Looking After Cats

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From overweight pampered felines, raising kittens and feeding fussy eaters, our cat factsheets are here to help.

Mr. Big is a handsome tabby cat

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Mr. Big is a very handsome tabby cat with a lovely laid back personality.  He was brought in by his elderly owner who was moving house and unable to take him with her.

He’d had a sedentary life and was seriously overweight so the past few months have been devoted to slimming him down.  It has to be done gradually and Biggie is looking much better now – he’s sleek and svelte.

He’s also much more active although is still a laid back fella who likes to sit in the sun – or on your knee.

Biggie is vaccinated and neutered and has had a health check, which was fine.  He’s a bit timid with strangers but very loving when he gets to know you, he’s  joined our resident cats and made himself at home, if you’d like to sponsor this lovable lad please get in touch.

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Aloe Vera Spray

cats - lillie 6Lillie is the latest rescued cat to get the benefits of Aloe Vera.  She came in after living ‘rough’ for a long time and she is in poor condition with a dry and unhealthy coat.   We’ve been using Aloe Vera lotion on her, it’s spray and easy to administer.  If she licks it off it won’t hurt her and already we can see an improvement.   We’ve been using Aloe Vera for many years and it’s a great natural product.

It’s good to be able to get it now in a convenient form from the Forever Range which helps  you to care for your animals in an easy and cost effective way.  It’s the way to keep your pets healthy, fit, clean and energetic – you can get the Aloe spray from us or direct from local agent Lesley – 0788 3566766 – if your pet has itchy skin or bald patches then trying Aloe will make all the difference.

Contact Lesley on 0788 3566766 – www.healthnwellnessforever.com

Tortie has a toothache

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Tortie has been a resident in the sanctuary for many years.   She was brought in after being found in a greenhouse with four kittens.   Tortie was a devoted mother and raised her kits well, we found them lovely homes and in due course Tortie was spayed.   She was not re-homed because she developed a strong affection for two other cats who live here – Mischa and Myrtle.  These three still stay together and eat and sleep with each other.

Family and friends are important to cats and we never like to split them up when there is a bond between them.   Tortie is the character cat of the trio – she is playful, intelligent and very loving.  Tortie likes her own chair, her special places to sit and sleep and they are all foodies.  They like fish and mince and biscuits so long as they are top of the range!

They’ve been on a senior diet for the past three years, they are all in early teens.  Mischa and Myrtle are fine but a few weeks ago, Tortie stopped eating biscuits.  She still had a good appetite but we noticed she preferred really soft food.

A trip to the vets showed that Tortie had an infected tooth, it was one of her back ones.   She was given a long acting anti-biotic while an appointment could be made for her to have surgery.   We had to isolate her so that she could be starved the night before the op.    Tortie didn’t think much of it – where’s my breakfast?  She was full of complaints!

It was a worrying day when Tortie went to the vets at the beginning of the week.   Apparently she was on her best behaviour and gave no problems even though she was in a stressful situation.   Because she is an elderly cat she was kept on a drip for the afternoon after her op.   We were able to fetch her back at teatime and although she was still groggy, she was pleased to see us.

We kept in Tortie in a room of her own until we were sure she was over her ordeal.   A dish of soft white fish poached in goat’s milk was the clincher – when she cleared the plate we knew she was on the mend.   Today we let her out and she sprinted back to her friends.  They were pleased to see her and all tucked in to their lunch (lightly cooked mince) together.

If you suspect your cat has dental problems it’s essential to get prompt treatment.  Cats sometimes shake their heads, go off their food, paw at their mouth or eat slowly.   Bad teeth go septic and can poison the system, sometimes abcesses develop, the infection can cause swellings in the jaw or even the eye.   Yearly health checks are essential for all middle aged and elderly cats.  Fresh food, which is free from sugar unlike most pet food, is best for cats – a regular sprinkle of Plaque Off helps to keep teeth healthy.  It’s on the menu for Tortie from now on.

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Ordinary things that are toxic for cats

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Cats like lots of things that are bad for them.  Some are definitely toxic and can lead to serious illness and even death.  Others take a while to take affect or give mild symptoms.  Here are some of the most common:

Anti-freeze – make sure you have put it away in a locked cupboard.  If any of it spills and your cat laps it up (and she might well do this as it is sweet and palatable) she will become ill quite quickly and recovery is unlikely.   Only your vet can help and may recommend euthanasia as anti-freeze poisoning is a slow and painful death.

Liver – most cats love eating liver.  A small amount is good for them but eat too much and their bones can fuse together.  It’s bizarre but it does happen, we’ve seen cats who look arthiritic and can only hobble around – indulging on liver is the cause.  It’s a treat for high days and holidays only.

Cod Liver Oil – it’s fine for dogs (and people) it’s an anti-inflammatory and can help with the pain from arthritis.   It’s a no-no for cats though, it has too much Vitamin A and this is not good for our feline friends.   Better to use a few drops of salmon oil (for shiny coat) and follow the dosage on the bottle.   Sardines and oily fish are alright for tea from time to time though.

Cut flowers – If you have a bunch of flowers and there are lilies in it make sure you put your floral arrangement well away from cats.  If they brush against the pollen it can make them ill.  It isn’t a contact contaminant – the trouble starts if the cat washes herself and ingest some of the lily dust.   Keep lilies away from cats.  This could also happen if you grow them in the garden.

Green water – standing water can have algae growing in it – you’ll see a surface ‘bloom’ of green or yellow or blu-ish colour.   Our fastidious cats aren’t so bothered about drinking stagnant water so this isn’t usually a problem, but if they do decide to slurp some up you’ll be taking them to the vet.  It’s extremely toxic and some pets don’t survive.  It’s usually dogs who succumb, even paddling in it can cause fatalities.  Fresh water every day is the only answer.

Pusscat is settling in

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A comfy bed, a good night’s sleep and what a difference a day makes.  Pusscat enjoyed her fishy breakfast and is settling well.  This timid little cat who was hiding and cringing when she first saw us is coming out of her nest and saying ‘hi folks’ straight away.  She is a sweet and affectionate cat and loves to be fussed.   She was so stressed and frightened when she first came in but now she is gaining in confidence and showing us her loving nature.  It must feel good not to be itching now that she has been de-flea-ed (we used Advocate which zaps fleas, worms and ear mites).   She’s had soothing aloe vera on all her sore places and she’s looking much happier.   Now all we have to do is fatten her up – and get her vaccinated – that’s on tomorrow’s list.

If anyone can buy us some Advocate (get it from the vet) we would be very grateful.  It isn’t the cheapest but we’ve found it to be the most effective, easiest to use and the safest.

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Pusscat is so sad

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This pretty little cat came in because her elderly owner could no longer care for her.  Ill health of owners often means that the pets are neglected, it’s a problem and we are seeing more and more cats and dogs in this state.   Pusscat is quite thin and was covered in fleas (we treated her straight away).  The infestation has left scabs and scores all over her body and round her eyes.   Now the parasites are gone she will soon heal.   It makes cats (and any animal) feel very uncomfortable though, the fleas itch and suck blood so she may be anaemic.  Raw meat, which she likes, will help.

Pusscat is an affectionate little girl but is also timid.  She has to gain confidence at present.   Her ears are dry and crackly with little hair, this may be due to her general lack of condition.  Somebody has cut some of her whiskers off.   It’s something that should never be done to a cat, whiskers are part of their senses.   They will grow again but it will be slow.   So her problems are not life threatening (we hope!) and she will recover given time.

Pusscat is a lovely looking cat, possibly young middle aged, well marked, she is clean and gentle and purrs nicely when she knows she is safe.  We were told when she was brought in that she had been spayed and she will go to be vaccinated later this week.

She has a lovely expression and the most beautiful limpid lemon coloured eyes.  Adoption anyone?

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Fat Cats how to slim them down

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Although Tina, who came in recently with her sister, has a small pretty face, she has a big body and is overweight.  Too long being a couch potato before she came here perhaps.  Both of these sisters were indoor cats and this can make the problem worse.  They eat and sleep and have a fuss and then do it all again!   Cats who go out chasing birds, hunting mice and eyeing up the fella next door use up a lot of energy and stay slim.

Get some exercise –  We don’t like the idea of frantic playing, it can lead to personality changes.  Making cats run round till they are dizzy may help them to lose weight but it can become addictive.  Chasing a feather duster is fun – for a few minutes at a time.   Provide toys but make sure they are natural and haven’t cost the earth (imports from the other side of the world?   No way)   Few cats can resist some screwed up silver paper or a cotton bobbin on a piece of string.  Playtime will help but it isn’t the complete answer to feline weight loss.

What do you do if your plump pet doesn’t want to play?    An overweight cat will probably just yawn.  He can’t be bothered.   You’ll have to make him  ‘hunt’ for his food.   Put a few mouthfuls of chicken on a saucer and put it at the top of the stairs or in the attic.   The porch?  Garage?  Different locations provide interest and exercise.  No more every ready meals and dishes full of factory made mosh waiting in the kitchen.  It encourages him to sit down and slurp it all up.  There’s a lot of sugar in pet food and the cats love it.  Is it good for them though?   It’s why so many cats are unwell – heart disease, diabetes, shortness of breath, allergies………..

Cut out the carbs    –   Small amounts of lean fresh food – chicken, lamb, beef, ham, fish, sardines, mackerel etc. all help to keep his weight down.  A few teaspoonfuls for each meal. Sometimes finely chopped, other times in chunks for chewing.   Only a few biscuits (if any) they are not a natural food and are full of carbs. Isn’t it a myth that biscuits are good for the teeth – does eating biscuits mean that we don’t have to go to the dentist?   Cats keep their teeth in good shape by chewing chunks of meat so don’t cut it all up too fine.  We put ‘Plaque Off’ on all the cats (and dogs) food – the enzymes in it stop plaque developing and help fetch it off if the teeth are already coated.  (We always have it in stock – it’s invaluable).  Cat biscuits are a factory made convenience food and cats have managed to thrive and stay healthy for thousands of years without them!

Dainty dishes –  Change the size of his dish, no more huge plastic bowls – a dainty china saucer is best for a fat cat – it will encourage you to give him less too.   So what about the actual food?   Shoud you buy special weight-watchers menu even if it is more expensive?   We don’t do this because it doesn’t work, it’s factory made processed convenience food and can leave cats feeling disatissfied.  It’s the quality of food that counts.   Cats haven’t evolved to eat dry biscuits or something out of can or pouch!   Fresh food is best for them and a small, lean piece of protein is more satisfying and beneficial than a dish of moshed up carbohydrates and additives. A cat in his wild state is a carnivore, a mouse for breakfast, some flies as an aperitif, a small bird for lunch and a baby bunny for supper.

Small amounts –  Lean meat or fish will help your cat to slim down, he’ll love it too.  Try chicken, lamb or ham occasionally.  Cooked or raw is fine so long as you don’t give too much.   Feed fish as often as you like, cheap cuts, sardines and mackerel are all good for him and he won’t put on weight.  Don’t forget, it’s small portions only.   A cat needs three meals a day, breakfast, dinner and an evening meal.  A good quality pouch of meat or fish will do if you haven’t any fresh meat in. When he’s back to a svelte shape and is feeling more energetic he could have a full pouch for every meal.

While he’s still a fatty you could hide  a small dish with a sardine in a corner of the spare room – he’ll have to find it – and he will when he’s hungry enough.

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Derbyshire Times Featuring the Sanctuary

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‘Cats are not just for Christmas’ is the headline in today’s Derbyshire Times – it’s a feature about the dozens of stray cats who have been brought in or dumped here in the run-up to Christmas.  The photo shows volunteer Jodie (on the left) with Leo (a Maine Coon) and Jo, who is a Sanctuary Manageress and also Adoptions Co-ordinator.

Jo is holding Sapphire who was left for dead in our yard a few weeks ago.   Thankfully both cats are recovering now.   A big thank you to the Derbyshire Times who have highlighted the plight of the unwanted cats and featured our need for cat food and donations to help care for them.

Another abandoned cat

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Isn’t it cruel to just dump a cat somewhere he doesn’t know and where he might not be found?   Last week we had a young cat left out in the rain in our yard.  She was thin and soaking wet, close to death when we found her.   This one has fared a little better, at lest he was put inside.  We found him shut in Reception.   He’s very thin, starving hungry and completely bewildered – Where am I?

Wr urgently need help to feed all these extra mouths – donations of cat food would be very helpful.  Alsoi we have so many cats to take to the vet – vaccinations, health checks, neutering and spaying – even a small donation would be a great help.  Many thanks

He shot up onto a high ledge when we put him in a pen – then came down and began to eat ravenously.   He’s a lovely cat, massive, as bit fluffy, magnificent whiskers.   He has a friendly (although a bit scred at present) temperament.   He looks like a Maine Coone, very handsome and especially lsrge feet.   We’ve called him Leo – he looks a king of the jungle – although not in temperament.  He’s a bit of a wimp!  Where did he come from?   We’d love to know.


Talullah walks on the wild side

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Some cats just aren’t meant to be indoors.  This is Talullah who came in to us as a stray and we soon found out why!   She was stressed by life inside and was very difficult to handle.  Even in a house-sized environment she was tempoeramental – watch those claws!   There was no chance of re-homing her and all we want is for her to be happy.  Would a life with complete freedom be the answer?  We gave Tallulah enough time to get used to us and to her surroundings and then opened the door.  We are quite safe and away from traffic so there was no chance of her getting knocked down.  She could come back for a feed or go into the barn, where there is always a supply of biscuits, whenever she liked.

The wide open spaces beckoned and she was off straight away – would she come back though?  The first couple of days were tense and we didn’t see anything of her.  Yesterday she turned up, purring and happy – a diferent cat in fact.  She wanted a fuss (instead of to attack!) and enjoyed a meal and followed us round while we checked the horses.   She looks very well and full of life and energy, Tallulah is a natural hunter and there are plenty of small rodents to keep her busy.  She went round the fields with us and came back to the barn, a snack on some biscuits and she was off again.   Some cats are pets and like to be indoor cats, others can’t bear to be kept confined – Tallulah, the wild hunter, is one of those.

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Enjoying her dinner al fresco!

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Maybe she is a proper wild cat – she does look like one!