How to Help a Dehydrated Cat

A dehydrated cat is a common clinical finding and can be caused by many problems. Dehydration is the result of either fluid loss or any issue that leads to decreased fluid intake. Dehydration is defined as when the “total body water is less than normal.” Before we look at how to treat and prevent dehydration in cats, we will review the causes.

Causes for a Dehydrated Cat

The body relies on both the intake of fluids and the excretion of fluids. Loss of fluids or decreased fluid intake both lead to dehydration.

Causes of dehydration in cats include:

Reduced Fluid Intake

  • Reduced intake – Cats that are ill and not eating or drinking have a reduced intake. This can be caused by many different diseases and is a very common symptom.
  • Deprivation of food and water – This can occur when a cat is neglected, looked in a room or garage, or not fed. Unsupervised pets (such as the owner goes on vacation and cat spills its water and is without for days) can lead to severe dehydration problems.

Increased Fluid Losses

  • Fluids can be lost through vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, and urination. Causes of increased fluid losses include:
  • Kidney disease  – Any disease that affects the kidneys can cause increased urine production. Kidney disease or failure also commonly causes vomiting, diarrhea and decreased appetite (intake), which compounds the dehydration.
  • Vomiting – Any disease or problem that causes vomiting leads to fluid losses. Viral or bacterial infections, gastrointestinal foreign body, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, cancer, liver disease, neurologic disease, and many more systemic problems can cause vomiting.
  • Diarrhea – Loose or watery bowel movements cause abnormal fluid losses and can be caused by intestinal parasites, viral or bacterial infections, gastrointestinal foreign body, heatstroke, cancer as well as other systemic problems.
  • Fever – Increased body temperature can cause fluid losses.
  • Burns or wound drainage – Any disruption in the skin that causes drainage can cause fluid loss. Large wounds can cause severe fluid losses.
  • Blood loss – Blood is fluid, and the loss of blood can cause dehydration, shock, anemia and lead to many other life-threatening problems.

Signs of a Dehydrated Cat

The clinical signs of dehydration in cats include lethargy, depression, dry sticky gums, sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, and/or increased pulse (heart rate).

How to Tell if Your Cat is Dehydrated

Physical examination findings can help determine if dehydration is present in your cat. A common but inaccurate way to diagnose dehydration is based on skin elasticity. When the skin along the back of the neck is gently lifted, it should immediately return to the normal position. In a dehydrated cat, the skin does not return to normal quickly. The speed of return to a normal position can help determine the severity of the dehydration.

Other clinical signs of dehydration include sticky or dry gums, sunken eyes, and/or lethargy. A more accurate method to determine dehydration is by evaluating blood work for abnormal changes.

What You Can Do for a Dehydrated Cat

The treatment for dehydration in cats will depend on the underlying cause. Treatment for some of the possible causes may include:

  • Not eating– If your cat is not eating, it is important to do anything you can to stimulate their appetite. Every cat has different food preferences making it important to offer a variety of flavors and textures to find something appealing to your cat. You may start by offering fresh kibble or your cat’s favorite treats. You can also try feeding canned cat food. Heating up canned food can release food aromas and stimulate hunger. For some cats, fish flavors are especially appealing. Canned tuna, chicken, or chicken baby food are additional options that can be alluring to cats. Ultimately you may need to see your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause for the anorexia.
  • Not drinking – If your cat is not drinking, you can try the following:
    • Stimulate thirst with fresh clean water.
    • Some cats love to drink out of the sink, bathtub, or shower. Consider encouraging this if your cat is dehydrated.
    • Offer low sodium chicken, beef broth or tuna juice.
    • Some cats love running water and will drink more water from a fountain. There are many commercial cat fountains on the market.
    • Mix canned cat food with water to form a gravy.
    • Moisten dry food.
    • Come cats enjoy ice cubes in the water bowl. You can also make ice cubes out of chicken broth or tuna juice.
    • Some cats have various bowl substrate preferences. Offer water in different shapes or types of bowls. Some cats prefer to drink out of pottery and others out of stainless steel. There are also preferences for deep versus shallow water bowls.
    • As a last resort, you can squirt a small amount of water in your cat’s mouth with a syringe or baster. This needs to be done gently as you don’t want your cat to aspirate (get water in his lungs).
  • Vomiting – Cats that are vomiting can be difficult to treat at home. You can withhold food and water for a few hours then begin offering small amounts of water followed by small quantities of food. Here is a really good article about how you can try to get through this common problem with your cat. Go to: Home Care for the Vomiting Cat. If your cat does not eat, is lethargic, or the vomiting continues, please call your veterinarian.
  • Diarrhea – Loose stools are a common symptom in cats and when sustained can cause severe dehydration. It is important to consider the underlying cause and remove it if possible (such as exposure to trash or new treats). Feeding a bland diet can help some cats with diarrhea.  Ideally, have your cat evaluated by your veterinarian to help determine and treat the underlying problems.
  • Increased urination – If your cat is urinating more frequently, please see your veterinarian. Increased thirst with increased urination can be caused by diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Bleeding – The loss of blood is a problem for more reasons than just dehydration. If your cat is bleeding, please see your veterinarian immediately. Learn more with this article: How to Stop Cat Bleeding.

The treatment for dehydration is to supplement the body with fluids. It is often not possible for a sick cat to ingest enough water to adequately correct dehydration. Fluids are typically administered as an injection. The most efficient method of rehydration is through intravenous (IV) fluids. This requires hospitalization as well as an intravenous catheter. Fluid replacement is done slowly to allow the body to compensate and slowly replenish tissues starved of fluid.

How to Prepare for a Cat Emergency

Emergencies in cats are common and when they happen, it’s important to know the basic skills of what to do. Below we will cover what to do for some of the most common cat emergencies.

Know Your Veterinary Clinic “Emergency” Policy

Some veterinary clinics take emergencies calls 24/7 and others only during office hours. Other clinics don’t take emergency calls at all and only allow appointments.  It is important to know what your veterinary hospital does and doesn’t do so you can be efficient when you have an emergency with your cat.

Below is a template for veterinary emergency information. You can fill it out and place it on your refrigerator or with your cat’s medical information.

Pet Emergency Contact Information

My Vet Hospital Name_____________________________________

Phone Number___________________________________________

Emergency Hours_________________________________________

Closest Emergency Clinic Name _____________________________

ER Phone Number________________________________________

ER Clinic Address_________________________________________

Poison Control Phone Number (855) 764-7661

Poison Control Website https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com

What is a Veterinary Cat Emergency?

When a cat owner has a problem, they want to know if their problem is an emergency. So, what is a cat emergency? An emergency is best defined as anything that causes you concern about your cat. After all, you know your cat best.

If you are worried about your cat, the best thing to do is to call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic. Based on your conversation, they can often guide you about the severity of the problem and provide recommendations if you need to be seen immediately, if you can make an appointment for the next day, or if there is something you can do at home. Here is a very good article about the reasons you should worry – go to 21 Reasons to Take Your Cat To The Emergency Room. Another good resource is: When Should You Call the Emergency Vet Hotline.

If Your Vet is Closed

The best number to call when you have a cat emergency is your veterinarian. If your vet is available and open, they may see you immediately. If not, they may refer you to a local emergency clinic. If they are closed, most veterinary hospitals have their answering machine set to provide you with information about the best place to go in your area.

What If You Don’t Have a Vet for Your Cat?

It can be very scary when your cat has a medical problem or emergency and you don’t have a veterinarian.  If you don’t have a veterinarian, you can use Google or use your smartphone to find an “Emergency Veterinarian Near Me”. This should guide you to a veterinary hospital close to your location. You can also call a clinic near you and see if they can see you or offer their recommendation for a hospital or emergency clinic close to your location.

Three Most Common Veterinary Emergencies in Cats

The three most common veterinary emergencies in cats are vomiting, diarrhea and not eating. Below is some information about these three conditions and what you can do at home.

  • Vomiting is the most common cat emergency. It can be caused by infections, eating spoiled food, chewing on plants, hairballs, eating indigestible objects, parasites, and several different diseases including diabetes mellitus, liver disease, and kidney disease. Learn more about Vomiting in Cats. Also, this article is very good about how to care for your vomiting cat at home. Go to: Home Care of the Vomiting Cat.
  • Anorexia, also known as not eating, is the 2nd most common reason cats go to the veterinarian. Lack of appetite can be caused by fever, infections, cancer, as well as multiple other diseases such as liver disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.  Learn more about what you can do to treat not eating in cats.
  • Trouble urinating, also known by the medical term dysuria, is another very common reason cats will go to the vet.  Trouble urinating, straining to urinate, or urinating outside of the litter box can be caused by infections, bladder stones, urinary blockage, or by a urinary syndrome referred to by multiple names including Feline Urologic Syndrome or Feline Idiopathic Cystitis. Learn more about Trouble Urinating in Cats.

How to Prevent Common Cat Emergencies

  • Keep your cat inside if possible. This reduces the risk of catfights, animal attacks, being hit by a car, getting into the trash, and lacerations.
  • Prevent exposure to common toxins such as Rat Poison and Antifreeze.
  • Prevent exposure to common household items such as Gorilla Glue and cleaning chemicals such as Bathroom Cleaners, Bleach, and Lysol and Other Corrosives.
  • Do not give your cat any over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) without the approval of your veterinarian.
  • Prevent exposure to human vitamins and medications including blood pressure medications, amphetamines (commonly used diet pills or mood elevators), as well as Illicit drugs such as Cocaine, Ecstasy, Heroin, Marijuana, and any other drug. Keep them out of the reach of cats in sealed sturdy containers.
  • Keep all Nicotine out of reach including cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, nicotine gum, vape chemicals, and nicotine patches.
  • Keep your purse closed and out of reach of your cat. Purses can contain dangerous items such as dental floss or pennies that can become stuck in the gastrointestinal tract and cause life-threatening zinc toxicity.
  • Keep your pet’s regular medications out of reach. The overdose of a pet’s regular medication can be dangerous.
  • Be careful around the home with things such as liquid potpourri which can be very appealing yet caustic to the mouth. Also, be conscious of sources of lead such as lead-based paint chips.
  • Don’t feed your cat human foods that contain onions, garlic, or bones. Learn more about dangerous foods in this very good article.

Additional Articles that May be of Interest About a Cat Emergency:

How to Protect Your Cat from Choking

Emergencies in cats are common and when they happen, it important to know basic skills of what to do.  One possible cat emergency is choking. Below we will review the causes of choking in cats, what to do if your cat is choking, and how to prevent cat choking.

What is Cat Choking?

Choking is a life-threatening emergency caused by the blockage of air into the lungs. This can result from something ingested or inhaled that obstructs the airway. Choking prevents normal breathing and without oxygen for a prolonged period of time, either coma or eventually death occurs.

Choking can occur, although it is not a common reason for cats to visit the veterinarian. Some cat owners may believe their cat is choking when they are having difficulty breathing for other reasons such as something that may be caught in their mouth or medical problems such as feline asthma or congestive heart failure.

The most important thing to know is if you believe your cat is choking or having trouble breathing, it is an EMERGENCY! You need to do something immediately. If you truly think your cat is choking – here are instructions on How to Do the Heimlich on Your Cat.

Causes of Cat Choking

Choking causes obstruction of the airway. This is most often from an obstruction of the neck, inhaled foreign body, throat swelling, or foreign object in the throat.

Obstruction of the Neck –  Cats can be choked to death by having an obstruction or restriction around the neck. This can be caused by a cats’ collar getting caught or from a cat somehow getting a cord such as the rope from a blind wrapped around their neck. I’ve seen cats come into emergency hospitals choked from an outdoor rope that got wrapped around a cats’ neck, a cat with that tried to jump a fence and was caught, causing him to hang. Those are horrible examples but all reasons for cats to be taken to veterinary emergency rooms for choking.

Inhaled Foreign Body – Inhalation of foreign material is another reason for a choking event. This is uncommon in cats and much more common in dogs. The inhaled foreign body can be part of a stick, weed, or any other object that enters their airway.

Throat Swelling – Swelling of the throat can occur due to an allergic reaction or tumor in or around the airway.

Large Ingested Object – Ingestion of a large object can cause cat choking. It is most common when a small cat or kitten ingests something too big relative to their size that gets caught in their esophagus/throat. This foreign object interferes with their ability to breathe.

Something Caught in the Mouth – Sometimes cat owners believe their cat is choking when something is caught in their mouth. When this happens, the cat is usually in great distress, pawing at their mouths and crying which can make it very difficult for owners to understand what is happening. An example of an oral foreign body that occurs is either a toothpick, sewing needle or a bone caught in the mouth or around the teeth.

Symptoms of Cat Choking

Symptoms of choking can vary, but generally include anxiety and very obvious distress, in addition to gasping for air, gagging, drooling, pawing at the face, trouble breathing, and difficulty swallowing. The lack of air and lung injury can cause pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs). This fluid accumulation occurs due to nerve stimulation and can be life-threatening.

Best Ways to Reduce the Risk of Cat Choking and Keep Your Cat Safe

The best way to prevent cat choking include the following:

  • Ensure any collar you put on your cat is a quick-release collar. This can prevent your cat from choking if he or she gets caught on something. Quick-release collars have a mechanism that opens the collar when extreme pressure or force is exerted.  Make sure your cat has a collar that fits properly. Tight collars can create serious injury.
  • Do not give your cat bones or boned fish.
  • Cats can choke on large pieces of food or ride. Learn more in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

What Should You Do if Your Cat is Choking

If you notice your cat is choking, please do the following:

  1. Remove any item that could be constricting the neck.
  2. If possible and you can do so safely, examine inside the mouth and remove any foreign object you see. Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it. Be very careful. Do not get bitten.
  3. Gently position your cat’s head/neck in a way to optimize airflow. Position so the chest and nose are in alignment. Try not to bend head too far up or down.
  4. You can attempt a Heimlich maneuver if you believe your cat has something in his airway. To do this – place a fist just behind the ribs. Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3 to 5 times) with quick gently pushes. Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed. How to do the Heimlich on Your Cat.
  5. If you believe your cat does not have a heartbeat – go to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Cats (CPR).
  6. Head to your closest veterinary clinic if they are open or veterinary emergency clinic.
  7. Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, a veterinary examination is recommended. An internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.

 Additional Articles that May be of Interest About a Cat Emergency:

Steps to Care for an Unconscious Cat

Emergencies in cats are common and when they happen, it is important to know basic skills of what to do. A cat that loses consciousness is a true emergency and needs to receive veterinary care as soon as possible.

Causes for an Unconscious Cat

There are dozens of causes for a cat to become unconscious and all of them are potentially serious and life-threatening.   Consciousness is a state of being aware of one’s surroundings and awake. Therefore the state of unconsciousness means a cat is not aware of his surroundings and not awake.

Some cat owners may confuse the terms of consciousness with comatose. Coma is defined as the absence of alertness or consciousness. Comatose cats are unresponsive to noxious or painful stimuli. Decreased consciousness or stupor is diminished awareness or alertness. Coma and stupor are serious medical conditions that should be addressed immediately by a veterinarian. Persistent coma is also called a persistent vegetative state.

Reasons for cats to be unconscious may include:

  • Seizure event – A seizure, also known as a convulsion, is caused by a sudden excessive firing of nerves in the brain. It results in a series of involuntary contractions of the voluntary muscles, abnormal sensations, abnormal behaviors, or some combination of these events. A seizure can last from seconds to minutes and can cause a loss of consciousness. Some cat owners don’t see the actual seizure but see the after-effects that can include loss of consciousness.
  •  Head trauma (usually motor vehicle accidents)– Head trauma is caused by a forceful injury to the head. The trauma can either be blunt (such as hit by a stick or car) or penetrating injury (such as from a gunshot wound). The injury can cause brain swelling, bruising, lacerations, compression, bleeding or skull fractures.
  •  Brain tumors – There are different types of brain tumors that can occur in multiple areas in the brain. Signs of a brain tumor can include any change in neurologic function including loss of consciousness, seizures, trouble walking, diminished coordination, change in behavior, and much more.
  • Hydrocephalus – Hydrocephalus is a neurological disease in which there is an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the ventricular system of the brain. Causes of hydrocephalus in young animals include congenital defects, intrauterine or perinatal infections, perinatal trauma, and central nervous system tumor. The most common cause of hydrocephalus in young kittens is a congenital defect.
  • Hypoglycemia – Hypoglycemia is defined as blood glucose or blood sugar concentration of fewer than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Symptoms of low blood sugar in cats depend on how quickly the blood glucose concentration decreases but rarely do symptoms develop until it falls below 50 mg/dl. At this time symptoms include generalized lethargy, weakness, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
  • Heart failure –  Congestive heart failure is a condition, caused by an abnormality in the structure or the function of the heart, in which it is unable to pump normal quantities of blood to the tissues of the body. The heart is a pump, and when it fails, it often leads to fluid retention in the lung and the body cavities leading to congestive heart failure. This fluid accumulation can lead to shortness of breath, trouble breathing and difficulty breathing. Eventually, loss of consciousness can occur.
  • Chronic kidney failure – Failure of the kidneys over time can cause many different symptoms in cats including a decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, and eventually decreased consciousness.
  • Acute kidney failure– Acute kidney failure (also known as acute renal failure or ARF) is a more sudden onset of kidney failure that can cause severe symptoms such as drinking more, urinating more, decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, weakness and eventually decreased consciousness. This can be caused by toxins such as antifreeze.
  • Ketoacidosis (from diabetes)– Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a severe form of diabetes that is caused by severe changes in blood chemicals. Symptoms can include lethargy and eventually coma.
  • Drug intoxication – Overdoses of prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, human medications, and illicit drugs can all cause many different symptoms including loss of consciousness in cats.
  • Other Toxins – Toxic substances or foods such as antifreeze or Easter lily toxicity can also cause symptoms that can decrease cat consciousness.

What to Do If You Find an Unconscious Cat

A cat that loses consciousness is a true emergency and should receive veterinary care as soon as possible. Call your vet or closest emergency clinic immediately.

Be prepared to answer questions. Your veterinarian will likely ask you several questions including What happened? How long ago did it happen? Has this ever happened before? Is there any possible exposure to toxins, drugs, medications, trash, or foods? Has there been any history of trauma? Has your cat ever had a seizure? Any exposure to plants such as Easter Lilies? Are there any underlying medical problems such as heart problems, epilepsy, kidney failure, etc.

How to Stop Cat Bleeding

Emergencies in cats are common and when they happen, it is important to know basic skills of what to do. A cat bleeding is a common reason for cat owners to seek help at a veterinary clinic or veterinary emergency clinic. There are many different causes of cat bleeding and therefore various treatments and outcomes. Below we will review the causes of cat bleeding and what you can do at home to stop bleeding.

What Causes Bleeding in Cats

There are dozens of causes for a cat to bleed. The cause will differ based on the location of the bleed and each potential cause will have a different set of diagnostic tests, treatment options, and prognosis.

Common areas for cat bleeding and possible causes include the following:

  • Bleeding from skin – The most common cause for bleeding from the skin is from a bite wound which is common in cats but can also be caused by a laceration (cut), skin infection, or from itching. This can also occur on the face from a wound secondary to a tooth root abscess.  Learn more about Bite Wounds in Cats and Abscesses in Cats.
  • Oral bleeding – Blood in the drool or anywhere in the oral cavity can be the result of an infection, a bad tooth, trauma, ulceration, tumor, or an underlying blood clotting problem.
  • Urinary bleedingBloody urine can be caused by a feline urinary tract disease (also known as feline idiopathic cystitis, painful bladder syndrome or feline urologic disease), urinary tract infection, bladder stones, bladder cancer, trauma, or due to a blood abnormality.
  • Vaginal or uterine bleedingVaginal bleeding can be caused by a normal heat cycle, uterine infection (also called pyometra), cancer, trauma, or a bleeding abnormality.
  • Nasal bleedingA bloody nose can be caused by trauma, a tumor in the nasal cavity, an infection, or from a blood abnormality. Another possible cause is from an upper airway infection which is very common in cats.
  • Vomiting blood- Blood in the vomit can result from bleeding into the intestinal tract from a tumor, infection, ulcer, cancer, ingestion of foreign material, a systemic bleeding problem, or from swallowing blood from oral bleeding.
  • Bloody stoolBlood in the bowel movement can result from bleeding into the intestinal tract from a tumor, infection, a gastrointestinal foreign body, or inflammatory disease.
  • Rectal bleeding – Bleeding from the rectal area can be caused by an infected or ruptured anal gland, a tumor, trauma, infection, or inflammatory disease.
  • Bleeding into the chest cavityBleeding into the chest cavity is most often caused by trauma, such as being hit by a car or toxin exposure such as ingestion of a rodenticide that causes bleeding.
  • Bleeding around the heart – Bleeding around the heart, also known as a  “pericardial effusion”, is caused by heart disease, cancer or an unknown cause referred to as “idiopathic”.  This is relatively uncommon in cats.
  • Bleeding into the abdominal cavityBleeding into the abdominal cavity is most often caused by trauma, such as being hit by a car or a gunshot wound, toxin exposure such as ingestion of a rodenticide that causes bleeding, or cancer.
  • Eye bleeding – Blood in or around the eye can be caused by an injury, a bite wound, cancer, or infection in or around the eye.
  • Bleeding in more than one location – Bleeding from more than one area can occur for several reasons. Possible causes ingestion of Mouse or Rat Bait, trauma that injures more than one area, or from an immune-mediated disease that alters the body’s ability to clot blood. Learn more about bruising and bleeding in cats.

Tips to Stop Bleeding in Cats

When your cat is bleeding, you often want to know what you can do to stop the bleeding. The answer to this question really depends on the location and underlying cause of the bleeding. Below are some tips that may help:

  • Skin bleeding – What you can do at home will depend on the cause. A small scratch can cause bleeding and can be treated by gently cleaning the area with a little warm soapy water, hydrogen peroxide, and some antibiotic ointment. A bleeding bite wound most likely will require wound care consisting of cleaning, shaving the hair, pain medications, and antibiotics. Deeper lacerations may require sutures. If a deep wound is bleeding, the best thing you can do is to gently apply some pressure. You can do this with a clean towel if over the sides or you can use paper towels and some tape to wrap a leg. Please be careful not to get bit. Seek veterinary help.
  • Abdominal or chest cavity bleeding – There is nothing you can do at home to stop bleeding that is occurring internally in the abdomen. Signs may include pale gums, collapse, lethargy, weakness, increased respiratory effort, and/or a distended abdomen. This is an emergency that needs immediate veterinary care. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause but may include an antidote blood transfusion and/or surgery. A blood clotting medication often given at veterinary hospitals is called Yunnan Baiyao, also known as Yunnan Paiyao, Yunnan Bai Yao, or by the literal translation Yunnan White Drug. This drug is fascinating as it is a protected traditional medicine originating in China that has hemostatic (blood clotting) properties. It is famous for its use in the Vietnam War to stop bleeding by the Vietcong. Learn more about Yunnan Baiyao for Cats. No prescription is needed to purchase Yunnan Baiyao.
  • Nose bleed – If your cat has a nose bleed, keep your cat quiet, calm and seek veterinary care. The treatment will be determined by the underlying cause. If your cat has a cut on his nose or if he has bumped his nose, the bleeding should halt with a little time and some rest. Cats with infections or tumors will often continue to have intermittent bleeding. Infections can be treated with antibiotics. Bleeding is sometimes only noticed when your cat sneezes and can be common in cats with severe upper respiratory tract infections.  Learn more about Epistaxis (bloody nose) in Cats.
  • Urinary bleeding – If your cat is having bloody urine, call your veterinarian. It can be difficult to tell if a cat is straining if he or she is “blocked” and can’t go or empty and just in pain. Please see your vet. Learn more about life-threatening Feline Urinary Obstruction.
  • Rectal bleeding – If possible, examine the rectal area to see where the bleeding is coming from in your cat. It can be hard to determine if the blood is actually from the rectum or near it. Regardless, the best thing to do is to have your cat evaluated by your veterinarian.
  • Bloody vomit or diarrhea – There are potentially serious and even life-threatening causes for these symptoms.
  • Skin bruising  – A minor bruise from an injury can be treated with time. However, bleeding in multiple areas should warrant an immediate call to your vet.
  • Bleeding in or near eye – Keep your cat calm and protect the area from being rubbed or scratched by another cat. They can do a lot of damage. Use an E-collar if you have one and seek help from your vet.
  • Multiple bleeding or bruising areas – If your cat is bleeding from multiple areas – consider it an emergency. See your vet immediately to help you identify the underlying cause and best treatments.

We hope these tips help you know more about cat bleeding.

Additional Articles that May be of Interest About a Bleeding Cat:

Ways to Protect Your Pet from Wild Animal Attacks

Who doesn’t love the start of summer? Warmer weather and longer days mean you get to spend more time outside. While you may know the essentials of taking care of yourself during these warm-weathered months, have you thought about what threats there are to your pets?

We aren’t just talking about the importance of hydration and flea control, though. When the weather breaks, the likelihood that you may run into a wild animal goes up, as they will begin to come out of hibernation and can end up in your backyards and neighborhoods.

Even if you live in a more metro or urban area, taking your dog out for a walk or to an unfamiliar place can put them in harm’s way. The best thing you can do is know how to act in case there is an encounter and what you can do to protect your pet from a wild animal.

Wildlife That Is a Risk to Dogs and Cats

Where you live may be a great indicator of what types of animals you may encounter, but even if you don’t live near a forest or park, that doesn’t mean that you won’t run into urban wildlife. This type of wildlife occurs when non-domestic animals share the environment in which you live.

What this means for you and your pets is that these wildlife animals may pose a potential health risk. The first thing you need to know is what kind of animals are native in your area, and which you are most likely to run into.

Common urban wildlife animals are coyotes, skunks, raccoons, and foxes. While some of these are seemingly harmless and may not care to interact with you, a curious dog or cat can scare the animal and an altercation may break out.

Knowing that those are the common wild animals, it may seem obvious that some of them pose more of a threat than another, but, the transmission of these diseases can happen quicker and easier than you can imagine. Sometimes all it takes is contaminated water or soil. But, mainly the transmission occurs through saliva, especially by bites.

While we all know having a dog sprayed by a skunk is a less-than-pleasant experience, it’s usually a problem that can be resolved by a few home remedies. But, these critters, just like raccoons, foxes, and coyotes, can also carry rabies.

When it comes to heartworms, your dog can get this from an infected raccoon or coyote. Raccoons also carry an intestinal parasite called Baylisascaris.

If your dog enjoys the water or you will be hiking through trails, it is best to have them vaccinated against these diseases as well as others, such as Leptospirosis. This bacterial disease is transmitted through urine, so it could contaminate areas pets may play or drink.

Tips to Protect Dogs From Wild Animals

While you may go to great lengths to protect your pet from a wild animal, you have to remember that these non-domestic creatures are not vaccinated and do not have any type of disease control.

Knowing that these animals can carry diseases — such as rabies, heartworms, parasites, and other diseases — the following are tips to protect your dog from wildlife.

 

  • Vaccines — Keep your dog up-to-date and all their shots to ensure that they are protected against disease.
  • Lighting — If it is getting dark, try to only walk your dog in well-lit areas so you can see if a wild animal is approaching. Light is a natural deterrent for some.
  • Limit outside time — Try to keep your dog’s outdoor time to a minimum. Also, do not leave them unattended.
  • Leashes — Your dogs should only be walked on sturdy leashes, especially in rural areas or at night.
  • Desirable yard — Make your own property less desirable by the use of fencing and closing up any hiding or crawl spaces that wildlife would enter.
  • Food — There are no circumstances in which you should feed wild animals. This only makes your home a desirable location.
  • Noise — Be ready to make noise to ward off predators if they are approaching.
  • Report — Let the neighborhood know of any wildlife spotting, especially those that pose a real threat to domestic animals such as coyotes.

 

In addition to the above tips, if you have a smaller dog, you should always watch or accompany them while outdoors no matter what time of day it is. At night, it is best practice to turn all the lights on in the yard and even using a leash when taking your dog outside.

Things to Include in a Pet Disaster Kit

We all love summertime. The nicer weather means we get to spend more time outdoors doing some of our favorite activities. But, with the arrival of summer, it also means the time for some unpredictable weather.

Depending on where you live, the summer could mean it’s the peak time for tons of rain, which can lead to flash floods or even hurricanes. Or, the super dry climate can bring on severe thunderstorms, wildfires, or tornadoes.

Regardless, the last thing you want to do is be unprepared in the event that you’ll need to survive without the traditional means of food, water, electricity or heat, or even shelter for a few days. While your family may already have a disaster plan or kit on hand, the one thing you need to do to assure everyone is taken care of properly is to make sure your pet’s needs are met as well. A pet disaster kit can do just that.

Your Survival Kit

As mentioned above, where you live can indicate what type of severe weather you may experience during warmer months. But, simply knowing what you are up against and what to actually be prepared for are two separate things.

Before we go into what you should have in your pet disaster kit, evaluating what you have prepared for your own is a good start.

According to the Red Cross, your Disaster Survival Kit should have, at a minimum, the following basic supplies.

  • Water and food
  • Flashlight and radio (with extra batteries)
  • Deluxe first aid kit
  • Medications and medical supplies
  • Multi-purpose tool (screwdriver, knife, etc.)
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items
  • Copies of documents (medical, emergency contact information, etc.)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Emergency blankets
  • Area map
  • Cash

Your pet’s needs are different than yours, so their kit will require items that you may not think of for yourself. While preparing for disaster, consider making your kit alongside theirs and keeping them together in one, easily accessible spot. That way, if a disaster were to strike, you will both be ready to get through it together.

Disaster Kit for Your Dog

When making a pet disaster kit, first consider what type of animal this is for. A dog’s kit will look slightly different from a cat’s, as would an indoor pet from a farm animal.

While you may be used to sharing table scraps with your dog from time to time, when it comes to having limited supplies, making sure they have their own food to eat is just on the surface. Here is what your dog’s disaster kit should look like.

 

  • Food and water — Just like you, your pet will need food and water for a minimum of five days. While they may not need as much water as you, keep extra on hand in case they need to be rinsed. Also keep a manual can opener, if you did not pack one in your kit, for cans of dog food.
  • Leashes and harnesses — Your pet needs to be able to be transported easily. Leashes and harnesses should be sturdy and secure. These should not be their daily ones, as you may not remember to grab them in the midst of disaster.
  • Carriers — In addition to a leash, your pet should have a carrier that it can stand up, turn around, and comfortably lie in.
  • Medications and medical records — Have a list of current medications and medical records for the dog. It’s best if this list is waterproof.
  • Photos — Have a photo on hand of you and your dog. In case their tags come off or you are separated, you have proof they are yours.
  • Food dishes — Make sure you have a bowl for water and food.
  • Medical supplies — Anything from gauze and gloves to bandages to tweezers, scissors, and swabs should be readily available in case of an injury.

 

Additional supplies to consider that are not listed are:

  • Flashlights with batteries
  • Blankets
  • Waste bags
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Eyewash
  • Dog sticker

Keep all of the supplies together in one compact and preferably waterproof bag. It may be a good idea to include some additional treats or even a toy for comfort for your dog as well. Make sure they have a collar with an identification tag on it that has their name, your name, and your address and phone number on it. Consider getting your dog microchipped as well in case the collar were to come off.

Disaster Kit for Your Cat

If you happen to have a cat, or a dog and a cat, you will need different supplies to take care of them. While some of these supplies may be a repeat of the previous kit, it is important to note that if you do have one of each, you need twice as many supplies. Do not rely on sharing one kit between two animals without ample stock of each item.

Pets and PTSD: How Animals Help with Trauma

PTSD Overview

Whether it’s due to the experience of a horrific event while serving in the military or being involved in a traumatic car accident, there are millions of Americans who deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on an everyday basis. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event such as a serious accident, terrorist act, natural disaster, combat, rape, or personal assault.

Individuals with PTSD have intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their specific experiences that likely last long after the event has happened. They can be triggered at any moment. Many relive the moment or event through continuous nightmares and flashbacks. PTSD does not discriminate by culture, ethnicity or race, as it can happen to anyone.

Symptoms of PTSD typically can be placed into the following four categories: Intrusive thoughts, avoiding reminders, negative thoughts and feelings, and arousal and reactive symptoms.

  • Intrusive thoughts are involuntary memories or dreams, as well as flashbacks of the traumatic event. Some flashbacks may feel so real that people feel as if they’re re-living the experience.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event may include avoiding certain people, places, activities, and situations that may bring back memories of the event.
  • Negative thoughts and feelings may include ongoing distorted beliefs, ongoing fear, anger, and guilt or shame.
  • Arousal and reactive symptoms could include irritability, outbursts, reckless behavior, and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

Many people who experience a traumatic event may exhibit symptoms like the ones described for a couple of days after the event. If these symptoms continue for months or even years following the trauma, that’s when a person is considered as having PTSD.

The trouble with PTSD is that the symptoms it causes will also occur with related conditions such as depression, and can lead to substance abuse, memory problems and other mental and physical health issues. It can be extremely difficult to live a normal life while dealing with PTSD. It can make everyday tasks much more difficult. Studies have shown that one thing that helps minimize the effects of PTSD is interaction with animals! This is where PTSD pet therapy comes from.

What is PTSD Pet Therapy?

You or someone you know may have PTSD and may be struggling with getting over it and suppressing the symptoms that come with it. Have you tried or are you familiar with pet therapy? Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. This interaction also involves the animal’s handler. The purpose of pet therapy is to help someone recover from or cope with a health problem or mental disorder — in this case, PTSD.

The most common animals used in pet therapy are dogs and cats, although fish, guinea pigs, horses, and other animals may also be used depending on the circumstance. The type of animal chosen usually depends on the treatment plan set in place between you and your therapist, as well as your personal comfort levels and preferences. Another name for pet therapy is Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). AAT is a formal, structured set of sessions that helps people reach specific goals throughout their treatment process.

What Are the Steps Involved in PTSD Pet Therapy?

Your doctor or therapist that’s managing your treatment will administer pet therapy. A trained handler, who is often the pet’s owner, will bring the animal to every meeting and work with your doctor or therapist to help you reach your goals. The first step in pet therapy is making sure to select a suitable animal that you feel comfortable with. Therapy is unlikely to go well if you and the animal don’t share a connection and feel comfortable with one another.

There are many organizations that will train and connect volunteer owners and pets with healthcare providers to make things easier. Prior to participating in pet therapy, an animal and its handler must first fulfill certain requirements, which include a physical examination of the animal to confirm that it’s been immunized and is free of disease, an obedience training course to ensure proper animal control, an instructional course to teach the trainer about interaction with other people, an evaluation of the animal’s temperament and behavior with the handler, and a certification from the sponsoring organization. Once the animal and handler have gone through this process, they are assigned for therapy sessions based on an individual’s needs.

What Are the Benefits of PTSD Pet Therapy?

Just like any kind of therapy, there are many benefits to pet therapy. Pet therapy builds on the human-animal bond. For someone with PTSD, interacting with a friendly animal can help soothe many physical and mental issues, including reduction of blood pressure and improvement of overall cardiovascular health. It releases certain endorphins that allow the individual to feel calm and at ease. This helps alleviate pain, improve your overall psychological state and reduce stress.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It for an Indoor Cat?

There are many different species of cats, all ranging in size, color, and markings. Just as there are different species of cats, there are different kinds of cats. These can be classified in the following three categories: indoor cats, indoor-outdoor cats, and outdoor cats.

Indoor cats live in homes and spend all of their time inside the house. Indoor-outdoor cats live in the house but can roam the streets as well. Finally, there are outdoor cats, who live in nature and don’t have much interaction — if any at all — with humans. If you have an indoor cat, you undoubtedly love your little feline friend and have concern for their safety, so you might come to ask yourself, is pet insurance worth it for an indoor cat? Have you looked into it?

Health Risks for Indoor Cats

Every pet has health risks that you as a pet owner have to try and avoid if you want your pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life. This is one of the challenges of being a pet owner. To start, lack of exercise and boredom can lead to physical and emotional stress for your cat. A stressed cat is an unhealthy cat, and cats typically are subject to stress more easily than other animals. Cats will usually show signs of illness when they’re stressed. Stress in a cat is a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even when it comes to something simple like a common inflammatory disease, they will usually become healthier once their stress levels are reduced. It’s important to recreate a similar environment within your home that a cat would typically encounter when in the wild. This will allow them to feel at home, stress-free, and happy.

Obesity and diabetes are also common reasons that indoor cats begin to see a decline in their health. Lack of exercise in a cat’s life can allow it to gain weight very easily, and if they do so, it becomes very hard for them to lose weight, especially the older they get. Making sure that your cat stays active and has plenty of toys to run around and play with is important. Limiting the amount of time that they’re inactive is crucial to their health. Unlike outdoor cats, indoor cats have much less room to run around and play and hunt, thus expending less energy.

Another big health risk in indoor cats is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Feline lower urinary tract disease is the result of a variety of conditions that affects both the bladder and urethra in cats. Cats with this disease usually show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, an increase in the number of times they urinate, as well as a presence of blood in their urine. They also tend to excessively lick themselves and can be found urinating outside their litter box on cooler, smoother surfaces. While the disease can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged, overweight cats that get limited exercise, have zero to little outdoor access, and eat a dry diet. Cats with urethral obstruction must receive immediate veterinary care.

Separation anxiety can affect indoor cats as well. As we all know, cats are usually the pet of choice when it comes to busy people, but cats can become very attached to their owners and will suffer separation anxiety when they’re left alone. These cats are typically described as being needy when you are around, and then when you’re not, they cause complete chaos around the house until you return.

Along with the health risks stated above, cats are also subject to indoor hazards. Always make sure to keep your home clear of potential hazards if you have a cat that spends a lot of time at home without you being there. House plants such as lilies are toxic to cats, so it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot have around the house if you plan to leave your furry friend alone for much of the time. A good common practice is also to avoid using dangerous products or pesticides in areas that your cat has access to. Doing some research on hazardous products can go a long way.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

So you just got a cat and you’re intrigued by the concept of pet insurance, but you’re not really sure what costs would be covered if your cat were to get sick or hurt. So, you’re stuck wondering if pet insurance is worth it for an indoor cat. It really depends on a few different factors.

Can Cats Eat Yogurt?

Cat owners commonly contemplate about the toxicity of human foods. The questions 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 for cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish. In dogs, Grapes and Raisins, and Peanut Butter are commonly discussed as dangerous foods.

Knowledge of dangerous foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about other human foods such as can cats eat yogurt. 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 Yogurt?  

Yogurt is a food product made from milk. It is formed by bacterial fermentation with yogurt cultures. Milk is heated then allowed to cool and mixed with the bacterial culture. The lactose fermentation gives yogurt its unique texture and flavor. Yogurt can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, yaks, camels, and buffalo and created into a large variety of textures and flavors.  Each type of milk produces different flavors. The milk used to make yogurt can be homogenized, pasteurized, or raw.

When researching the safety and dangers of yogurt for cats, while yogurt is not considered toxic or dangerous, it is not necessarily good for your cat. It can be fed to some cats in very small amounts.

Why is yogurt not good for cats? The answer is that most cats are considered to be lactose-intolerant. This is contrary to popular belief. After all, many children’s books contain iconic photos of adorable kittens lapping up saucers of milk.

Lactose intolerance is a normal part of being an adult cat. Kittens produce an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose which is the milk sugar.  As kittens age and are weaned, they produce less and less lactase and therefore are unable to digest most dairy products.

When lactose is ingested and not broken down by the lactase, the lactose continues through the intestinal system and is not digested. Water is drawn into the intestine and bacteria ferment the undigested milk sugars. This results in symptoms that may include gas, discomfort, and diarrhea in 8 to 12 hours.

The Dangers of Yogurt to Cats

As discussed above, cats naturally have an inability to digest lactose. This can affect some cats more than others. Ingestion of any type of yogurt or dairy product can produce severe symptoms in some cats.

Flavored yogurts, such as those with garlic, onion, or garlic/onion powders can cause severe problems in cats. Cats lack the enzyme to appropriately digest onions that can cause flatulence (gas), vomiting, diarrhea, or severe gastrointestinal distress. Regular ingestion of onion or garlic products can cause life-threatening red blood cell damage.

However, some cats appear to be more lactose intolerant than others. I’ve seen cats on dairy farms seem to tolerate milk ingestion. I personally have a cat that begs for various dairy products including cheese, milk, and yogurt and he loves it. I only feed a small amount the size of a pea and he seems to consistently tolerate this without any signs of problems. In general, dairy products are not recommended for most cats.

NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What may not bother some cats may cause signs of illness in another cat. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.  Overfeeding can cause gastrointestinal upset and/or obesity.

How Can You Tell if Your Cat is Lactose Intolerant?

You can test your cat’s ability to digest lactose by offering a small amount of milk such as a tablespoon of milk or yogurt and look for abnormal symptoms.

There are differing amounts of lactose in various dairy products. For example, goat’s milk commonly contains less lactose than cow’s milk. Therefore, some cats may digest yogurt made with goat’s milk better than yogurt made with cow’s milk. Milk, cream, butter, yogurt, yogurt, ice cream all have different amounts. Some dairy products may agree with your cat more than another.

With that being said, there is nothing in yogurt that your cat requires. It is safest to choose a treat that is without yogurt. There are some lactose-free products available on the market that could be options. They also make some lactose free products specifically for cats that are available in some pet stores.

Do Cats Like Yogurt?

Some cats love yogurt (as well as other dairy products) and other cats don’t.  This really varies from cat to cat. Some cats often love the flavor of yogurt’s soft creamy texture and enjoy this as a healthy snack. Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and Vitamin B12. In fact, I personally have one cat that loves yogurt and begs for it on every occasion.

Do Cats Need Yogurt?

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