Domestic Cats Should Have More Food in Winter

The study is interesting but hardly conclusive (15% for example is not at all a proven figure). It was a limited number of cats and limited in other ways but does provide some indication that increase eating during winter, if food is available. If you limit food in order to keep the cat from getting too fat you might want to vary the amount a bit based on the season.

Seasonal Variation in the Voluntary Food Intake of Domesticated Cats

Periods of peak and trough food intake coincided with peaks and troughs in both temperature and daylight length. In conclusion, average food intake in summer is approximately 15% less than food intake during the winter months, and is likely to be due to the effects of outside temperatures and differences in daylight length. This seasonal effect in food intake should be properly considered when estimating daily maintenance energy requirements in cats.

Food intake was greatest during the months of late autumn and winter (e.g. October to February).

In conclusion, a seasonal effect on voluntary food intake exists in domesticated cats, whereby food intake is greater in winter and less in summer. These changes in food intake are likely to be the result of changes in ambient temperature, daylight length, or both, and the fact that they do not cause bodyweight changes suggest that they occur in response to changes in energy requirements. The possible effect of climatic variation on voluntary food intake in pet cats should be considered in companion animals, and may mean that feeding strategies may need to be seasonally adjusted, to ensure that availability meets demand at different times of the year.

Related: Feeding Your CatGiving Your Cat Fresh Water from a FountainHow attached cats are to their owners?

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Boarding Cats and Dogs at a Kennel

One of the challenges with pets is how to care for them if you are away. You might trust a few of your friends with your wonderful pets 🙂 When that works it is great. Sometimes you can even win over those unfortunate pet-less souls to improve their lives with a wonderful cat. Or maybe even a dog, though that seems to be a step down in my opinion 🙂

Sometimes you can find a trustworthy kid to help you out. You can try virtual pet sitting with a remote camera and hopefully robot.

But occasionally that won’t work. There are wonderful pet spas to board you pets, but finding one you trust can be a challenge. Showing their 2nd class nature again 🙂 some dogs even require daycare even just for a workday. I don’t know of cats that are so needy 🙂

Obviously you want to be sure the place is clean and the kennels are safe and comfortable for the pets. But the competence and caring of the staff is critical and it can be a bit difficult to judge. Recommendations from friends are nice, from a vet you trust might be even better (they have the opportunity for so much feedback that if bad things are happening they would likely know). Checking on any required licenses and registrations is also wise (what is available would vary by state in the USA).

Pet spas should allow you to bring in food your pet prefers as well as toys (again needy dogs :-), most likely, but maybe for some cats too). I definitely would make a visit prior to leaving my pet.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask Your Vet About Cat MedicationsKitten’s Curiosity Gets it Stuck and Mom Comes to Help

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Why Do Cats Knead Us?

This webcast provides an explanation of why cats knead us.

Related: Teaching a Kitten How to Play Nice with PeopleLearn more about feeding your catGetting Your Kitten Started Toward Good Behavior

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How attached cats are to their owners?

Sadly the video link was broken so I removed it.

Daniel Mills, professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at the University of Lincoln (in UK) carried out experiments to study the emotional attachments of cats to their owner in comparison to humans and dogs.

Related: Getting Your Kitten Started Toward Good BehaviorGiving Your Cat Fresh Water from a Fountain

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Overweight Cats

Obesity in pets is a common problem. With ready food, if they don’t have an easy way (and sometimes even if they do) to burn off the calories they will gain weight. Cats will have many of the same problems overweight people have with their health: diabetes, joint pain…

Cats are a bit less likely to suffer from this problem (cats regulate eating better than dogs do, in general). In some cases cats can get significant extra food by hunting when you let them out to play.

ASPSA advice

Is your cat too fat? As a subjective assessment of body condition, you should be able to feel the backbone and palpate the ribs in an animal of healthy weight. If you cannot feel your pet’s ribs without pressing, there is too much fat.

Also, you should see a noticeable “waist” between the back of the rib cage and the hips when looking at your pet from above. Viewed from the side, there should be a “tuck” in the tummy—the abdomen should go up from the bottom of the rib cage to inside the thighs. Cats who fail these simple tests may be overweight.

How to get overweight or obese cats back in shape from Web MD

An estimated 57% of U.S. cats are overweight or obese, according to a 2008 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

An indoor cat needs planned exercise. The best exercise is object play – playing with your cat with toys. That’s the answer to exercise problems.

Cats are predators, and the way to get them to play is to let them use their hunting talents. Buy toys and then use them to mimic the actions of the animals a cat would normally hunt – a mouse, bird, lizard, rabbit or bug.

Cat owners know they have distinct personalities so you need to discover what works for you and your cat. Passive toys don’t work nearly as well as one you animate for them or self propelled toys, like: . Maybe if you are lucky your cat will use your treadmill 🙂

Related: Feeding Your CatSphero, the Robotic Ball You Control with Your Smart PhoneCat Running in Circles

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Getting Your Kitten Started Toward Good Behavior

Kittens are wonderfully curious and playful: occasionally this also includes annoying and even dangerous. Here are some tips to help get your kitten started off right:

video removed 🙁

Make sure you provide plenty of health outlets for their boundless curiosity (by the way what kind of crazy language drops the second u in curious when writing curiosity? English). I personally have found great success engaging with kittens and they then seem to want to make you happy as cats, though they still decide to hunt me every once and awhile and jump onto my legs with claws out 🙁

Related: Teaching a Kitten How to Play Nice with PeopleTrain Your Cat to Use Your Toilet

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Cat Allergy Vaccine Created

McMaster University researchers have developed a vaccine which successfully treats people with an allergy to cats. Traditionally, frequent allergy shots have been considered the most effective way to bring relief — other than getting rid of the family pet — for the 8 to 10% of the population allergic to cats.

Both options, may now be avoided thanks to the work of immunologist Mark Larché, professor at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Allergy & Immune Tolerance.

Building on research he’s conducted for the past 10 years in Canada and Britain, Larché and his research team have developed a vaccine which is effective and safe with almost no side effects. The research is published in a the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, a leading journal in the allergy field.

The researchers took one protein (molecule) that cats secrete on their fur which causes the majority of allergic problems. Using blood samples from 100 patient volunteers allergic to cats, they deconstructed the molecule and identified short regions within the protein which activate T-cells (helper cells that fight infection) in the immune system.

Known as “peptide immunotherapy,” a low dose of the vaccine is given into the skin. Initially, four to eight doses a year may be required, but the side effects of the traditional allergy shots do not arise, Larché said. The optimal dose will be determined in phase three clinical trials which are getting underway with a much larger group of cat allergy sufferers.

The vaccine will not be available until the phase 3 trial is completed successfully.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask Your Vet About Cat MedicationsHow to Give Your Cat a Pill

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10 Questions to Ask Your Vet About Cat Medications

The US Food and Drug Administration recommends asking your veterinarian these 10 questions about medication prescriptions for your pet.

  1. Why has my cat been prescribed this medication and how long do I need to give it?
  2. How do I give the medication to my cat? Should it be given with food?
  3. How often should the medication be given and how much should I give each time? If it is a liquid, should I shake it first?
  4. How do I store the medication? Do I need to refrigerate it?
  5. What should I do if my cat vomits or spits out the medication?
  6. If I forget to give the medication, should I give it as soon as I remember or wait until the next scheduled dose? What if I accidentally give too much?
  7. Should I finish giving all of the medication, even if my cat seems to be back to normal?
  8. Could this medication interact with other medications my pet is taking?
  9. What reactions should I watch for, and what should I do if I see any side effects?

  10. When should I bring my pet back for a recheck? Will you be calling me to check on my pet’s progress, or should I call you?

Related: How to Give Your Cat a Pill

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How to Give Your Cat a Pill

Keeping your cat healthy is important. Occasionally that may mean having to give your cat pills.

For some cats it is helpful to wrap them in a blanket to keep them from being able to get escape from your grasp or to scratch you.

Some cats will be fine with taking pills but some won’t like it at all. If you cat is very difficult you can trying putting the pill in food. Put it in some soft treat you occasionally give them and they will often take it without any problems but be careful to make sure they eat the pill.

If that won’t work, ask your veterinarian, if it is ok to crush the pill and put it in wet cat food. Some pills can’t be safely taken this way so check with a vet first.

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Giving Your Cat Fresh Water from a Fountain

Drinking enough water is important for cats to remain healthy. Cats are prone to urinary track illnesses that can be exacerbated by not drinking enough water. And some cats will drink less if the water isn’t fresh. The Drinkwell water fountain can help by providing water the cat is more willing to drink (the fountain process and filter keep the water from seeming stale). You will need to add water every few days but you can add it less often than if you just put it in a bowl.

And your cat might find adventurous ways to drink, like the cat in the video above.

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