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ALL ABOUT VACCINES

All about Cat Vaccines

 

What is a Vaccine?  A vaccine is a substance used to stimulate production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases.  A vaccines is prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease. 

 

Why is it important to vaccinate your cat?

 

It is vitally important to vaccinate your cat to provide them with the immunities needed to aid in warding off specific infections.  If your kitten or cat is not currently vaccinated they can be at risk for developing serious infections which might have otherwise been prevented.

 

Which vaccines does your cat need?

 

You cat needs to receive what is considered the “core vaccines.”  These are the vaccines which are deemed to be crucial for protecting your kitten’s health.  The core vaccines include the FVRCP, which is named for the viruses which it protects against; feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and the rabies vaccine. 

 

Does my cat really need the rabies vaccine?

 

This is a question we often hear from people, and honestly a question we used to ask ourselves years ago as well.  The answer we now give however a resounding YES!  Reason #1, is that the vaccine in fact is required by law in all US states.  Every dog and cat in the country is required to be vaccinated against rabies.  The other reason is that despite the majority of people who think that there is no way their cat is at risk, the fact is that the risk is very much indeed real.  Since the beginning of breeding cats many years ago, we have now heard many stories of indoor cats being exposed or infected by wildlife getting into homes either by mice or squirrels or even bats.  Sadly, these unfortunate cats all had to be euthanized because they had not been vaccinated.  That is the harsh reality of the laws, even if a cat is not infected; just the exposure deems them to be euthanized. 

 

What Vaccines does my cat NOT need?

 

FeLV- your cat only needs to be vaccinated against FeLV, which is feline leukemia, if they are exposed to outdoor cats like feral cats in the neighborhood, or if they live with another cat who goes outdoors.  Feline Leukemia is spread through secretions, so even an infected outdoor cat sneezing onto your cat could cause the transmission.  Therefore, if your cat even frequently spends time on a screened porch unsupervised they may be at risk.  Another big consideration of potential risk is if you rescue cats from outdoors or local shelters, then you should definitely have your cat vaccinated for FeLV.

 

FIP – This vaccine is never recommended because they vaccine has very serious potential side effects.  Research has shown that the benefits do not outweigh the risks of vaccination.

 

Feline Aids – This is another vaccine that like the FIP vaccine is not recommended because most veterinarians do not believe the benefits of the vaccine to outweigh the risk of the vaccine.

 

Chlamydia and Bordetella – These vaccines are to protect against chlamydia felis, and bordetella bronchiseptica.  These vaccines are not routinely administered to cats and not recommended unless your cats will be exposed to an environment where these infections are spread, or to another pet that may be contagious.  An example would be a cat that is living with a dog who is routinely boarded at a facility and thus exposed to other animals with bordetella. 

 

How often does my cat need vaccines?

 

In years past it was routine for veterinarians to recommend yearly vaccines for cats and dogs.  However, as of 2004, the American Veterinary Association changed their vaccine protocol recommendations.  They now recommend only vaccinating cats and dogs for their core vaccines once every three years.  Some veterinarians are not vexed on the new protocols and want to vaccinate your cats more frequently however, so be sure that you ask for the 3 year version of the FVRCP and rabies vaccines to limit unnecessary exposure to your cat. 

Get Rid of Hairless Cat Ear “Gunk!”

Get Rid of Hairless Cat Ear “Gunk!”

This video explains the different causes and treatments to get rid of that hairless cat ear gunk once and for all! 

 

 

 

How to properly socialize your new kitten

Introduction            

     A proper introduction is absolutely critical to assure that your new kitten and existing pets can have a well-adjusted, happy, friendly future relationship.  Without taking the proper steps to introduce your new kitten, you could end up with pets that may never get along and miss out on a possible close, loving, shared bond between your pets.  As with humans, often the first impression means a lot, and you want the first impression between your new kitten and your existing pets to be calm, and loving, not stressful, and potentially harmful.

 

Steps for a proper introduction

 

  1. Quarantine your new kitten away from your other pets for a period of at least 7-10 days. This is to ensure that your new kitten gets enough time to destress from the travel and to begin adjusting to the new home slowly before adding the additional stress of meeting the other family pets. Also in case your new kitten were to come down with a stress related illness at that time everyone will stay safe.

 

  1. After the 7 day quarantine period, your next step is to begin slow introductions. The best way to do this is to either set up a large crate or use a travel carrier.  A large crate is the best option, I advise asking friends and family or checking at your local vet’s office or animal shelter and ask to borrow a crate, because you will only need it for a short period of time.  Set the crate up in the common area of your home, your living room is a good option, and includes a littler pan, bed, toys, food and water, and a heat source for your cat. 

 

Aggression

 

Your new kitten will stay in the crate while introductions are made, and during this time, it is critical to monitor for signs of aggression. It is completely normal and acceptable behavior for the resident cats to approach the crate and sniff and even hiss a few times.  Exhibiting some warning hisses and growls are okay and they should be left to express themselves.  However, if they continue to hiss and growl/howl for than more than a minute straight, this is excessive, and the cat should be removed to try again later.  If an aggressive cat is allowed to continually hiss and growl at the kitten even through the safety of the crate, this can leave a permanent fear in the kitten and ruin the chances of the cats forming a good relationship.  Therefore, be very diligent to keep close watch and if aggressive behavior continues for more than one minute, take the cat away for one hour.  Try again after an hour and continue to remove the cat again until any aggressive behaviors are kept under one minute in length. 

 

Socialization Tricks

 

There are several great tricks you can use to help speed up the process of introducing your new kitten to your existing cats/pets. 

 

  1. Giving the pets treats together is one of the best ways to socialize them to one another. To accomplish this, you will give treats to the kitten while they remain in the crate and give treats to the resident pet immediately outside of the crate at the same time. This trick allows the kitten and the resident pet to associate each other with a positive award when they are around each other. 
  2. Play with the pets with toys together; this works best when socializing two cats together; again, keeping the kitten in the crate and the resident cat outside of the crate. Great toys for socializing include treat toys, puzzle games, wand toys for catch and chase and laser pointers.

 

  1. Use pheromones to keep cats calm and keep the introductions calm and peaceful. Good products include “Feliway” diffusers, which can simply be plugged into the wall receptacles in-the same room as the kitten in the crate. Also there is a product called “Comfort Zone” which employers the same concept.  Another option which is very successful is the use of a calming collar, such as the product “Sentry.”  Be sure if using the “Sentry” collars to use on both the resident pet and the new kitten to maximize effectiveness.

 

  1. Rotate the pets by allowing the new kitten to be free to roam the house and put the resident cat into the crate or into a room. This is very important to allow the new kitten to explore their new surroundings in peace without the additional tension of the resident cat(s) other pets being present. Be certain to first show the new kitten the location of the litter pans in the home prior to setting them loose.

 

  1. Another critical step in helping to ensure a happy transition for your new kitten and resident cat(s) is to be sure to add one additional litter pan into the home. Even if you already have multiple litter pans in your home; the rule is to have one more litter pan than you do cats. For example, if you already have two resident cats you should have three litter pans; and with the addition of the new kitten, your home should now have four litter pans. 

 

  1. It is also very important to be sure to provide your new kitten with the proper litter pan and litter. Be sure to speak with your kitten’s breeder to determine what type of pan and litter they were using in their previous home, to help facilitate a smooth transition to proper litter pan behavior in the new home.

 

  1. Feeding time is another hugely beneficial opportunity for proper socialization and introductions. The best way to utilize feeding time as a socialization technique is to feed one cat inside the crate and one cat outside of the crate simultaneously. Placing the outside food dish 2-3 feet outside of the crate on the first feeding, and if all goes well, gradually move the dish closer and closer to the crate with each feeding time.  Use this technique only with wet food, you do not want to use dry food and leave it down, as the continual presence of food can create aggression and negate your socialization attempt. 

 

  1. Visitors; while it is understandable how anxious you will be to show off your new kitten and have all of your friends and loved ones meet them; this is not the time for visitors. Give your new kitten time to adjust to everything that is new to them and their surroundings. Focus on them meeting their new family members and other pets first, and then invite your visitors over only after the quarantine period is complete.

 

Carefully follow proper introduction techniques and protocols, and your new kitten will have a smooth, happy integration into their new forever homes with you.  Remember any problems or issues arising during the process; be sure to reach out to your breeder for help.  Patience and time are the key for success.  Your new baby will be in your life and home for many years to come so be sure to take the time and patience necessary to give them a great start!

 

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. A raw food diet may not be appropriate for all cats in all stages of health and we always recommend having your cat examined and discussing diet changes with your veterinarian.

 

Keep those Hairless Kitties Healthy and Happy Everyone!!!

 

Text: Copyright © April Arguin RDH, Founder of LiLNudists Sphynx & Bambino Cattery. All rights reserved. 

 

 

How to Choose a GREAT Cat Food!

Safe and Healthy Formulas for Your Feline Friend

 

We Put In The Work To Find The Best

 

We analyzed 1,759 cat food formulas and found 8 favorites that were produced by a trustworthy brand with high-quality, risk-free ingredients.

1,759 Cat food formulas

 

Cat food conversations are littered with passionate opinions concerning whether or not cats should eat like they do in the wild or if they should avoid carbs, if they should consume dry food for better dental health or if they should eat wet food for better hydration, and the like. For the average cat owner, the ongoing debates make it challenging to figure out what a healthy diet looks like for a domestic cat. To find the best food for your cat, it’s essential to figure out which opinions are rooted in science, which are long-standing myth, and which are somewhere in between.

 

Our Top Picks

  1. Addiction Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  2. Blackwood Chicken Meal and Field Pea Recipe Grain Free Dry Cat Food
  3. Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch Grain Free Natural Dry Cat & Kitten Food
  4. Fromm Gold Holistic Adult Dry Cat Food
  5. Lotus Just Juicy Pork Stew Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  6. Now Fresh Grain Free Adult Recipe Dry Cat Food
  7. Redbarn Naturals Salmon and Delilah Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  8. ZiwiPeak Daily Cat Cuisine Venison and Fish Canned Cat Food

 

READ MORE CLICK BELOW…

 

How to Bathe your Hairless Cat Part II

Learn how to bathe your hairless cat with the alternative “Bowl and Cup” technique for the challenging cats!

 

How to bath your Hairless Cat!

Learn how to properly bath your hairless cat.  Watch how the experts do it!

 

How to Give a WaterLess Cat Bath

Learn How to Give your Hairless Sphynx or Bambino Cat a WaterLess Bath.  Using Nudie Naturals Organic Cat WaterLess Pet Shampoo.  

 

Cat Tooth Brushing Instructional Video

Learn what we use to brush our Sphynx and Bambino kitties teeth to keep them healthy, clean, and strong!

 

Quick Fleece Instructions for Sphynx & Bambino Cats

Quick Kitten Fleece Making 101

 

This video and written instructions will help you to learn to make “quick” fleece sweaters for your sphynx or Bambino or any other breed of hairless cat to help keep them cozy and warm!

 

 

  1. Figure out which side of your fleece is the “stretchy” and “non-stretchy” side.  The “stretchy” side is going to be the neck side of the shirt.
  2. Fold the fabric over the width of the pattern about 5 inches wide and 11 inches long.
  3. Cut the fabric with an extra inch on the side that will be sewn.
  4. Turn your fabric inside out.
  5. Sew at the corner to the edge all the way to the back leaving some space at the end for room for the tummy.
  6. Cut your “cross hole”’ fold in half and cut about 2 ½ inches and repeat going the opposite direction.
  7. Dress your kitty and sit back and enjoy!

 

Quick Adult Sphynx or Bambino fleece making 101

 

  1. Figure out which side of your fleece is the “stretchy” and “non-stretchy” side. The “stretchy” side is going to be the neck side of the shirt.
  2. Fold the fabric over the width of the pattern about 7 inches wide and 14 inches long.
  3. Cut the fabric with an extra inch on the side that will be sewn.
  4. Cut a notch about 2 inches deep for the arm holes.
  5. Turn your fabric inside out.
  6. Sew the neck and stop at the leg holes.
  7. Sew the length of the front stopping before the very end for room for the tummy.
  8. Dress your kitty and sit back and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

All About HCM (Hypertropic Cardimyopathy)

If you own a Sphynx cat or any of the breeds developed from the Sphynx cat; Bambino, Elf, BamBob ect., you need to know all about these three letters…HCM.  I will further reference only the Sphynx but know that this includes all cat breeds which have been developed from this breed because the genetic predisposition for the disease is carried on through the Sphynx genetics.  HCM stands for the medical condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is unfortunately a widely prevalent condition in the Sphynx cat.  This condition is known to be hereditary in nature so it is critically important that you understand this disease and understand the ways you can reduce your risks of adopting/purchasing a Sphynx cat who will develop this disease. 

I want to be sure that I keep this article as short as possible while still providing all relevant information a current, prospective, and future Sphynx owner needs to know and will simplify the medical jargon when possible to ensure that everyone is able to fully appreciate the information. 

Let’s begin by first defining what is HCM? By definition: HCM is a condition that causes the muscular walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s efficiency and sometimes creating symptoms in other parts of the body.

The first photo here depicts a healthy heart and the second is the diseased HCM heart, you can clearly see the increase in the structure of the heart wall which leads to disease. 

HCM free Sphynx & Bambino

Healthy Heart

HCM in Sphynx

HCM Heart

What Causes HCM? Although the cause of HCM has not been clearly identified, the fact that the condition is more prevalent in certain breeds (including Maine Coon, Ragdoll, British Shorthair, Sphynx, Chartreux and Persian cats) and that mutations of several cardiac (heart) genes have been identified in some cats with this disease suggests that genetics plays a role.

What are the Symptoms of HCM?  Many cats with HCM do not appear to be ill. Others may show signs of congestive heart failure, which including labored or rapid breathing, open-mouthed breathing, and lethargy. Another very serious and potentially life-threatening consequence of HCM is the formation of blood clots in the heart. These clots may travel through the bloodstream to obstruct flow in other parts of the body. The effect of the clot depends on its location, although in cats with HCM, clots most commonly result in blockage of blood flow to the hind limbs, causing acute hind limb pain or, in extreme cases, hind limbs will become pale and cold and experience paralysis.

 

Diagnosis

HCM is diagnosed by echocardiography, a technology that uses sound waves to create an image of the heart, the same as if a person had a heart condition and needed diagnostics; this is essentially the same as an ultrasound just of the heart.   In cats with HCM, these images reveal the thickened walls and constricted volume of the left ventricle of the heart. Sometimes other tests are recommended including chest radiographs, and electrocardiography (EKG), and blood pressure checks. 

These heart scans, or HCM scans as you will often hear them called can be scheduled at any local veterinary specialist’s office.  However, these scans can be very expensive upwards to $500 per scan.  Due to the extent of the prevalence of these conditions in the hairless breeds, it is recommended that every cat is scanned at least by the age of 2 years old, and then at least every two years thereafter; with every year being most ideal.  This “routine” HCM scanning is done to aid in early diagnosis of the condition should your cat develop the disease. This early diagnosis can lead to a much better prognosis for your cat should they have the condition as early treatments can really slow the progression of the disease. 

If your cat does not have any symptoms of HCM or other heart disease however they can be eligible to participate in any number of HCM clinics which are operated throughout the US.   These clinics take place at either veterinary colleges, or specialty veterinary clinics where prices of scans are greatly reduced due to the number of scheduled patients organize for one particular day; typically once per month.  These reduced cost scans at an HCM clinic range anywhere from $100-$200 typically.  To find more information on locating and available HCM clinic near you simply visit:  http://www.hairlesshearts.org/

 

Treatment & Prevention

Although HCM has no known cure, a specialized care plan can help manage clinical signs of the condition in your cat. Treatment goals include controlling the heart rate, alleviating lung congestion (congestive heart failure), and preventing the formation of blood clots. Medication can help manage HCM, and can be administered orally to stable patients or by injection in more serious situations. Other drugs, such as nitroglycerine, may be applied to the cat’s skin for absorption.  Many of these medications are also have very wide spectrums of safety, and have been used for decades in human medicine with great clinical results; also are very affordable.

There has also been clinical studies proving the beneficial effects of the supplement CoQ10 (also known as Ubiquinole), in human patients with heart disease and these benefits are passed along to our feline counterparts.  This supplement works to improve heart function by increasing the amount of energy produced in the heart muscle which in turn helps improve the heart function.  You can find this supplement specifically formulated for pets on the following website from a very well trusted company called Mercola.  http://products.mercola.com/healthypets/ubiquinol-coq10/

 

Along with these treatments for your cat who has been diagnosed with HCM you should also consider looking at your cat’s current diet.  The reason for this is that the heart requires a tremendous amount of energy for proper functioning, and especially in a diseased heart the energy demands are even greater to continue the best functioning possible.  A poor quality diet will lack the proper nutrients to provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and amino acids which are necessary for good heart function.  A good quality diet for your cat will be ideally a raw food diet, second best is a canned food diet (no dry) containing at least 95% protein.   It has been proven that low taurine levels in cats can in fact be a cause of heart disease as was discovered years ago in a large published study put on by the WINN Feline Foundation.  In the study the cats were fed either a commercial dry food diet or a prepared raw food diet of rabbit.  After a short period of time the cats on the raw food diet were earning greater marks in health in every category proving that the raw food diet was superior to dry food diets.  However, unfortunately the study failed to recognize the fact that rabbit is naturally very low in taurine which is essential for cats and suddenly several cats in the study acquired heart disease and the study was terminated.  If only they had added taurine into the diet all would have been fine.  Read more of the study @ http://felineinstincts.com/taurine-deficiency-in-raw-rabbit/

 

If your cat has been diagnosed with HCM it is extremely important that they receive the proper amount of taurine.  All commercially prepared diets which are approved to state the words “complete and balanced for all life stages,” will have proper amounts of taurine.  Adult only formulas will have accepted levels of taurine as well however typically only meet the minimum requirements.  It is important to be sure your cat is not receiving just minimum amounts but as much taurine as their body and heart needs to properly function along with other vital amino acids.  It is neither safe nor recommended to add a taurine supplement to your cat’s diet as this can lead to toxicity.  The safe and simple way to increase your cats levels of taurine and other heart healthy amino acids are through the additional of beef liver in their diet.  This can be achieved by either feeding a raw or lightly cooked beef liver treat twice per week; or purchase freeze dried beef liver treats to give to your cat a couple times per week.  Note that it MUST be beef liver not chicken liver as the two are vastly different and beef liver is the densest source of taurine available. 

 

It is purely speculation at this point as I have no laboratory evidence; however it is my speculation that one of the major reasons why our beloved hairless breeds suffer more commonly from HCM than other breeds tend to due to an increased demand for taurine.  Why would they need more taurine than other cat breeds?  Simple, because of their lack of hair they are metabolically challenged; because their bodies must work harder constantly to help maintain their normal body temperature.  This requires extra energy which must be provided by additional nutrients including crucial amino acids like taurine which are spent through the bodies’ cellular production of energy.  Therefore our precious hairless breeds may in fact greatly reduce their risk of this dreaded incurable disease simply by the use of a high protein (should be 95% or greater) diet, and the addition of taurine through a whole food source like beef liver. 
Prognosis

The prognosis (predicted outcome) for cats with HCM is variable. Cats that do not display any clinical signs are often able to survive for years with only mildly compromised heart function.  The best chance of long term survival with a diagnosis of HCM is early detection.  If detected early medication treatment, diet changes, and supplements can all be helpful in slowing the progression of the disease and prolonging your cat’s life.  It is a very common question I receive is how long can someone expect their cat to live with a diagnosis of HCM?  This is a hard answer as it is dependent on so many factors, it could be months, could be years.  I like to lean towards the optimistic side and advise anyone with a recent HCM diagnosis that I have known of a cat with proper treatment and good diet to live 11 years with the diagnosis.  This may be the rarity, but it is my feeling that the more positive you can stay about any situation the better chance you have of achieving the best outcome you possibly can. 

 

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. A raw food diet may not be appropriate for all cats in all stages of health and we always recommend having your cat examined and discussing diet changes with your veterinarian.

 

Keep those Hairless Kitties Healthy and Happy Everyone!!!

 

Text: Copyright © April Arguin RDH, Founder of LiLNudists Sphynx, Bambino, SphynxieBob & BamBob Cattery. All rights reserved.