Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity and safety of various human foods and even dog foods. Clients often ask many questions including can cats eat dog food?

The question about the safety of foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Below, we will review the safety of dog food for cats.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

The answer to the question, “can cats eat dog food”… the answer is yes. Cats can eat dog food but only in moderation. Although most cats don’t care for it some cats do enjoy eating it.

The Dangers of Dog Food to Cats

Some cat owners, especially those with multiple cats or those that feed outdoor cats may be tempted to buy dog food. The costs of dog food can be half of cat food for the same size bag depending on the brand and quality of food.

The answer is pretty simple. You should not feed cats dog food for the majority of their calories. This is because cats have different nutritional requirements than dogs. Dog food does not fulfill the nutritional needs of cats.

Differences Between Dog and Cat Foods

There are several differences between cat and dog food. The primary differences include:

  • Protein — Total protein levels in dog foods tend to be lower than for cat foods. This represents another significant reason not to feed our felines food that’s meant for dogs. Though some dog foods do offer very high levels of protein, most don’t offer the percentage of protein our carnivorous cats require.
  • Taurine — Taurine is considered an essential amino acid for cats. Therefore, all cats require it. Dogs, on the other hand, can make their own taurine, which is why many dog foods are deficient in this nutrient. If a cat is fed a canine diet lacking sufficient levels of taurine, blindness and a heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are the most common outcomes.
  • Note: Taurine deficiency also happens when cats eat a fish-only diet since fish meat is largely deficient in this amino acid. Which is why you might’ve heard that tuna is “bad” for cats (but isn’t unless you’re not feeding an otherwise balanced diet).
  • Vitamin A — Dogs have the ability to turn beta carotene into Vitamin A, a feat cats’ bodies can’t manage. That’s why Vitamin A must be supplied in cat food. While plenty of dog foods may contain additional vitamin A, they aren’t necessarily formulated to offer the amounts a cat requires for a lifetime of optimum health. A variety of non-specific symptoms and disease states can result when cats don’t receive sufficient levels of Vitamin A in their food.
  • Arachidonic acid — Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that dogs can build themselves. Cats, on the other hand, require the real thing. Cats who eat dog foods low in arachidonic acid levels will suffer a variety of nonspecific symptoms.
  • Palatability Dogs and cats perceive food differently. For example, among other differences, cats don’t have the ability to taste anything sweet. Their reduced range for what they consider palatable helps explain why dog food doesn’t tend to attract cats as much as cat food does dogs. However, there are some cats that actually like dog food and will steal kibble from the dog bowl.

Do Cats Need Dog Food?

There is nothing in dog food that cats require on a regular basis. In fact, feeding dog food to a cat on a regular basis will cause nutritional deficiencies.

Cats require a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Dog Food to Cats

It is not recommended to feed dog food to cats. The best thing to do is to feed a high-quality cat food.

How Much Dog Food Can You Give a Cat?

Many cats sneak and eat some dog food. It is not toxic and a few kibbles will not cause harm. As long as they also have access to eat high-quality cat food for the majority of his or her calories, there should not be a problem.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Dog Food?

While it is possible for a cat to be allergic to any food, cats are not allergic to dog food in general. However, cats can have food allergies and if they ingest an ingredient they are allergic to that is in the dog food, it is possible for them to be allergic to that food.

Who Can You Call About Suspected Toxicity in Cats?

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Can Cats Eat Strawberries?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat strawberries. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Strawberries?

A strawberry is a round, oblong, spherical, or heart-shaped soft sweet red fruit with a seed-studded surface grown from a strawberry plant. The world production of strawberries is estimated to be nearly 10 million ton/year.

The strawberry plant is a low growing green plant that produces white flowers that yield the strawberry fruit. They are grown worldwide. Strawberries are commonly eaten by themselves or prepared in foods such as pies, ice cream, milkshakes, energy drinks, salad dressings, preserves, fruit smoothies, fruit bars, candy, or enjoyed covered in chocolate. The flavor and aromas of strawberries are common in candy, perfume, cosmetics, candles, and many more products.

It is believed that the first strawberry was bred in France and came to North American in the mid-1700s. The strawberry has received recent press discussing that it is not classified as a traditional “berry” based on the biology of the plant and that it is technically an “accessory fruit.”

The answer to the question, “can cats eat strawberries”… the answer is yes. Cats can eat strawberries but in moderation. Although most cats don’t care for fruit including strawberries, some cats do enjoy the soft moist texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Strawberries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C.

The Dangers of Strawberries to Cats

Ingestion of large amounts of strawberries can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. Although uncommon in cats, ingestion of strawberry stems and plants can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The leaves and plant, while not toxic, are very difficult to digest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

The other danger of strawberries to cats is the danger of choking – especially when eating a large whole strawberry. Some cats are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

Please be careful if your cat eats anything strawberry flavored that contains the sweetener xylitol. Xylitol toxicity is well documented in dogs but not in cats. Although not found to be a problem in cats, it is safest to avoid giving your cat anything strawberry flavored sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is a common ingredient in diet or low-calorie pastries and drinks, especially those created for people with diabetes. Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.

Do Cats Need Strawberries?

There is nothing in strawberries that cats require on a regular basis. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Strawberries to Cats

The safest way to give some strawberry to your cat is to give small pieces of clean fresh strawberry. Cats should never be fed the strawberry stem or leaves.

How Many Strawberries Can You Give a Cat?

One medium-sized strawberry cut up is plenty to give a small cat, two to three for a medium-sized cat, and three or four medium-sized strawberries for a large sized cat.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Strawberries?

While it is possible a cat to be allergic to anything, cat allergies to strawberries are uncommon.

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Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat peanut butter. There has also been a lot of press about the toxicity of peanut butter in dogs. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

The answer to the question, “can cats eat peanut butter”… the answer is yes. Cats can eat peanut butter but in moderation. Although most cats don’t care for it some cats do enjoy the soft creamy texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack.

The Dangers of Peanut Butter to Cats

The traditional peanut butter that we all grew up with and loved contained ground peanuts as the main ingredient and oil to give the peanut butter is creamy smooth texture. Many companies add a bit of sugar, honey or molasses to give the peanut butter some sweetness and salt for flavor.

However, some peanut butter manufacturers are adding xylitol to peanut butter, which is toxic to dogs. Xylitol is a sweeter used in place of sugar primarily because it is lower in calories. Xylitol is also an ingredient in many different gums and even baked goods. It is in many products designed for people with diabetes due to its low glycemic index. Xylitol can be highly toxic to dogs! The peanut kinds of butter that contain xylitol include: Go Nuts, Co.; Hank’s Protein Plus Peanut Butter; Krush Nutrition; Nuts ‘N More; and P28. Learn more — go to Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

However, neither peanut butter nor xylitol has been shown to be toxic to cats. However, the best thing to do before feeding your cat peanut butter is to check the ingredients of your peanut butter before sharing with your cat and if you see the ingredient xylitol, avoid giving it to your cat. There is some concern amongst veterinarian that xylitol could be a problem in cats but just has not yet been documented.

Although uncommon in cats, ingestion of large amounts of peanut butter can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

Do Cats Need Peanut Butter?

There is nothing in peanut butter that cats require on a regular basis. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Peanut Butter to Cats

The safest way to give some peanut butter to your cat is to give a dab of fresh peanut butter. To be safest, cats should never be fed peanut butter containing xylitol.

How Much Peanut Butter Can You Give a Cat?

One-half teaspoon of peanut butter is plenty to give a cat.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Peanut Butter?

While it is possible for a cat to be allergic to anything, cat allergies to peanut butter are uncommon.

Who Can You Call About a Suspected Toxicity in Cats?

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Can Cats Eat Grapes?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat grapes. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Grapes?

Grapes date back 6,000 to 8,000 years and are grown in bunches and are found in many varieties in most parts of the world. A grape is a round, oblong, spherical shaped sweet soft red fruit that comes in either seeded or seedless varieties. Grapes grow on vines and are generally green and change color to green, purple, red or black as they ripen. Grapes can be eaten fresh or used to make jam, jelly, grape seed oil, wine, juice, vinegar, or dried into raisins.

The answer to the question, “Can cats eat Grapes?” is yes. Cats can eat grapes but in moderation. Although most cats don’t care for fruit including grapes, some cats do enjoy the soft moist texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Grapes are a good source of antioxidants and nutrients. They are also relatively low in calories and fat-free.

The Dangers of Grapes to Cats

Ingestion of large amounts of grapes can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. Although extremely uncommon in cats, ingestion of grape stems and plants can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The leaves and plant, while not toxic, are very difficult to digest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

Grape or raisin toxicity has not been documented in cats. However, grapes can be toxic and dangerous to dogs. Learn more in this article: Grape and Raisin Toxicosis in Dogs. However, one has to wonder if this is because of how frequently cats eat grapes and raisin and the subsequent document of toxicity.

Do Cats Need Grapes?

There is nothing in grapes that cats require on a regular basis. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Grapes to Cats

The safest way to give some grape to your cat is to give small pieces of cleanly cut up fresh grape. Cats should never be fed the grape stem or leaves. However, there are safer snacks and treats to give cats.

How Many Grapes Can You Give a Cat?

One medium-sized grape cut up is plenty to give a cat. There are better and more nutritional foods to feed cats and therefore we recommend other snacks and foods.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Grapes?

While it is possible a cat to be allergic to anything, cat allergies to grapes are uncommon.

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Pet Loss: Dealing with the Loss of a Cat

Dealing with the Loss of a Cat

The loss of any close friend can be devastating, and a cat can be among our closest companions. A cat frequently provides unconditional love, emotional security, and loyalty. Routine activities with an animal companion often provide structure, fun, relaxation, and social contact in our daily lives. The death of a cherished cat can mean the loss of an entire lifestyle as well as a devoted companion. Lack of understanding and support from people around us can make this period even more difficult.

Be Prepared

In some instances the death of a cat can be anticipated; the animal may be very old or suffering from an extended illness. Other cat owners may face a sudden loss – the result of an accident or short-term illness. Things that will need to be considered with a gravely ill or seriously injured animal include the cat’s quality of life, emotional and financial cost, and when or if euthanasia should be considered. It is best to have contemplated these difficult matters beforehand.

Accept and Express Your Feelings

It is important to understand that grief is a personal experience and there are no right or wrong ways to feel it. The most important part of healing is to acknowledge what you are feeling and somehow release it. Try writing your thoughts down in a journal. A good long cry can help, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to your friends or a counselor.

You’re Not Alone: Pet Loss Support

Seek out support. Well-meaning friends who don’t understand the bond between you and your cat may say, “He was only a cat.” Others may encourage you to “get another one,” as if your lifelong companion could be easily replaced. This can make expression of your pain even harder. It is important to realize that you are not alone. A support group can act as a wonderful resource for consolation and affirmation.

Do What You Can to Ease the Pain of the Loss of a Cat

Share your thoughts and feelings with others. Talk. Write. Many people find comfort in rituals, like paying their final respects with a brief service or setting up a small memorial with photos and objects that had significance in the cat’s life, such as a collar, bowl, or toy. It’s important to set aside time to think about the good times and remember to pay extra attention to surviving pets. They may need consolation during this difficult period too.

Special Friendships, Special Concerns

The death of a long-time companion can be particularly painful for those who shared a unique relationship with their cat. This includes anyone whose cat was the sole or primary companion, or who was either physically or emotionally dependent upon their cat. Children, the elderly, and handicapped cat owners often have unique bonds with companion animals and may need special attention and support when a cat dies.

Recognizing the tasks of grief can give you landmarks on the path to resolution, and help you recognize that your feelings are normal. The term “task” is used rather than “stage” to avoid giving the impression that grief is something marked by well-defined milestones. The mourner should not feel that he or she must follow some pre-set list, each lasting a determined period of time.

Remember that the grieving process for each individual is as unique as each lost relationship. There is no set pattern or time period for recovery, but there are some general patterns.

  • Denial. Most people will experience a period of denial, refusing to believe the cat is dying or has died. Denial is usually strongest when there is little time for acceptance, such as with an accident or short-term illness.
  • Bargaining. For cats facing imminent death, many people will try to make a deal with God, themselves, or even the cat, in a desperate attempt to deter fate.
  • Anger. In frustration, anger may be directed at anyone involved with the cat, including friends, family, veterinarians, and even the cat owner himself.
  • Guilt. Guilt is probably the most common emotion resulting from the death of a companion animal. As the cat’s primary caretaker, all decisions regarding care are the owner’s responsibility. When a cat dies, the owner often feels guilty about actions taken or not taken, even about things that happened before the cat became ill. The most attentive caretaker may feel he or she should have somehow done more. But we all do our best with the information, knowledge, and resources available to us. It is important to try not to second-guess the decisions you made along the way, and to remember that you tried to act in your cat’s best interest.
  • Depression. Depression can indicate the start of acceptance. It is normal to withdraw and contemplate the meaning of the relationship in solitude. Deep and lasting despondency, however, requires professional help.
  • Acceptance. Now is the time to remember the good times. The daily reminders become a little less painful. You find you can now start to think about the future.

When Is It Time to Consider Another Cat?

A new cat is just that – a new cat. He or she can never replace the cat you lost. If you decide to get another cat, you will be entering into an entirely new and different relationship. Be sure that you are psychologically, physically, and financially ready and willing to commit the time and energy needed to care for a new companion, without resentment or unrealistic expectations.

Read other articles Related to Loss of a Cat

How to Handle the Loss of a Pet

Tips to Help You and Your Family Deal with the Loss of a Pet

Pets become an important part of our lives, and losing them can be devastating. Every loss is different, and how a person responds is unique. Below we will share some ways people respond to the loss of a pet, provide some tips on how to better deal with the loss of a pet, and share some tips on how to best help support children and help them understand the loss of a pet.

Dealing with the Loss of a Pet – Children vs. Adults

As adults, our understanding of death is very different from a child’s. The understanding and comprehension a child has about death depend largely on their age. Death may or may not be permanent in the mind of a child. Read this article for a good understanding of what children understand about death at different ages. Go to How to Tell Your Child About Putting a Dog Down: Dos and Don’ts. If you have pets and children, this article is a must-read.

As adults, our ability to deal with the loss of a pet can depend on many factors. These can include our prior experience with loss and death, other stressors in our lives, our individual relationship with a particular pet, and our family or social support network. There are many different ways a person can respond to the loss of a pet.

How People Deal with the Loss of a Pet

As a veterinarian, I’ve seen just about every reaction to the loss of a pet you can imagine. For some, the pet was their child or family member. They grieve deeply. Others have verbally told me “it was just a dog,” and that is that. No tears. No emotion. And I’ve seen every emotion in between.

Below are some reactions to the loss of a pet that stand out in my mind:

  • Hard being strong. Some individuals get their first pet as young adults, start a family, and find themselves losing a pet with their children. As they work through their own grief, they have to be strong for their family. Sometimes there is concurrent guilt as they reflect how their pet was number one for many years, then became a lower priority as life changed.
  • Suicidal thoughts. I’ve had clients tell me they didn’t want to live after the loss of a pet. This is just about the hardest thing to deal with. Anyone that considers self-harm or contemplates suicide must seek help from a professional. An excellent article that walks you through the stages of grief and support options was written by Bonnie Mader, who was the co-founder of a Pet Loss Support Hotline at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Read her full article here (which includes support phone numbers): Pet Loss Support: Helping You Cope After Your Dog’s Death. There are pet loss counselors — read this interview at Pet Grief Support: Talking with a Pet Loss Counselor.
  • Guilt. A number of clients focus on guilt with the loss of a pet. Guilt can originate from thoughts that they were busy and believe they neglected their pet’s signs of illness until it was advanced. Or, it can have to do with limited financial resources to provide possible life-saving medical care. Some find it difficult to grieve properly due to their guilt.
  • Memorial. Many pet lovers place some of their grief and emotional energy in creating a memorial or tribute to their beloved friend. I’ve seen this in the form of a funeral (some quite elaborate), a photo album, and/or artistic creations such as a painting. Some find a special urn for the ashes and place it in a particular area in their homes and lives.
  • Save the ashes. Some clients find comfort in having their pets cremated and saving their ashes to be later buried with them or mixed with their own ashes. Several believe that this allows them to be together forever and provides comfort.
  • Silence. Some pet owners cope by not talking about their loss and trying to put it out of their mind. If I see them in the clinic, their pet never comes up and if it is mentioned for any reason, they shut that conversation down with a quick topic change.
  • Lost. Some clients become somewhat lost and want to be alone. They avoid social activities and family functions. I’ve actually had clients not want to come back to a hospital because of their profound memories of dealing with a pet’s loss.
  • Rituals. Over the years, I’ve had clients perform quite simple to elaborate rituals to mourn the passing of a pet. For years, I had a client come to the hospital and request to light a candle in a room where she euthanized her 20-year-old pet that had cancer. She felt closer to her pet and believed she felt its spirit present. Another client celebrates her dog’s birthday every year with a glass of wine, close friends, and a stroll through memory lane with a photo album.
  • Sadness. My first pet was named Kali. She died unexpectedly when I was in college and to say I was devastated is an understatement. I still cry when I think of her and become sad. I’ve learned to box off those emotions, at least most of the time. Occasionally I see a cat that reminds me of her and an involuntary tear is shed. Feelings of loss and sadness are common and can continue for years.
  • Jewelry. Another way clients take comfort in this difficult time is to have jewelry made from their pet’s ashes. I frequently have clients show their special pieces of jewelry for pets that I have cared for. They have truly found comfort in knowing their pet is with them all the time when they wear their jewelry.
  • Fake strength. Some try to be strong, they may even say the wrong things, they may even be inappropriate with a joke or laughter, while being devastated by the loss of their special friend. Some find comfort in physically carrying their pet out of the clinic and going home to dig a burial hole. Sometimes the physical act of digging a hole allows them some personal time to say goodbye and provides closure.

Many of these responses described can be categorized into the stages of grief that include anger, denial, depression, acceptance, and bargaining. Learn more about these stages — go to Pet Loss Support: Helping You Cope After Your Dog’s Death.

Revolution® PLUS (Selamectin and Sarolaner Topical Solution) for Cats

Overview of Revolution® PLUS for Cats

  • Revolution® PLUS, is a drug released in 2019 that is a combination of two drugs, Selamectin and Sarolaner. Selamectin, is the ingredient in the traditionally used Revolution® in dogs and cats.
  • Selamectin is a semi synthetic avermectin antiparasitic agent primarily used to kill adult fleas on cats. It also kills ear mites, feline hookworms, feline roundworms, sarcoptic mange, and has some tick repellent properties. It also prevents heartworm infection. It works by interfering with the nervous system of insects and some worms, resulting in death. Selamectin belongs to the macrocyclic lactone class of parasiticides.
  • Sarolaner, an active ingredient in Simperica®, kills adult fleas and ticks. Sarolaner belongs to the isoxazoline of parasiticides.
  • Selamectin and Sarolaner is a topical solution that collects in the oils of the skin and in the hair follicles. It is absorbed into the body and circulates through the bloodstream.
  • Together, Selamectin and Sarolaner is known as Revolution® PLUS, providing an effective comprehensive parasite prevention solution for cats.
  • The effects of Selamectin and Sarolaner last about 30 days.
  • Selamectin and Sarolaner is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

Brand Names and Other Names of Selamectin and Sarolaner

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: None
  • Veterinary formulations: Revolution® PLUS (Zoetis)

Uses of Selamectin and Sarolaner for Cats

  • In cats, Selamectin and Sarolaner (Revolution® PLUS) is used to treat and control fleas, ear mites, hookworms (Ancylostoma tubaeforme) and roundworms (Toxocara cati), ticks and prevent heartworm disease in cats.
  • Control of tick infestation includes Ixodes scapularis (black legged tick), Ambylomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick), and Dermacentor variabilis (American Dog Tick).
  • It has also been used to treat Cheyletiellosis (Walking Dandruff Mite) in cats.

Precautions and Side Effects with Revolution® PLUS for Cats

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, Selamectin and Sarolaner can cause side effects in some cats.
    Selamectin and Sarolaner should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug. Revolution® PLUS should be used with caution in cats with neurologic disease.
  • This product is not recommended for use in debilitated or underweight animals.
  • Revolution® PLUS is not recommended for use in kittens less than 8 weeks of age.
  • Selamectin and Sarolaner (Revolution® PLUS) is a clear to slightly yellow topical agent. Temporary irritation and hair loss at the site of application is possible.
  • The safety of Revolution® PLUS has not been determined in pregnant, breeding, or lactating cats.
  • Side effects are rare. Side effects associated with Selamectin may include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, drooling, lethargy, or muscle tremors. Side effects of Sarolaner may include neurologic reactions such as trouble walking (ataxia), muscle tremors, and seizures.

How Selamectin and Sarolaner Is Supplied

Selamectin is available in the following single dose sized tubes based on the cat’s weight:

  • Weight 2.8 to 5.5 pounds – 0.25 mL total solution (15 mg Selamectin, 2.5 mg Sarolaner per tube)
  • Weight 5.6 to 11 pounds – 0.5 mL total solution (30 mg Selamectin, 5 mg Sarolaner per tube)
  • Weight 11.1 to 22 pounds – 1 mL total solution (60 mg Selamectin, 10 mg Sarolaner per tube)

Revolution® PLUS is recommended for cats 8 weeks and older. Cats over 22 pounds should be treated with the appropriate combination of tubes.

Dosing Information of Selamectin and Sarolaner for Cats

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The dose of Revolution® PLUS dose is based on the weight of the cat and pipettes are available as 0.25 mL for cats up to 5.5 pounds, 0.50 mL for cats 5.6 to 11 pounds, 1 mL for cats 11.1 to 22 pounds. The milligram strength is listed above.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. The recommended treatment is monthly topical year-round. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian.

Additional Information that May be of Interest

Plasma Cell Pododermatitis in Cats

Plasma cell pododermatitis, commonly referred to by the names Pillow Foot or Pillow Paw, is a disease of the footpads that can occur in some cats. The medical term “pododermatitis” literally means inflammation of the skin on the foot. It is known for its surprising appearance of spongy, doughy, and large footpads. The disease can involve only one pad or both front (metacarpal) pads and rear (metatarsal) pads with the center pad being most frequently involved. In some light colored cats, a little purple-violet color to the pads may be noted with small striations.

The cause of feline plasma cell pododermatitis is largely unknown. A common theory involves an immune-mediated mechanism that activates lymphocytes and plasma cells. The paw pad is infiltrated with these cells, causing swelling and a soft doughy and almost “pillowy” appearance.

Plasma cell pododermatitis can affect any sex, age, or breed of cat. Some affected cats may be infected with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). The exact connection between cats with plasma cell pododermatitis and those with FIV is unclear. Some studies estimate that 50% of cats with plasma cell pododermatitis are positive for FIV.

What to Watch For

Many cats have the classic appearance of pillow paws but it does not cause problems. These cats will generally have swollen puffy but non-painful pads. On the other hand, some cats will have the following signs:

  • Some pads will ulcerate which appears as red, inflamed, painful lesions
  • Some pads will split open leading to infection and discharge
  • Bleeding from paw pads
  • Excessive licking of feet pads
  • Lameness
  • Decreased appetite or anorexia
  • Regional lymph node enlargement in come cases

Diagnosis of Plasma Cell Pododermatitis in Cats

The diagnosis of feline plasma cell pododermatitis is largely based on the physical examination and characteristic puffy pad swelling. Additional tests may include:

Routine blood work may reveal an increase in gamma globulins (hypergammaglobulinemia)
Fine needle aspirates (FNA) or biopsy of the pads may reveal an increased number of plasma cells
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are recommended to determine if concurrent disease is present.

Treatment of Plasma Cell Pododermatitis in Cats

Treatment options vary depending on the individual cats clinical signs or symptoms. Many cats are not symptomatic and do not require treatment.

Treatment for cats that are symptomatic may include:

  • Keep cats indoors out of environmental extremes of hot and cold that may cause damage to the pads.
  • Oral glucocorticoids (such as prednisolone or dexamethasone) may be recommended. Steroids may be given daily then tapered to the lowest effective dose. The goal of the steroids is to decrease the core immune response.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs such as Cyclosporine (Atopica) may be use in some cats that do not respond to steroid therapy.
  • Antibiotics such as doxycycline may be used to treat ulcerations and infections. Treatment may be recommended for 1 to 2 months or longer. Doxycycline is thought to have properties as being both effective as an antibiotic and containing immunomodulating properties.
  • Surgical removal of severely infected, ulcerated or painful pads may be a recommended treatment options in some cats.
  • Use unscented litter and paper-based cat litter may be helpful to minimize litter debris being stuck to painful pads.
  • Gentle cleaning of the paw pads may be helpful to remove litter debris.

Most symptomatic cats will respond to medical therapy within one to two months. Some cats with pododermatitis may have concurrent kidney disease (amyloidosis) or an oral infection (plasma cell stomatitis). The prognosis is worse in cats with concurrent disease or those that are also positive for feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus.

Prognosis for Cats with Plasma Cell Pododermatitis

The prognosis for cats with Plasma Cell Pododermatitis will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the cat’s individual response to treatment. Please follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment.

Resources & References:

  • Current Veterinary Therapy XV, Bonagura and Twedt.
  • Plumb’s Veterinary Handbook by Donald C. Plumb, 9th Edition.
  • Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Ettinger & Felman.
  • Handbook of Small Animal Practice, Rhea V. Morgan, 3rd Edition.

The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat

There are human foods that are completely safe for cats and also foods that are dangerous and even potentially fatal. Many pet owners learn about toxic foods only after their cat has ingested something and started having abnormal symptoms.

Cats are naturally curious and have an amazing sense of smell. This combination can lead cats to get up and steal food off counters, take food from grills, get into trash cans, and sneak food from plates. Other times well-intentioned cat lovers offer tables scraps or human foods without understanding that they are toxic.

Below, we will review what can’t cats eat as well as list what is safe. It is important to have healthy alternatives once you know what is not safe.

Safe Food for Cats

There are many human foods that are “safe” for cats. However, there are no human foods that cats need. What cats need is a good quality food formulated for the age, activity, underlying health problems, and individual metabolism of your cat. Learn more about Nutrition for Cats.

Safe Treats for Cat

The ideal cat treat is one made of good quality ingredients, moderate to low in calories, consistent in ingredients (thus unlikely to cause stomach upset from bag to bag), very appealing to your cat, and safe. Higher-quality treats tend to be more consistently produced, so it is best to avoid discount and supermarket brands if possible.

There are many human foods you can feed your cat safely. By safely, I mean these foods below are not toxic to cats. However, large quantities of any food or food given to cats with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts can lead to problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Any of the foods listed below as “safe” should be given only in small amounts in moderation.

Safe Human Foods and Treats for Cats

Below are foods that can be safe to feed cats in some capacity. Please consider that these foods should be shelled, peeled, washed, in some cases cooked, and without seeds. They should also be fed in small pieces to prevent choking hazards.

  • Apples — small amounts without the seeds
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli — cooked or raw clean/washed
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots — cooked or raw clean/washed
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery — cooked or raw clean/washed
  • Cheese
  • Chicken — cooked
  • Cottage cheese
  • Crackers
  • Cranberries
  • Eggs — cooked
  • Fish such as salmon (cooked)
  • Grapes
  • Green beans — cooked
  • Ground beef or steak — cooked
  • Kiwis
  • Lettuce
  • Lunch meat
  • Oatmeal
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pasta
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Popcorn
  • Pork
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin — cooked
  • Rice
  • Shrimp — cooked and deveined
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Turkey — cooked
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt

Tips for Giving Treats to Your Cat

  • Treats are never a replacement for a good quality core cat food.
  • Treats should make up less than 5% of your cats daily caloric intake.
  • Consider low-calorie treats for cats with weight control problems.
  • Give only fresh foods. Moldy or rotten food can cause gastrointestinal upset.

What Cats Can’t Eat: Foods Not Safe for Cats

Cats are pretty discriminate and not as likely to eat many of the foods listed below as compared to dogs. Foods NOT recommended to give cats include the following:

  • Alcoholic Beverages. Ethanol is the component in alcoholic beverages that can be toxic when an excessive amount is ingested. Cats are much smaller than us and can be highly affected by small amounts of alcohol. Exercise caution when drinks and cats are together. Toxicity can cause a wide variety of signs, and may even cause death. Signs can include an odor of alcohol on the cat’s breath, staggering, behavioral changes, excitement, depression, increased urination, slowed respiratory rate or cardiac arrest and death.
  • Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches, and Plums. Although uncommon for cats to eat, ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds and leaves of these fruits can be toxic. They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation and shock.
  • Avocados. The leaves, fruit, bark, and seeds of avocados have all been reported to be toxic. However, the small pieces of fresh avocado will not harm a cat. The toxic component in the avocado is “persin,” which is a fatty acid derivative. Symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing, abdominal enlargement, and abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen, and sac around the heart. The amount that needs to be ingested to cause signs is unknown.
  • Baked Goods. Products made with xylitol can be highly toxic to dogs.  Toxicity has not been established in cats however, it is recommended to not give cats products made with xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener used in place of sugar primarily because it is lower in calories. Xylitol is also an ingredient in many different gums and even baked goods. It is in many products designed for people with Diabetes due to its low glycemic index. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Learn more with this article on Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs. Cats are generally more “choosy” (than dogs) about what they eat therefore accidental ingestion may be much less common in cats even if they are sensitive.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents that can be toxic to cats. A leavening agent is a common ingredient in baked goods that produces a gas causing batter and dough to rise. Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder actually consists of baking soda and an acid, usually cream of tartar, calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate or a mixture of the three. Ingestion of large amounts of baking soda or baking powder can lead to electrolyte abnormalities (low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium), congestive heart failure or muscle spasms.
  • Bones. Bones aren’t safe for cats. This can be due to the danger of them getting stuck or caught in the mouth, sharp splinters injuring the intestines, risk of constipation when passing relatively indigestible bone fragments, as well as possible bacterial contamination on the bone that can lead to illness.  Most cats aren’t attracted to bones like dogs are. Fish and chicken bones can cause problems in cats.
  • Bread Dough. Dough containing yeast which rises in the moist, warm environments such as in the stomach. After ingestion, the rising dough can expand the stomach and decrease blood flow. Fermentation of the yeast can be reduced to alcohol causing signs of intoxication.
  • Chewing Gum. Gums that are made with xylitol can be toxic to dogs. The toxicity to cats is unknown and therefore is not recommended for cats.
  • Chocolate. Chocolate, in addition to having a high-fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your cat in high amounts. The levels of caffeine and theobromine vary between different types of chocolate. For example, white chocolate has the lowest concentration of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao beans have the highest concentration. A lick of chocolate is not a problem but ingestion of dark or baking chocolate can cause problems in cats.
  • Coffee (grounds and beans). Although uncommon in cats, some may eat coffee grounds or beans can get “caffeine” toxicity. The symptoms are very similar to those of chocolate toxicity and can be just as or even more serious.
  • Dairy Products. Human dairy products are not highly dangerous but can pose problems for two reasons. One is their high-fat content and like other foods with high-fat content, there is a risk of pancreatitis. The second reason is that cats poorly digest dairy products since they lack the enzyme required to digest lactose. This affects some cats more than others and can cause anything from mild gas to severe diarrhea. Small amounts of plain yogurt or cheese are tolerated by most cats but it is probably safest to avoid dairy products altogether.
  • Diet Foods. Foods made for weight loss or diabetes may have the ingredient xylitol and are not recommended for cats.
  • Fatty Foods. Rich and fatty foods are favorites of cats. They often get them as treats, leftovers or from getting into the trash. These fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Signs of pancreatitis in cats can include vomiting, sometimes diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is often evidenced by hunched posture or “splinting” of the abdomen when picked up. Some cats may show nonspecific signs such as lethargy, decreased appetite or anorexia, and weight loss. Some cats can become sick quickly and may need veterinary care consisting of fluid and antibiotic therapy.
  • Grapes and Raisins. Ingestion of grapes and/or raisins can cause kidney failure in some dogs. This has not been documented in cats, however, it is probably safest not to feed your cat. In dogs, sometimes prolonged, treatment may be necessary to give the affected dog a chance at survival. Despite testing, the reason for the kidney failure and the amount necessary for toxicity remains unknown. Learn more about Grape and Raisin Toxicity.
  • Milk or Cream. There is a lot of false information about cats and milk. Most cats are considered lactose intolerant so ingestion of milk can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Moldy or Spoiled Food. Some cats love to get into the trash and ingest moldy or spoiled food. This can cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • Nutmeg. You may not realize this but high levels of nutmeg can be toxic, even fatal. The toxic principle is not well understood. Signs of toxicity include tremors, seizures, nervous system abnormalities or death.
  • Onions and Garlic. All forms of onion and garlic are a problem. Cats lack the enzyme necessary to properly digest onions and this could result in gas, vomiting, diarrhea, or severe gastrointestinal distress. If large amounts of onion or garlic are ingested or onions are a daily part of your cat’s diet, the red blood cells may become fragile and break apart. This is due to the toxic ingredient in onions and garlic, thiosulphate. The most common source of onions for cats is in human baby food. Some baby foods have onion powder added for taste. When consistently fed baby food with added onion powder, signs of toxicity can develop. This includes raw, dehydrated, cooked, powders or those in foods. Many people use garlic pills as ‘natural’ flea control. The amount of garlic is low but if large amounts of the pills are ingested at one time, toxicity may occur.
  • Peanut Butter. Some peanut butter manufacturers add xylitol to peanut butter, which is toxic to dogs. As mentioned above, although xylitol has not been found to be a problem in cats yet, it is recommended that we not give xylitol to cats.  Learn more about Peanut Butter Toxicity in Dogs.
  • Raw Eggs. Ingestion of raw eggs in cats can cause food poisoning such as from salmonella. Symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or anorexia. Learn more at Salmonellosis in Cats.
  • Raw Fish. Ingestion of excessive amounts of raw fish can cause Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Deficiency in Cats. This most common in cats fed raw fish diets, homemade cat foods, and some canned food deficient in thiamine.  Symptoms of thiamine deficiency include neurological abnormalities.
  • Table Scraps. Scraps, especially those that are fatty can cause gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis in cats. Some cats tolerate table scraps well but others can become very ill.
  • Tuna. Excessive dietary consumption of tuna can cause mercury poisoning in cats. Small amounts of canned or cooked tuna are acceptable.

Important Warning for Cats

One special caution to consider around cats is that danger of the wrappers and ties used to wrap meat. Some cats will get into the trash or on counters and find a fascination in the meat wrappers and string ties due to the smell, texture, and taste.  It is not uncommon for a cat to eat a string that was used to tie chicken or turkey legs that requires surgery to remove it. This situation can be life-threatening. Learn more about Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies in Cats.

Cat Head Pressing While Sleeping: What Does it Mean?

Cats love to sleep and do lots of it. They sleep in many locations in our homes and in just about every physical position. Let’s look at some common questions cat lovers have about their cat’s sleep patterns and we will review causes of cat head pressing while sleeping.

What is Normal Cat Sleep Behavior?

How much do cats sleep? Experts estimate that the average cat will sleep 13 to 15 hours per day with some cats sleeping as much as 20 hours a day.

When are cats awake vs. sleep? Cats are “crepuscular” which means their activity levels peak at twilight which is at both dawn and dusk. Why is this? Because twilight is the time when their prey is most active. So in-between, cats sleep. Although your cat may be indoors and domesticated, these instincts remain. Cat lovers recognize this as their cats run around the house in the wee hours of the morning, sometimes knocking things over, or pouncing on moving toes while they are trying to sleep. So during our waking hours, we see our cats sleep.

Where Do Cats Sleep? What is a normal location for cats to sleep? Cats love to sleep where they feel safe and comfortable. Cats love to sleep high on perches or beds where they can monitor their environments for threats from a safe height. Cats also love to sleep in boxes, cubbyholes, or hidden on dining room chairs. Small hiding spot spaces are often warm, cozy, and out of reach or sight of predators. Some cats also love to find a slice of sunshine and enjoy the warmth as they take their catnap.

Are Cats Deep or Light Sleepers? Cats are known to be light sleepers, always being on alert to attacks based on their nature of survival. Cats can go from a full sleep to fully alert and running in no time.

What Positions Do Normal Cats Sleep in? Every cat is a little different as far as what position they sleep in. Cats sleep curled up in balls, sprawled out on the back of the sofa, on their backs in the middle of the floor, or even to appear curled into a position that appears to be cat head pressing while sleeping. Some cats will cover their eyes with their paws while sleeping as if to block out the light.

The vast majority of cats sleep curled up in balls with their chin on their chest and their tail tucked gracefully besides them up the length of their body. This posture is to help them retain their body heat. Cats curl up with their face between paws or covering their faces as another way retain their body heat and minimize heat loss. Some of these positions will appear as head pressing while sleeping which can be a normal cat behavior and they do this because this is a comfortable position for them. During this time your cat’s body is relaxed.

Why a Cat Might Press Her Head Against Something While Sleeping

Some owners worry about their cat head pressing while sleeping. Is this normal behavior? Or is this a symptom of a serious neurologic problem? Learn more about What is Head Pressing in Cats?

Some cats will perform a head pressing behavior as they curl up to go to sleep to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands on their checks and this head rubbing behavior allows them to mark their territory and take ownership.

How to Know the Difference Between Signs of Disease or Just Odd Behavior

When should you be concerned about if your cat’s head pressing is normal or abnormal, consider the following. If your cat is eating, drinking, playful or having otherwise normal behavior, then it is unlikely that that the symptoms are of concern.

When it comes to head pressing, if you will see your cat doing this against walls while sitting or while awake as though your cat doesn’t know what he or she is doing, that can be abnormal. It can be a medical problem if they press their head up against something with an unrelaxed posture. Learn more about the medical problems that can cause head pressing in this article: Cat Head Pressing: What You Need to Know

Additional signs of medical problems seen in cats that are also cat head pressing while sleeping may include:

  • Behavior changes or changes in learned behavior
  • Circling and walking in one direction
  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Eye changes such as unequal pupil sizes or inability to blink
  • Head tilt
  • Incoordination or falling over when walking
  • Less engaged with family or with normal activities
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Restlessness and pacing
  • Seizures
  • Sleeping more
  • Stuporous behavior
  • Weakness

If your cat is showing any of the above signs and seems to be head pressing, please see your veterinarian immediately. There may be a serious underlying cause that requires urgent veterinary care.

When You Should Be Concerned About Cat Head Pressing While Sleeping

You should be concerned if your cat is head pressing and showing any of the clinical signs listed above. If you have any concern that your cat’s head pressing or sleeping behavior is not normal, the safest thing to do is to please see your veterinarian.

  • Your vet will likely perform a physical examination including a complete neurological examination. They will look at overall attitude, alertness, pupil size and responsiveness to light, ability to blink, head and neck movements, coordination, body posture, gait, and reflexes.
  • Any abnormality above may be cause for concern leading to the recommendation for diagnostic testing that may include:
  • Basic blood work and urinalysis are recommended to evaluate for systemic disease. Tests include a complete blood count (CBC) may be within normal limits, but an elevated white blood cell count may be present if there is also secondary infection. A biochemical profile and urinalysis may be unremarkable unless an underlying or concurrent disease is present.
  • Radiographs of the chest and abdomen are an important part of any baseline work-up. They may be within normal limits or can reveal signs of cancer or concurrent disease.
  • Abdominal ultrasound is recommended in most cases suspect of cancer or concurrent disease.
  • Computed tomography (CT scan or CAT scan) is a special X-ray technique that provides serial images of the brain using enhanced computer processing.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that uses powerful magnetic fields to generate detailed images of body organs.
  • If your cat is showing abnormal neurological signs in addition to cat head pressing while sleeping, your vet may refer you to a veterinary neurologist for a second opinion and additional advanced diagnostics such as the CT scan or MRI.

 

Reference Articles about Hypernatremia and Hyponatremia in Cats