Tag Archives: cat care tips

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!

Respect Your Cat Day

Did you know that March 28th is Respect Your Cat Day? We know, our feline pals demand respect every day. However, while indulging your cat with catnip mice is great, the best way to show your kitty proper respect is to simply make sure that her needs are being met. A local Roanoke, VA vet offers tips on how to do that in this article.

Toys

Although your furry friend will spend a rather excessive amount of time snoozing, she can’t sleep all the time. Make sure your feline buddy has plenty of entertainment options for when she is awake. It’s also important to offer your kitty something to watch. A window seat with a good view is purrfect.

Facilities

Make sure to keep your four-legged friend’s powder room nice and clean. Cats hate dirty bathrooms! We recommend scooping the litterbox out daily, and changing the litter thoroughly every week.

Veterinary Care

We recommend that all kitties be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept current on vaccinations and parasite control. Most cats should see the vet for wellness care at least once a year, once they are fully grown. It’s also important to watch for signs of sickness. Fluffy often tries to hide signs of illness, so you may not notice anything until she is quite sick. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.

Purrniture

Kitties love to explore little nooks and crannies. Get Fluffy some pet furniture with small spaces she can hide in. Cat towers are great as well, as they offer our feline friends scratching posts, jungle gyms, napping spots, and lookout points, all in one.

Comfort

As you may have noticed, cats are rather fond of napping. In fact, sleeping is probably Fluffy’s favorite pastime. Make sure your kitty has plenty of comfy bed and napping spots to snuggle up in. (Of course, your cute pet may ignore her bed and sleep in a shoebox, but that’s beside the point.)

Keeping Kitty Content

Cats may have a reputation for being cold and aloof, but at the end of the day, they can be very affectionate. Pay lots of attention to your furball. Talk to her, play with her, and let her snuggle up with you when she wants.

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

4 Cute Ways to Spoil Your Cat

Kitties are very popular pets, and with good reason. Fluffy is not only super cute, she’s also very lovable and cuddly, not to mention entertaining. She’s also quite an easy keeper! Giving your feline buddy good food, a clean litterbox, and regular veterinary care will see to her most essential needs. But what does it take to really pamper a cat? Read on as a Troutville, VA vet lists some super cute ways to spoil your feline friend.

Kitty Garden

We recommend that cats live indoors, as they are both safer and healthier as indoor pets. However, you can still give your furball a taste of nature. Set out some pet-safe plants for Fluffy, so she can peek out at you from behind green leaves and pretend she is a ferocious predator. Just be sure to only choose non-toxic plants. You can find a full list at the ASPCA website here.

Vertical Space

Kitties can’t see very much from floor level, so they often like to climb to higher vantage points to get a better look at their kingdoms. Consider getting Fluffy a cat tower, so she can peer down at her domain. This will also provide Fluffy with a napping spot, a jungle gym, and a manicure station. Your furry friend may also enjoy some wall-mounted furniture, like kitty shelves or a catwalk.

Playthings

Playing is very important to your kitty’s health and well-being. A fun play session will not only get Fluffy off the couch and moving, it will also provide her with beneficial mental stimulation. Classic pet toys, like catnip mice, are fine, but you can also offer your furball a cute modern toy, like a robotic mouse. Offer Fluffy a variety of playthings, and see what she likes best. We also recommend playing with your cat regularly. It will be fun for you both!

Love and Cuddles

We may like to joke about how Fluffy is cold and calculating, but the truth is, kitties are really very emotional, and form very strong bonds with their human pals. Spend time with your feline buddy every day, and pay lots of attention to her. Purrs and kitty kisses are both truly precious gifts in our book!

Please contact us, your Troutville, VA veterinary clinic, with any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care. We’re dedicated to providing excellent care!