Tag Archives: cat care tips

4 Ways to Make Vet Visits Easier on Fluffy

August 22nd is Take Your Cat To The Vet Day! We know, most kitties would rather stay home and take yet another nap. Cats can get very nervous at their doctors’. We understand this! We know that strange smells and sounds, combined with the scents and presence of other pets, can be a lot for a little furball. We do all we can to make Fluffy’s appointments easy on her, but there are also things you can do. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on making veterinary appointments easy on your feline buddy.

Make The Car Ride Comfy

Although our canine patients usually enjoy car rides, cats are generally much less enthusiastic about them. In fact, for many of our feline pals, the ride itself is more distressing than the appointment. When you have Fluffy in the car, avoid bumpy routes, and try not to start or stop too suddenly. It will also help to crack a window, so your furball always gets some fresh air. Playing the radio softly can also keep your kitty cool. If your furry friend gets extremely nervous, ask your vet about using cat-calming products, like treats and collars. These can really help soothe uneasy pets.

Choose Fear Free

We’re happy to declare our commitment to being Fear Free. That means we take every possible precaution to make appointments easier on our feline friends. This entails doing things like minimizing waiting time, using gentle handling techniques, and making our waiting room as comfy as possible for kitties. These small steps can really add up!

Cozy Carrier

Does your feline friend run for her favorite hiding spot as soon as she sees her carrier? Make it less threatening to her by leaving it out between appointments. Adding comfy bedding and perhaps some fun toys to it will also help. You can also give Fluffy treats, catnip, and attention near the carrier.

Don’t Skip Appointments

Don’t wait until your cat is ill or scratching with fleas to bring her in. Keep up with your furry pal’s preventative and wellness care. This will help keep Fluffy safe from many parasites and diseases. Regular exams also increase the chances of issues being diagnosed early on. Early treatment is always beneficial!

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs.

Adopt a Cat Month

June is Adopt A Cat Month! Of course, we think any time is a good time to adopt a cat. However, this is the purrfect time to add a new kitty to your household. Here, a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses adopting a cat.

Why Adopt A Cat Now?

June tends to be kitten season. At this time of year, the sudden surge of kittens being turned in leaves shelters overloaded and scrambling to care for their furry wards. This year, the coronavirus has made things even more dire. However, it’s also made us really appreciate how good cats are for us. Fluffy has been a huge source of comfort over the past few months. She’s also provided us with quite a bit of comedic relief. Plus, she’s a great lap warmer!

Finding Your Feline

There is certainly no shortage of kitties who are in desperate need of loving homes. However, picking the right pet can be hard. In some cases, you may immediately fall in love with a cute furball. At other times, you may have to think carefully to decide. You may be able to browse adoptable pets online, which might make the choice a bit easier. Listen to your heart, and keep an open mind. Don’t overlook the less adoptable pets, like the one-eared kitty with the funny meow, or the senior cat that just wants ear scritches. Sometimes the cats no one wanted are the best pets!

Things To Consider

Adopting a cat is a wonderful thing to do, and something that will change both your life and Fluffy’s. However, it is a huge decision, so be sure to think things through first. Make sure you are ready to commit to caring for your feline pal for the rest of her life. Adoption is forever!

Helping Animals

When you adopt a cat, you’re also helping other homeless kitties. For one thing, you’re opening up space at the shelter. You’re also helping them financially, as Fluffy’s adoption fees will help the shelter care for other pets.

Purrs

The best thing about adopting a cat is knowing that you’ve made a friend for life. Something pretty magical happens when a kitty looks at you with that adoring look and starts her engine!

Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Adopting a Stray Cat

Have you made friends with a stray kitty? Perhaps Fluffy just showed up on your doorstep one day. Or, maybe you’ve spotted her in your yard on occasion. Chances are, it didn’t take long for your new feline friend to melt your heart. Why not give her a forever home? A Roanoke, VA vet offers tips on adopting a stray cat below.

Considerations

Not all strays will make good pets. Others need a lot of time to go from homeless furball to purring lap cat. It’s worth noting that there is a big difference between stray and feral cats. Strays have been around people before. In fact, many of them are former pets themselves! Feral cats, on the other hand, are completely wild. (An interesting note on this: there’s no physical difference between stray, domestic, and feral cats. However, only domestic kitties hold their tails up. This may be Fluffy’s way of announcing that she has humans.)

Convincing Fluffy

Cats all have their own purrsonalities. Some strays are quite friendly, and will nonchalantly stroll into your home and sprawl out on your couch. Others will be quite scared, and may spend a lot of time hiding, especially at first. A trip to the vet’s is definitely in order, but aside from that, just give Fluffy time to settle in.

Settling In

You may want to keep Fluffy in a quiet back room at first. A spare bedroom or utility room is perfect. Make sure your pet has comfy bedding, food, water, toys, treats, and, of course, a litterbox. You’ll want to spend time with her, but don’t force attention on her. Also, let her come to you. This is very important for building trust! Sit on the floor, cross-legged, hold a treat out, and call her to you. We strongly recommend keeping your cat indoors, however. Play with your kitty daily to burn off excess energy.

Building Trust

It may take some time for your new furball to truly learn to trust you, and realize how comfy the life of a pampered pet is. Offer Fluffy lots of great care and TLC. Many former strays become so comfortable and happy with their humans that they lose all desire to go outdoors. You’ll have that little motor going before you know it!

Please reach out to us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime. We’re happy to help!

Caring for an Aging Cat

Did you know that cats are officially considered seniors by the time they are 11? Our feline friends usually age slowly and gracefully, so you probably won’t’ notice major changes happening very quickly. However, as your furry buddy grows older, you will want to make some changes to her care routine. Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on caring for an aging kitty.

Grooming

Older kitties sometimes have trouble reaching their entire bodies to groom themselves. Brushing Fluffy gently will help keep her fur from getting matted or tangled. This is a good time to check your pet for bumps, bruises, or other signs of trouble.

Playing

Playing is actually great for your kitty! Running and jumping keep her in shape physically, while timing those pounces offers her mental stimulation. Try to play with your feline pal every day. Don’t worry about overdoing it: if Fluffy gets tired, she’ll just walk away and find her next napping spot.

Kitty Luxuries

Fluffy will spend most of her retirement napping and relaxing. Make sure your home has plenty of comfy kitty napping spots. Store-bought beds are fine, but your furball will also enjoy sleeping on an ottoman or chair with soft blankets.

Safety

We recommend that all cats stay indoors. This is especially important for older kitties! Fluffy won’t be as quick or agile as she once was, and may not be able to escape predators. She may also forget how to get home, and will be at higher risk of getting lost.

Confusion

Just like people, cats can get a bit confused and forgetful in their golden years. Fluffy may forget where her water dish is, or get lost on the way to her litterbox. She may meow loudly to vocalize her angst. Just try to soothe her.

Litterboxes

Speaking of litterboxes, you may want to get one with low sides. We also recommend keeping litterboxes on every floor of your home. That way, your cat won’t have to navigate the stairs as much.

Purrs

The most important thing you can do for your feline buddy is just pay attention to her, and make her feel loved. Just be very gentle when picking Fluffy up or putting her down!

Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all of your senior pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Creating a Catio

Do you have a screened porch or patio? If so, you’ve got a perfect spot for a catio! Our feline friends are definitely much safer staying indoors, where they are protected from hazards like weather, predators, traffic, and chemicals. However, they do enjoy getting some fresh air and watching butterflies, birds, and squirrels. Why not give Fluffy the best of both worlds? Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers some great tips on making your furry buddy a catio.

Plants

Many of our feline pals love to nibble on plants. Just be sure to choose pet-safe options. If you like potted trees, you can get an Areca palm, a Ponytail palm, a rubber tree, or a money tree. Ferns are also safe, and look great. If you have a brown thumb, you may want to get something hardy, like a spider plant or cast iron plant. African violets and hibiscus are good for pops of color. You can also add some herbs, like thyme, rosemary, and basil. (Bonus: you’ll also have fresh ingredients for cooking.) Catnip is also a must, of course. Check the ASPCA website here for a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Furniture

No catio is complete without some kitty furniture. A cat tower is a great option here! Your cute pet will gain a napping spot, a jungle gym, and a nail-care station, as well as a place to sunbathe and spy on local wildlife. You can also get Fluffy some soft beds, scratching posts, or even a kitty fountain. For extra purrs, plant some cat grass in a shallow storage tote or an old litterbox. Once it’s grown in, your feline buddy will have her own little ‘lawn’ to look smug on. Don’t forget to add a few pieces for yourself! You may find that your kitty’s catio is a great spot for reading, chatting on the phone, or drinking coffee.

Toys

Don’t forget to add a few toys for Fluffy! You may want to opt for plastic or rubber playthings, though. Catnip mice and other fuzzy/fluffy toys will soon get dusty and rained on. You can also try a mechanical ‘swimming’ fish, or a remote-controlled mouse. This is also a good spot to keep a laser pointer on hand.

Is your furry friend due for an exam, vaccinations, or parasite control? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!

Fluffy’s Goals for 2020

Happy New Year! Are you making resolutions for 2020? If so, your feline buddy will no doubt monitor you closely as you strive to make your new goals. Kitties certainly do like to keep a close eye on their owners! In fact, if Fluffy could make resolutions of her own, she may very well vow to supervise you more carefully. What else do you think your pet would want to achieve? A Roanoke, VA vet lists some options in this article.

Sleep More

Sleeping, as you may know, is Fluffy’s favorite pastime. Some of our feline pals can spend as much as 20 hours a day snoozing! Your drowsy furball may try to improve her napping times this year. Or, she may just want to experiment with dozing off in new places or positions.

Catch That Red Dot

Kitties are always super cute when they’re feeling playful. Interactive play is great fun for Fluffy. If you are controlling that red dot or feather toy, your frisky pet won’t know what her prey is going to do next. Try to play with your cat every day.

Help Around The House

Fluffy is very grateful for the love, food, and care you offer her. Your thoughtful pet may try to reciprocate by giving you a helping paw. Don’t be surprised if your furry friend tries to ‘assist’ as you change the sheets, wrap gifts, or fold laundry!

Distribute Fur More Evenly

Our feline friends have beautiful coats, and they thoughtfully try to share them with us. Fluffy may want to spread her fur around a bit more evenly this year.

World Domination

You may have heard the quote about how cats have never forgotten the fact that the ancient Egyptians considered them divine. Kitties certainly do have a very smug, superior look at times. Have you ever wondered why there are so many cat memes and videos on the internet? Is Fluffy actually trying to take over the world? 2020 may be the year we find out!

Spend Time With The Humans

Kitties are very emotional little furballs, and are always happiest when they feel loved. Fluffy may want to squeeze in more cuddle and lap time this year.

All of us here at Old Dominion Veterinary Clinic, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, want to wish you and your pets a wonderful new year. Please contact us anytime!

Understanding Your Feline Friend’s Hairball Production

Do you own a cat? If so, hairballs are a part of life for you and your feline friend. They’re certainly not pleasant to look at, and it doesn’t seem very pleasant for Fluffy when she coughs one up, but are they dangerous? Learn more here from a Roanoke, VA vet.

Why Do Hairballs Occur?

Your cat grooms herself often, as you know. When she does, tiny barbs lining the tongue pick up much of the loose hair from your cat’s coat. She swallows that hair, and most of it gets moved through the digestive tract normally and is ultimately expelled in the feces. Some of the swallowed hair, however, remains in the gut, clumping together over time to form a hairball. That gets regurgitated eventually, likely accompanied by a small bit of stomach fluid.

Do Hairballs Hurt My Cat in Any Way?

No, the occasional hairball doesn’t hurt your cat. It’s a natural part of life! There’s absolutely nothing to worry about if you see your cat cough up a hairball every now and then.

If your cat coughs up hairballs frequently, something could be causing her to shed more than normal. You’ll want to have your pet checked out at the vet’s office to be safe. Additionally, if your cat is gagging and retching but not producing anything, rush her to the vet’s office—your pet could be choking, or the hairball itself could be lodged in the esophageal tract.

Last but not least: vomiting and coughing up hairballs is not the same thing. If your cat is vomiting frequently, it’s time to see the vet.

How Can I Help My Cat Experience Fewer Hairballs?

You’ll be happy to learn that there are a few simple steps you can take to have your cat cough up fewer hairballs. That’s more pleasant for her, and it leaves less of a mess for you! First, brush your cat regularly; this removes a lot of the loose hair from Fluffy’s coat, preventing her from swallowing it in the first place. Secondly, make sure that your cat is receiving a high quality diet that contains all of the proper nutrients. When your cat’s nutrition is in tip-top shape, her coat of fur stays healthy with minimal shedding.

Does your cat need a veterinary exam? Schedule your four-legged friend’s next appointment right here at your Roanoke, VA animal hospital. We’re here for you!

Grooming a Longhaired Cat

Do you have a super fluffy feline? Kitties are all cute, but longhaired ones can be extra adorable. They also require a bit of extra work. That’s a lot of fur for a kitty to care for! Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet discusses grooming longhaired cats.

Supplies

You may need a few different supplies for your pet. Wire slicker brushes remove dead fur and prevent tangles, while undercoat rakes are good for kitties with double coats. You may also want a de-shedding tool, as well as a softer brush for Fluffy’s head and paws. Mat combs, as the name suggests, are helpful for removing tangles. Flea combs can also come in handy.

Bathing

You don’t necessarily have to bathe Fluffy. However, you can if you want to. It also isn’t a bad idea to get your feline friend used to the idea of being bathed. This will make your life much easier if she ever gets something spilled on her fur. Use warm-not hot water, and an unscented shampoo made specifically for cats. To avoid getting suds in your kitty’s eyes, ears, or mouth, use a pitcher or teapot for rinsing.

Brushing

Most longhaired kitties need to be brushed regularly. This serves several purposes. For one thing, they often get knots and tangles, particularly under their arms and legs, which need to be removed. This will also help prevent hairballs. Hairballs happen when cats ingest fur while grooming themselves. If you grab that dead hair before Fluffy swallows it, you’ll be doing both yourself and your pet a favor. This is also a good way to monitor your feline pal’s health, as you may notice bumps, cuts, or other issues earlier than you would otherwise. Last but not least, your furball will feel loved and safe and, hopefully, a bit pampered.

Trims

Kitties sometimes get dirt, litter, or fecal matter stuck to their bottoms. You may want to trim some of the fur around your furry pal’s behind. Just be sure to only use blunt-end scissors.

Face

Certain longhaired breeds, such as Persians, are brachycephalic. These kitties have adorable pushed-in faces. However, they are also prone to tear stains. Clean Fluffy’s face gently, using a damp clean cloth or cotton ball.

Do you have questions about grooming your pet? Please feel free to contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic! We’re here to help!

5 Things You Learn When You Adopt a Senior Cat

November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month! This is a wonderful cause, and one that we are happy to support. Older cats have many wonderful qualities, but they often have a very hard time finding forever homes. That’s really sad, because there are some great benefits to adopting a senior furball. Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet lists some things you find out when you bring home a kitty in her golden years.

No Surprises

When you get a kitten, it isn’t always easy to know what your furry buddy will look like as an adult, or what sort of purrsonality she’ll develop. With older cats, however, what you see is what you get. If Fluffy is cuddly at the shelter, she’ll likely be just as snuggly when you get her home.

Senior Cats Are Very Calm

When you adopt a kitten, you’re basically bringing a tiny, four-legged bundle of mischief into your home. Kittens are adorable, but they need lots of supervision and training. Older cats, however, are more interested in snoozing on your lap than in pouncing on your toes or climbing the counters. There is a lot to be said for having a sleepy, relaxed pet!

Small Touches Make Kitties Happy

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that really make us happy. This is also true for cats! Keep Fluffy comfy and cozy by offering kitty luxuries like soft beds, pet stairs, and thermal blankets. Your pet will also appreciate having a litterbox with low walls. Leaving a nightlight on for your feline pal is another small touch that can make a difference.

Older Cats Are Adorable

There’s no denying that kittens are almost impossibly cute. However, our feline buddies are just as charming as adults as they are when they are little. Older kitties are also very cute and lovable, and are often extremely affectionate. Purrs from senior cats are truly precious!

Helping A Kitty In Need Feels Great

Giving a sweet older furball a home is a beautiful act of kindness, and something to really feel proud of. You’ll also be helping other cats, both by promoting great animal welfare and by freeing up space at the shelter.

Please call us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your senior cat. We love keeping older kitties healthy and purring!

DIY Cat Toys

Did you know that playing is beneficial to your cat, both mentally and physically? Kitties can get bored and unhappy with nothing to do all day. Making sure Fluffy has plenty of toys is very important! You don’t have to break the bank buying cat toys, however. There are lots of great playthings you can make your feline buddy. Making cat toys is also a great rainy-day project for kids. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some cute DIY kitty toys below.

Catnip Mice

For the easy version of this, just take some baby socks, stuff them with catnip, and sew the openings shut. Voila! If you want something a bit more involved, you can use patterns to create specific shapes. Add felt ears and pipe-cleaner whiskers if you like!

Toilet Paper Roll

You can do quite a bit with the cardboard tubes from toilet paper or paper towels. Cut them into rings, and assemble them into small balls. Then, put some catnip in the middle. Or, put some treats inside the roll, and then fold the corners into an ‘envelope.’ You can also just cut narrow strips into the ends, then fold them back. Look online for more options.

Cardboard Mouse

In just a few minutes, you can turn a piece of cardboard into a little ‘mouse’ for your kitty to bat around. Trace an outline of a mouse shape, and cut it out. To add depth, glue two together, or make a little ‘fin’ section out of another piece of cardboard.

Puzzle Toy

Take the tube from a can of potato chips. You can peel off the label or cover the can with contact paper. Another option is to glue thick wrapping or parcel paper onto it. Be sure to make the edges neat, so the lid still fits! Then, use a round object to trace circles onto the tube. Cut the circles out with an X-acto knife. Drop a catnip mouse into the tube, close the lid, and tell your feline pal not to use it. She’ll immediately start playing with it!

Pipe Cleaner Kitty Toy

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Take two pipe cleaners, and twist them into a little ball shape. Just be sure there are no sharp parts sticking out! Presto!

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA pet hospital, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!