Category Archives: feline health

What is Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome?

By Langley Cornwell

Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS) is an unusual medical condition that affects the brain and causes some very strange symptoms in cats. It can affect felines of all ages, but it is most common in adult cats and the cause is still somewhat of a mystery. Some of the experts suspect that this condition could be caused by seizures, a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder or a type of brain disorder.

Veterinarians describe the condition as a rippling motion that starts at the shoulders of the cat and runs all the way down to its tail, which explains why it’s sometimes called “rippling skin syndrome” or “twitchy cat syndrome.” Hyperesthesia is the word used to describe a heightened sensitivity that affects the senses and in this case, it’s the skin. You can actually see the skin moving in some cats but it can be hard to see in others, depending on the thickness and length of the cat’s fur.

Symptoms of the condition may occur in any breed or sex of cat. Even so, Abyssinians, Siamese, Burmese and Himalayan purebred cats seem to be predisposed to develop hyperesthesia.

FHS symptoms are occasional, so cats may act normally for long periods of time, eating their nutritious CANIDAE cat food and drinking plenty of water, but then an owner will notice some of the following symptoms.

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Tips for Keeping your Cat’s Brain Active

By Langley Cornwell

I met a cat in her early twenties last week. I couldn’t believe it. Even more impressive, Buttercup looked healthy and was completely aware of what was going on. She had that curious feline gleam in her eye; it was apparent that Buttercup was still mentally sharp.

Thanks to modern veterinarian care, cats have a longer lifespan than they used to.  In fact, more and more cats are reaching the ages of middle teens all the way through to the early twenties, like Buttercup. When I look into our eight-year-old cat’s eyes, my heart melts. Like most responsible pet owners, we would do anything to keep this little guy healthy and happy, and hope that we have at least ten more good years with him.

But there’s more to it than just keeping your pet physically well. Older cats run the risk of developing feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD) — the feline equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease — if their brains aren’t stimulated enough. The best advice is to start at a young age; it’s essential to keep your cat’s brain active and sharp well before feline cognitive dysfunction has a chance to take hold. The best thing you can do is begin training your cat’s brain early. Studies show that you can slow the advancement of mental deterioration by ensuring your feline friend is physically active and mentally stimulated throughout her life, starting in kittenhood.

With this in mind, here are a few easy tips for keeping your cat’s brain mentally sharp well into her twilight years.

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10 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Pet Healthy

By Julia Williams

Every January, most of us do a little “mental review.” Whether we make detailed resolutions or take a more casual approach, the New Year is a good time to contemplate making some changes. Many times, what we want to improve is our health, with the goal being to live long and happy lives. We want the same for our beloved animal companions, so now is also a great time to reflect on things we can do to ensure they’re with us for as long as possible. Here then, are 10 tips for a lifetime of good health for pets.

Know Your Pet Well – Every animal is an individual, and what’s “normal” for one dog or cat may not be normal for yours. However, you can pay close enough attention to your own pet to find out what’s normal for them. Doing so will enable you to quickly tell when something is a little off with your pet, and get them immediate veterinary attention. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the saying goes.

Perform Regular Health Checks – At least once a month (once a week is better), give your pet’s body a thorough inspection. Do a massage while checking their skin, ears, eyes, nails, paw pads, mouth, teeth and gums for anything unusual. If you find any lumps, scabs, redness, irritation, hair loss, discharge or other signs of trouble, be sure to call your vet right away. Remember, it’s easier to treat potential health problems early as opposed to waiting until they become bigger issues.

Feed a High Quality Pet Food – Fueling their body with nutritionally sound food is one of the most important things we can do to keep our pets healthy. Animals cannot read nutrition labels, so they depend on us to bring home food that not only tastes good to them but provides everything they need to stay healthy. CANIDAE makes a wide variety of premium pet food for dogs and cats of all ages, so you’re sure to find one that fits the needs of your animal companion.
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Why Do Cats Sneeze?

By Langley Cornwell

This is probably wrong of me, but I think it’s cute when our cat sneezes. After the initial ah-choo, he always looks startled, as if to say “where did that come from?”

Of course, humans are not the only ones with allergies. Dogs and cats can have them too. In fact, when a cat sneezes, it’s often a sign that he is allergic to something. Excess sneezing may be one of the first signs that something is amiss with your feline friend. In general, cats sneeze for the same reason that people do; it may be something as simple as a tickling in their nose, or they might have a more serious issue that is causing them to sneeze.

As responsible pet owners, we coddle our cats and feed them nutritious, high quality food like Canidae, but we don’t want to run off to the vet every time they sneeze. So how do we know when kitty is just sneezing “regularly” or if he needs a visit to the veterinarian?

Time to see the vet

An occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about most of the time. Kittens and cats will sneeze whenever they get something in their nasal passage that doesn’t belong there. If your cat is particularly curious, this may occur fairly often. Our cat puts his nose into everything! Perhaps he learned it from our dogs or maybe it’s a common behavior, but he is a sniffer and a sneezer.

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What is Feline High-Rise Syndrome?

By Langley Cornwell

Cat people listen up! You might think feline high-rise syndrome is something silly, but it’s a real and serious problem. For those of us who love cats and want to keep them safe, high-rise syndrome is no joke. This syndrome is when a cat falls from an improperly screened or unscreened window. You may be surprised by how often this happens – it’s quite common and can be fatal. According to the ASPCA, city veterinarians see three to five cases of feline high-rise syndrome every week. That’s a scary number when you think about it. Feline high-rise syndrome has become so common that they named it, which should tell you something about how regularly it occurs.

How do cats fall from windows?

Imagine a cat staying in a high-rise apartment several stories up. That is not a natural environment for cats in the wild, so they love to sit in the windows and observe what is going on outside. If you open up a window for fresh air and the window screen is not in place or is improperly fitted, then your cat is in danger of falling out.

Although cats are very agile, they are also very focused. If a cat is watching a bird while sitting in the window, she may get the urge to lunge at it, and lose her balance. If the screen is loose or not there at all, your cat could be in for a very long and dangerous fall.

Feline high-rise syndrome can also occur when a cat falls asleep while leaning against a loose screen. Most of us have seen funny videos depicting cats falling off the television set or off of a table. But falling from a high-rise window is no laughing matter.

Would a cat survive such a fall?

Cats are remarkably resilient, but they can certainly harm themselves by falling long distances. They are not afraid of heights at all, so they are quick to take up a seemingly perilous perch. And when cat do happen to fall, they are adept at minimizing injury due to their awesome survival instincts, incredible agility and body control. Even so, a fall from extreme heights can be devastating. There are many variables that can’t be controlled, so it’s impossible to predict whether a cat could survive that type of fall.

If your cat does take a lengthy fall, remember that many cats do survive feline high-rise syndrome if they get care right away.

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What is Vestibular Disease?

By Linda Cole

Vestibular disease can strike dogs and cats suddenly. Your pet is fine one minute and the next, he’s struggling to stand and walk. One of my older cats developed vestibular disease years ago. At the time, I had no idea what it was. Understanding vestibular disease is important because the symptoms mirror those of a stroke as well as other medical conditions, and it can be misdiagnosed.

My cat, Patches, was sitting upright when she suddenly fell over on her side and couldn’t get up. Her eyes were moving rapidly back and forth and her head was shaking. It was a scary moment and I was convinced she’d just had a stroke. I called my vet and he decided she could wait until the office was open the next morning. By then she seemed better and had regained her balance. Come to find out, it was idiopathic vestibular disease and not a stroke as I had feared.

The vestibular system is how animals, including us, know which way is up or down, if we’re spinning around, standing, moving, sitting or lying down. In general, it’s responsible for maintaining our sense of balance and controls head and eye movements. Without getting too technical, the vestibular system is made up of nerves in the brain that continue into the inner ear. The vestibular apparatus is located next to the cochlea that’s found deep in the inner ear, and another one is located in the medulla (the lower area of the brain) which is found at the top of the spinal cord.

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