasonable price-wise—as for my cats–they just adore their warmed-up beds!
Snuggle with Them!
The only, truly free option on this list is to give your cats some extra TLC. Not only will you be helping them stay warm, but you’ll get to spend some quality time with them! Besides: who doesn’t love a good afternoon cuddle with their feline fella?
But there’s a one question that pet owners rarely try to really answer definitively: how much food should we give our cat, really?
If you try to answer it on the fly, you might find yourself trying to measure out cat food in your head or defaulting to the timeless “Enough, obviously.” But, in reality, the answer to this simple question is anything but that.
How Much Should I Feed My Cat?
You’ll get the most accurate answer to this question from a veterinarian. They are the people who are best suited to offer medically sound, customized nutrition guidelines for your cat and answer any questions that you have.
That being said, there are a couple of ways that you can get a general idea of how much food to give your cat.
Check the Nutrition Guidelines on Your Cat’s Food
Both dry and wet cat food containers will often contain labels that display ranges of how much you should feed your cat based on their weight.
However, be warned that these feeding instructions are based on the caloric needs of an average cat at that weight with an average activity program. You’ll need to take some additional steps if you want to determine the ideal amount of food to give your cat.
Use Rules of Thumb, with Caution
If you’re someone who just wants to abide by a simple rule, then consider this: the Animal Medical Center in New York says that a healthy, active 8-pound cat requires 30 calories per pound, per day.
If your cat feeds on a set schedule twice a day, then you could theoretically split a cup of dry cat food (typically ~300 calories) between two meals and provide your cat with sufficient calories for the day.
On the other hand, you can just drop this amount of food into your cat’s feeder each day if they free feed.
But truly determining the precise amount of food your cat needs per day requires you to take a whole range of factors into consideration.
What Factors Affect How Much Food to Give Your Cat?
As much as we wish there was a simple formula that we could use to answer the question “How much food should I feed my cat?”, there isn’t. In reality, the amount of food that a cat needs every day is dependent on Your answer to a battery of questions. Here goes:
For starters, your cat’s age plays a large part in determining how much food they need. According to Francis Kallfelz, DVM, Ph.D., and James Law Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, kittens up to six months old may require three meals a day, while kittens six months old to maturity will usually require feeding twice per day.
Once the cat reaches one year old, Kallfelz says, they should be fed once or twice a day. Kallfelz also notes that senior cats who are seven years old and up should maintain the same feeding regimen they’ve had since becoming adults.
Your cat’s weight will also determine how much food they should be consuming on a daily basis. Larger breeds of cats tend to require more food than smaller breeds of cats. Although, this is not a hard and fast rule – some cats that appear to be large have surprisingly small frames. The “large” is simply a lot of hair! You don’t want to accidentally overfeed your cat just because they look extra fluffy!
Weight and Metabolic Level
Overweight cats should, of course, eat less food per day than cats who are underweight or of normal weight. Unfortunately, many pet parents are unaware of proper feeding guidelines for their furry friend and end up overfeeding them, which puts them at risk for obesity. According to Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM, obesity is the most common nutritional disease in household pets.
And, while people might flip out to show you the latest video of chubby cats acting adorable, trust us when we say there’s nothing cute about the effects of feline obesity. Feline obesity is associated with a considerable number of potentially devastating health issues in cats including diabetes, arthritis, urinary tract disease, and more.
Along those same lines, cats who are regularly active will require more food to maintain their continually active metabolism per day than cats who are sedentary.. This makes tons of sense if you think about it – when you, as a human, exercise regularly, you’ll often hear your tummy rumbling to remind you to keep the fuel coming!
A number of diseases and ailments can affect both your cat eats and how much they end up eating.
Cats who suffer from diabetes, for example, should only eat when they’re receiving insulin. This helps ensure that they absorb all of the calories in their food and that their blood sugar levels stay balanced throughout the day.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism tend to cause an increased appetite in cats. However, while hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain, hyperthyroidism often presents with weight loss. But, in both cases, you might find your cat purring up to you for a bite of whatever you’re snacking on with more regularity.
Additionally, cats with moderate to severe tooth decay and/or gum disease may exhibit less of an appetite, as eating may become uncomfortable for them. Signs that point to your cat’s mouth as the root cause of disease include drooling, decreased appetite and/or pawing at the mouth.
We all know that spaying or neutering our cats can slow them down a bit for a day or so, but the effects that this has on their caloric needs are quite significant. Generally, cats who get spayed or neutered should consume fewer calories than before they were operated on. It’s generally advised to reduce your cat’s daily calories by a quarter following the operation. Then, try and observe what effect the procedure has on their appetite and weight before making any adjustments.
Conversely, pregnant cats will gradually increase their food intake from the day she mates through the end of her term. By the time that she has her kittens, a pregnant cat may be consuming between 50% and 100% more than her daily food intake pre-pregnancy.
Body Condition Score
While it may seem a bit strange to score things related to our pet’s health and wellness, using a Body Condition Score is a simple and intuitive way to determine whether Whiskers is overweight or underweight.
A body condition score is a number that’s assigned to specific cat body types, ranging from 1 to 9. A cat with body condition score of 1 would be considered very underweight, while a cat with a score of 9 would be considered very overweight. A cat with an ideal body type would score around a five.
How to Determine a Cat’s Body Condition Score
In order to get the most accurate Body Condition Score, get your cat evaluated by a trained veterinarian. However, you can attempt to get a rough estimate of your cat’s score by following the procedure below.
Before the exam begins, make sure your cat is relaxed. Pet them and love on them before you begin the exam. Remember to intersperse this affection throughout the exam, too! After all, who wouldn’t want some comfort while getting their body checked out?
To begin the exam, give your cat a visual once-over. Evaluate your cat’s profile and try to get a good look at their stomach, limbs, and neutral stance. Then, get a view from overhead where you can see their waist and lower back. After you’ve had time to look them over, it’s time to get your hands furry.
Gently but firmly rub your hands along your cat’s ribs. Your cat’s rib cage should not be visible through their coat. If you notice rib bones sticking out without applying additional pressure, your cat’s weight is probably too low. However, if you have a difficult time feeling their ribs even after applying pressure, your cat may be too heavy.
Next, move your hands toward their waist. Be careful: cats are often sensitive in this area! You should be able to make out an hourglass shape as you work your way down their waist. If, instead of feeling an hourglass you feel something more akin to a cat shaped blob, your cat may be overweight.
Finally, you’ll want to feel your cat’s stomach. A cat who is of normal weight will have a stomach that makes a straight line with their hips. If your cat has something of a small, sagging bit of skin that hangs, don’t worry; that’s just their paunch. Most cats have one! Just be sure it doesn’t drag on the floor when they walk!
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you should be able to roughly determine your cat’s body condition score. If you came away from the exam thinking, “Man, my cat sure is bony!” then your cat may score between 1 and 4 and they may be underweight. On the flip side, if you walked away thinking “Maybe I should stop feeding Whiskers so much popcorn…” your cat may have a score that’s greater than 5 and they may be overweight.
You can take a look at each of the Body Condition Scores and their descriptions here.
How Often Should I Feed My Cat?
You must feed your cat every day. It’s generally recommended to split your cat’s daily food consumption between two meals that occur at the same times each day.
While it may seem like a pain to spend time learning the best times of day to feed your cat, it’s worth it. Establishing a feeding schedule provides your cat with feelings of stability and predictability. By providing this constant for them, your cat may have an easier time coping with changes in the house.
A predictable feeding schedule can be especially helpful when you’re trying to get your cat to eat new foods, as it conditions them to be hungry at the same time every day. What better motivator is there to try food than being super hungry?
Ultimately, however, the time of day they eat matters much less to your cat’s overall health than how much they eat at each meal.
We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infectionsor ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.