Charlie ShortTail
Lovecats a world of cats and all things feline. Featuring Charlie ShortTail a ginger and white tomcat with a rather cute and very short tail.
ginger and tabby cat cuddling up in bed

What to expect as your cat gets older

Charlie ShortTail

Health and behavioural changes in ageing cat

Ageing is a normal process and most cats live long and healthy lives. You can help keep your cat well by understanding how getting older can affect your cat. As your get gets older you may observe some of the symptoms and behaviours below:

  • Changes in usual appetite
  • Drinking more or less
  • Muscle loss, losing weight
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Hearing and sight may be impaired
  • Stiffness and arthritic problems
  • Less grooming and cleaning
  • Tooth decay and gum disease
  • Less physically active
  • Personality changes

How old is old? Senior and Geriatric cats

A cat is considered older (middle-aged) at around 7-8 years of age, at 11-12 years old your cat will be considered a ‘senior’ cat and at 15 years onwards your cat is termed ’geriatric’.

What happens as your cat ages

  • Your cat may have a poorer appetite due to tooth or gum problems, and also due to the fact that older cats have less sense of taste and smell.
  • As eyesight deteriorates your cat may be less confident to go out and may become more easily frightened by noises and new situations.
  • Loss of muscle tone and stiff joints may mean that your cat will jump and run less. The majority of senior cats (12 years and older) will have some degree of arthritis.
  • As in people, a less efficient immune system means they can pick up infections more easily and may find fighting off disease more difficult.
  • Old cats can often drink more water due to kidney and urinary tract problems.
  • Your elderly cat is likely to sleep a lot more, but may not sleep so soundly. Some elderly cats with dementia may have changed sleep patterns.
  • Older cats may find grooming more difficult and their coat may lose shine and condition, also the skin becomes less elastic. Grey/ white hairs will appear as part of a normal ageing process.
  • Some elderly cats may become over-weight as they slow down, but eat the same size portions.
  • Teeth and gum problems are more likely, ask your vet to check your cat. Smelly breath can be an indicator of gum disease (but also other conditions).
  • Your cat’s personality may change – they could become grumpy, although some older cats become more friendly and prefer to be in company and so demand more attention.
  • Older cats may have memory problems –dementia is becoming more common in cats as they live longer. The symptoms can be very similar to humans. * see more detailed post on dementia.
  • Sometimes swallowing can become more difficult for your cat as the mouth gets drier.
  • The internal organs, heart, liver and kidneys may start to deteriorate.
  • Claws can grow if your cat does not go out or use a scratching post; if left they can cause pain by sticking into the paw pads.
  • Hair balls can be a problem as hair ingested during grooming may cause chronic vomiting or constipation due to your cat’s digestive system being less efficient.

Grey and white cat lying down

Helping to care for elderly cats

  • Older cats can lead happy and active lives – your vet can help with regular checks and there are many good treatments and medicines available to help your cat.
  • You can help by providing a suitable diet, lots of interaction and play and ensuring that your cat has easy access to beds, hiding places and also provide a litter tray with shallow sides.
  • Keep up vaccinations, flea treatments and worming.

Weight loss and gain in senior cats

How do I know if my cat is gaining or losing weight?

  • Weigh your elderly cat every couple of months (weigh yourself and then hold your cat and weigh again is one possible solution if your cat is not co-operative). Weight loss can be a sign of illness, so it may be a good idea to keep a record. A sore mouth due to gum disease or infected teeth could be another reason for poor eating. It is common for older cats to develop medical conditions that cause them to lose weight, such as kidney and thyroid disease. If your cat has a poor appetite feeding small amounts more often may help.
  • If your cat is losing weight, it is important to consult your vet as soon as possible so you can rule out any possible health issues. Should your cat have a disease or illness, if diagnosed early swift treatment will help to alleviate symptoms, pain and manage the issues more easily than if it has developed over a longer period of time.
  • Overweight cats are unlikely to live as long as their slimmer friends and they are more prone to serious illnesses such as kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis- again very similar to us humans. Get advice from your vet and try to avoid giving too many treats. Older cats may forget they have just eaten.
  • Never put your cat on a strict diet as this can be dangerous for cats – gentle and slower changes are more sensible and in the long term more effective.
  • It may be better to follow one of the many senior diets, as they are lower in calories and reduce the likelihood of weight gain. Choose a good quality product without too much carbohydrate. Protein restriction has not been proven to be beneficial for healthy cats, however is helpful for cats with kidney problems. Ask your vet for advice on a suitable diet.

Kidney disease and cats

  • Cats’ kidneys are responsible for filtering the waste products from their blood into their urine. Older cats may be affected by kidney disease caused by infections, blockages, tumours or toxins as well as age-related changes. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidney function deteriorates gradually over a period of time. Treatment depends on the cause and the extent of damage, but usually begins by flushing the kidneys using fluids, followed by special diets and medications. Unfortunately, kidney disease is irreversible, but with the right support many cats can enjoy a pretty normal life.
  • Anti-freeze is well-known for causing many kidney/ poisoning problems in cats.
  • Get your cat checked by a vet if they are drinking a lot more than usual.

Grooming and the older cat

  • If your cat is looking unkempt or developing matted fur, go to the vet for a check-up. There may be dental disease or joint problems that are affecting his or her ability to groom. Regular grooming is important for your cat. Help your cat by daily brushing and grooming. This will also help keep a strong bond between you and your cat.
  • If your cat is longhaired and is having difficulties keeping itself clean, it may be helpful to trim the fur around its anus, underside of the tail and back legs to avoid soiling or matting.
  • Also check your cat’s ears as some older cats produce a lot of ear wax. Clean with cooled boiled water, but never poke into the ear canal.

sleepy white cat

Dementia in older cats

  • Cats can suffer from reduced brain function as they age. With dementia your cat may seem confused, change personality, sleep poorly, meow more and have accidents. A blood test is required and similar drugs to those used with Alzheimer’s disease have been used in cats – and for some patients they work very well.
  • *Other medical disorders also produce these symptoms, so your vet needs to examine your pet.
  • Older cats can also suffer from diabetes. Symptoms may be difficult to interpret so always get expert advice.

Cat flaps and outdoor spaces

  • Some elderly cats may stop going out as a result of difficulty negotiating the cat flap. It may be helpful to build a step or leave objects they can use, both inside and outside to make it easier for your pet to remain independent. Eventually you may need to escort your cat in and out of the garden.
  • There are a number of reasons why your cat may stop going outside as it gets older. A significant influence could be other cats in the neighbourhood – your older cat will not be able to defend his or her ‘patch’ and therefore may be nervous. Spending time outside with you may alleviate this problem.

Caring for your cat’s teeth and gums as they get older

  • The bacteria from infected gums can spread around the body and damage the liver and kidneys.
  • If your cat is willing, brush the teeth and also feed some dry food to try to limit the build-up of plaque. Tooth or gum problems become common as a cat gets older, so they may not be able to chew harder foods which is why senior dry foods often have smaller, softer pellets.
  • Take your cat for regular check-ups; if your cat does need treatment, with modern anaesthetics, age itself, is not necessarily a problem. Dental care under anaesthetic is now commonly carried out on older cats, once they have been checked out for any underlying diseases.

siamese cat meows

Things to look out for in an older cat

 Go to the vet if your cat:

  • is eating less
  • not drinking
  • is drinking more than normal
  • has smelly breath
  • has lost weight
  • is stiff, limping, or having difficulty in jumping up onto things
  • you find any lumps or bumps
  • has become a lot less active
  • is having trouble passing urine or faeces, or is soiling or passing water indoors
  • is disorientated or is having trouble with balance
  • seems confused or starts getting lost

If you feel something is not right –consult your vet. You know your cat best.

Older cats love comfort

  • Older cats love their creature comforts, and will spend a lot of time sleeping in a warm and comfy spots. Beds that can be hung off radiators are often very popular; and if your cat is used to using a higher sleeping area he/she may appreciate some sort of step to enable them to climb up more easily. Cats like to hide away and a nice warm, safe place will always be appreciated.
  • They can also enjoy more time spent with you and the stimulation of playing with new toys and activities.

Finally: Don’t forget to keep up vaccinations, flea treatments and worming.

Charlie says ‘Older cats make lovely companions’.

 

 

 

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older cat egyptian mau

Dementia in older cats – symptoms, care and treatment

Charlie ShortTail

Dementia in older cats is becoming more common as our pets live longer

Do cats get Alzheimers?

tabby cat

Cat dementia (feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome)

As cats start to reach an old age they often become susceptible to both mental and physical problems.

Physical changes can be easier to spot; however mental changes may be a little less obvious.

A cat becomes a senior citizen around the age of 11 or 12 years.

Although older cats don’t get Alzheimer’s disease as such, they can suffer from feline dementia, also known as feline cognitive dysfunction (CDS).

Advancing age in cats often leads to more diseases and disorders, although cats are generally healthier than dogs.

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (dementia) is a condition that is directly related to the ageing of a cat’s brain.

When the brain is not working normally this can lead to changes in awareness of the surroundings, problems in learning and memory, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli – such as play and interaction with the family. Although the initial symptoms of the disorder are mild, they gradually worsen over time, also known as “cognitive decline.”

prettycat

Symptoms of dementia in senior/ ageing cats

Your cat may have some or most of these symptoms if he or she is suffering from dementia.

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Increased irritability
  • Change in personality or character
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Less desire to play
  • Slow to learn new tasks
  • Inability to follow familiar routines
  • Getting lost
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Faecal and urinary incontinence
  • The apparent disregard for previously learned house rules
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive licking

According to an article in the Telegraph newspaper “By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent (2008)

“Conditions like Alzheimer’s are becoming increasingly common and now affect one million felines.

Vets have reported seeing an increase of cases but fear that many owners do not pick up on the symptoms because they do not associate the condition with their pets.

As in humans, dementia leaves the animals confused and distressed. The progressive condition, caused by degeneration of the brain, can cause them to get lost more often or become reclusive.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh now believe half of all cats over the age of 15 and a quarter aged 11 to 14, are suffering from “geriatric onset behavioural problems”.

Dr Danielle Gunn-Moore, professor of feline medicine at the university, said: “When we look at cats of all ages, we believe about 10 per cent will be affected, which represents about one million cats in Britain.”

shorthair cat sleeping

Why are cats getting Dementia?

Just like people cats are living longer, and, as in people they have better diets and have better medical care than in the past so are reaching longer lifespans.

The longer we or cats live the higher the risk of suffering from dementia.

Cats with dementia show the same amyloid protein present in their brains as is found in human dementia suffers. Symptoms may be mild or more concerning.

What are amyloid proteins?

Amyloid proteins and dementia:

Plaques form when protein pieces called beta-amyloid clump together.

Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells. Beta-amyloid is chemically “sticky” and gradually builds up into plaques.

The most damaging form of beta-amyloid may be groups of a few pieces rather than the plaques themselves. The small clumps may block cell-to-cell signalling at synapses. They may also activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation and devour disabled cells.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

What age might cats get dementia?

Just as in people, old age in cats doesn’t always mean dementia.

Cats between ages 11 and 14 may show some signs of cognitive dysfunction – changes in behaviour or personality.

In cats 15 and older it is much more common.

However, some medical conditions or behavioural problems unrelated to dementia might show the same signs as dementia, so your vet must exclude these possibilities beforehand.

Abyssinian cat lying down

You may also like what to expect as my cat gets older

Symptoms of dementia in senior/ ageing cats

Confusion or disorientation in ageing cats

Is your cat may be behaving oddly?

Does your cat seem disoriented or confused? just like people, cats with dementia may not understand familiar settings or may start to get lost when they go out. Your cat may start to stay indoors more.

Is she/ he behaving strangely – staring at walls, forgetting there is food in the dish or perhaps interacting differently with a cat mate that she or he knows well?

Does your cat appear to forget where familiar things are – the cat flap, litter tray, food for instance; this can all lead to stress for your cat.

Anxiety/restlessness in cats

Is your cat pacing around, wandering aimlessly, staring at a wall for no apparent reason?

Your cat may also demand a lot more attention to try to alleviate feelings of anxiety.

Change in personality in cats

A cat’s personality could change from sweet, friendly and loving to become more aggressive, less likely to want to be cuddled or just plain grumpy.

Cats that usually like to cuddle up or love being stroked tend to keep this behaviour throughout their lives. Therefore if your older cat begins to back away from being stroked and starts to become easily irritated, then this may be a sign of cognitive deterioration; with severe cases of dementia a cat may, at times, not recognise you.

lando-green-eyes

Loud meowing and howling behaviour in old cats

Is your cat meowing or howling a lot for no particular reason?

Loud crying at night may be a possible indication of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).

Altered sleeping patterns in cats

Instead of sleeping most of the night, your cat may be wandering around the house, often meowing.

Is your cat aimlessly wandering around your home?

Does your cat seem unsettled at night?

Has their usual routine changed?

Sleepy white older cat
sleepy white cat

Loss of appetite in cats

Cats suffering from senile dementia may “forget” to eat. Of course, there are many reasons why a cat could have a decrease in appetite or discontinue eating all together.

You will need to take your cat to see a vet to have other physical problems rules out first.

Not going out/ getting lost

If you have had to go out to find your cat, or neighbours are finding your cat you may be wise to keep your cat confined to your own garden (cat run) or home.

Your cat may alternately be unwilling to go out.

A word of caution though – your cat may just be getting lazier or less tolerant of cold weather; arthritis or joint problems might discourage your cat from outdoor adventures. Kidney disease, brain tumours, deafness and blindness can also cause similar symptoms.

Always consult your vet for advice.

House Soiling by older cats

Your cat may urinate or defecate outside of their litter box or exhibit incontinence.

Your cat may be having accidents outside of the litter box, or even just relieving him or herself wherever the cat happens to be such as on a bed or near food areas.

Your cat may forget where the litter tray is; you may need to provide more than one, especially if your cat has access to more than one floor level.

Lack of grooming or excessive licking in older cats

Your cat may no longer wash and groom him or herself well.

Try to brush your cat each day to help keep their coat in good condition. Brushing may also help maintain a good bond with your cat.

Excessive licking can be a sign of anxiety and stress.

older russian blue cat face

What can I do to help my cat – care of cats with dementia.

If your cat does have dementia, you can do some things to make life easier for him or her and your family.

  • Feeding your cat – stick to a regular routine so they know what to expect and when.
  • Increase the number of food bowls, water dishes and litter trays to make them more accessible from wherever the cat may be in the house.
  • Litter trays should be wide with shallow rims to allow easier access. Keep more than one litter tray if your cats has problems finding the tray.
  • Try to keep their environment unchanged (especially for those cats who may also be blind or deaf) as change creates confusion, which in turn increases anxiety and stress.
  • If changes do need to be made, try to introduce them slowly and gradually.
  • If you have visitors your cat may feel safer being in a different room.
  • A Pet Remedy plug-in or spray can help an anxious cat cope with daily life.
  • Provide several nicely padded and comfortable resting/hiding places throughout the house and again make them easy for your cat to get to.
  • Give your cat the attention and reassurance they seek, but do not fuss too much as they also appreciate time to themselves.
  • Like people, cats need to be stimulated to keep using their brains- play games with your cat, this will also help to keep their impulses sharp.  Activities can include new toys, exercise, and training for new skills – this can all help to improve your cat’s memory and brain function.

Getting the symptoms of dementia diagnosed in ageing cats

For a vet to diagnose dementia symptoms in cat, a full examination will be needed; this includes blood tests, X-rays, hormone level testing and urinalysis.

There is though, the possibility of good news in that your vet might discover a treatable condition, such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes.

Some of the dementia type symptoms might be caused by hearing or vision loss.

Treatment of dementia in cats (felines)

Medication for dementia

Your vet might prescribe medication which aids in combating cognitive dysfunction, such as psychoactive drugs.

Certain supplements, such as vitamin E capsules, might also help, as can prescription anti-anxiety medications.

Never attempt to diagnose or give over the counter medicines yourself – always consult a vet.

Do not buy drugs on the internet and administer them yourself as this could be dangerous for your cat.

Diet Change to help dementia in cats

Your vet will be able to provide recommendations for foods and dietary supplements that promote brain health. They will most likely include the following ingredients, which are all great for cognitive function: antioxidants, vitamins C and E, beta carotene, carnitine, carotenoids, Omega-3, flavonoids, and selenium. As with all supplements the correct dosage is vital as too much of some vitamins can cause adverse reactions.

If you are concerned about your cat always seek professional help from your vet.

Charlie says we all love our old cats…

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ginger cat meows welcome to Lovecats

Music for Cats

Charlie ShortTail

New Music Album is released specifically designed for cats

I heard in the news that the album had been released. Music for cats.

This is a first for me and will probably be number one on my Christmas list…

I look forward to testing the music with my best friend Lando and my ‘huMum’.

For now here is a short summary about the album:

Music for cats by David Tele

Music for Cats is the first album not written and composed for people, but for cats.

This is the first music album written especially for cats and released by a major record label.

The ‘Music for Cats’ album has currently topped the charts.

Grey and white cat lying down

The music is said to have a proven effect on cats

The music claims to have a ‘scientifically proven’ effect on my furry cat friends.

The album is composed of sounds which are cat-friendly and at a frequency level and range of our feline hearing.

The music was part of a scientific study by the University of Wisconsin, America.

The study demonstrated that us cats showed a significant preference for the ‘cat designed’ music.

The music is supposed to give relaxed and happy feelings to your cat.

The sounds include low strings and cat purrs.

Testing the cat music:

Have a look at some fellow cats testing out the cat Music album:

Music for cats by David Tele.

 

 

Try out the music on your cat and let Charlie know if you best friend approves.

 

 

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Orlando

Healing power of your cats purr

Charlie ShortTail

All about your cat’s purr and how purring helps to heal

Cats don’t just purr when they are happy.

Cats also purr when they are injured, in pain or stressed too…

Cats purr at a ‘healing frequency” (25-150 Hz).

This frequency is therapeutic for:

  • bone growth and healing
  • pain relief
  • swelling reduction
  • wound healing
  • muscle growth and repair
  • tendon repair
  • joint mobility

This might explain why cats generally have better health than dogs and also why they suffer from fewer problems after bone injury.

In people a cats purr can:

  • reduce blood pressure
  • help with mental health problems such as mood.
  • may help with sleep

A cat’s purr also feels, as well as sounds lovely and relaxing…listen to this-

People with pets live longer!

This is only a very brief description of purring and how a cat’s purr can aid healing.

Charlie says high five to the power of cats.

ginger kittens purring
Ginger babies purring whilst napping

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grey persian kittens

Persian Cats

Charlie ShortTail

About Persian Cats

Persian cats are one of those instantly recognisable cat breeds that command both love and respect.

They are both pretty and beautiful, with long coats and expressive eyes.

The Persian is the most popular pedigreed cat in North America, if not the world.

Persian cats are thick-boned, short and cobby with a short back and legs and short, balanced tails.

They have wide-set, small ears and their big, bold eyes which are usually a stunning, orange colour.

Their wonderful, expressive eyes are also available in blue, green or bi-colour blue and orange, depending on their coat colour.

The Persian cat comes in two types: show and traditional. The show Persian has a round head enhanced with a thick ruff, small ears, a flat nose, big round copper eyes, a broad, short body on short tree-trunk legs, and a thick, flowing plume of a tail.

The traditional Persian, also known as the ‘Doll Face’, does not have the shorter features of the show Persian, and his/ her nose is of a normal length, giving a very sweet expression.

Persian Cats – personality

Persian cats have quiet, chilled-out personalities and sweet, slightly aloof facial expressions.

Persian cats are generally placid cats and very easy to live with.

They are lazy cats and are quite happy chilling out with you. Persian cats make great ‘lap cats’.

Don’t be fooled by the Persian’s docile character though. These gorgeous cats are far more intelligent than they’re often given credit for; they are very good at training and will pick new things up very quickly.

two persian kittens

Persian cat – colours

Although the majority of Persians are solid blue, black or white, the breed is now available in a broad spectrum of colours and patterns, including cream, red, blue-cream, chinchilla, smoke, brown, colour points, tortoiseshells and tabbies.

Persian cats – grooming and bathing

These cats have beautiful coats which need daily grooming; although this should not take up more than about 5-10 minutes each day.

The Persian needs regular baths to stay clean and sweet-smelling.

Introduce your kitten to bathing as soon as you bring him/ her home so that the kitten will hopefully learn to accept baths without drama.

Persian cat with orange eyes

Persian cat- breed history

In 1871 Persians were exhibited at the world’s first all-breed cat show, and in 1887 official standards for longhaired cats were issued by the National Cat Club.

The Persian breed standard has always called for a short face, but early Persians had a much longer face than is seen today.

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siberian cat in grass

Siberian Cats

Charlie ShortTail



 

All about the beautiful and intelligent Siberian cats

Ancestry of Siberian cats.

Their ancestry can be traced back to 13th century Russia.

The first breed standard was developed in 1987 from the stud ’Roman’.

They arrived in Europe and the USA in the 1990’s, and the UK in 2002.

siberian

Siberian cat – appearance and personality

Siberian cats are gentle giants who take up to 5 years to reach full maturity.

They are similar to the Maine Coon and Norwegian forest cat, however they have a more barrel-shaped body and a wedge-shaped head.

They have gorgeous, bright and slightly almond shaped eyes, in colours from copper through to green. (Blue is allowed only in the Neva Masquerade varieties).

Siberian cats are energetic, inquisitive and love to play; they form strong bonds with people.

They are clever and are sometimes described as ‘dog-like’. They can be taught to walk on a lead and some will also play ‘fetch’.

They need a lot of stimulation, as being so intelligent they can easily get bored; they do well in pairs for company and play.

These cats enjoy being outside and also love water.

Siberian cats have a lovely and impressive purr.

Siberian cat lying down

Siberian cats have beautiful, thick, semi-long coats in over 100 variations of pattern and colour.

They have tufted paw pads and Lynx tips on their ears.

They need daily grooming.

In winter their fur coats grow longer.

Some people who are allergic to cats can tolerate the Siberian cat.

Cost of a Siberian kitten

Kitten cost upwards of £500.00.

Choose a registered and trusted breeder.

The breed is known in some cases to have HCM – hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

To conclude:

Siberian cats make loving and loyal pets.

 

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Black and white tom cat waiting for dinner

Charlie’s friends and pawtraits -Felix

Charlie ShortTail

Introducing – Felix-“Fifi”

This is my old pal Felix, a black and white tom cat with a rather large appetite and a very loud meow!

He is a bit of a bruiser and tends to get into a lot of fights -he defends his territory fiercely against any cat, dog or squirrel. This means he has had a catalogue of war wounds, especially on his head; but he’s a tough guy.

Why the “Wifi”? He is such a boy that he had to have a girly nickname.

Felix lives with his sister Gertie Gertrude (a pretty and tiny ragdoll-mix, black cat).

Gertie loves to hide inside cupboards and bags, maybe to get away from Felix!

black rag doll cat hiding inside bag

They didn’t have good start in life, but were adopted by their dad and now he has his own family and they are part of a very happy house.

Felix is getting older and is now spending more time at home. He likes to help dad on the computer and hide in the little girls’ “wendy house’.

Felix is very laid back and friendly, however if you leave your feet outside the duvet he will have a go!

Black and white tom cat lying down
Chilling out…

Charlie loves Felix’s batman look!

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offering a grey cat food

A good diet for my cat

Charlie ShortTail

A healthy diet for your cat

What should I feed my cat? How can I give my cat a good diet?

We all want to our best for our cats and kittens, learning a little bit about your cat’s dietary needs will help you keep your loved one healthy and happy.  Read our simple guide about how to give your cat a healthy diet. Cats need a good diet to maintain a healthy body, coat and good dental health. A good diet will help your cat live longer and avoid unnecessary health problems.

Cats need meat for a good diet

Cats are carnivorous, this means they eat meat and have little need for carbohydrates (cereals and vegetables). Hunting cats will eat a variety of prey – mice, voles, birds, rabbits etc. Cats eat the muscles, organs, skin and bones of prey; this is a diet high in protein and fat. Cats need three times more protein than dogs. Cats must not be fed a vegetarian diet.

ginger cat with prey

Cats and cereals

Cats have little need for cereals and vegetables (about 2-3% in a natural diet).

Many dry cat foods contain up to 35-50% starches. Your cat does not have the metabolic adaptation to digest all this carbohydrate and so it is turned into fat. Feeding a lot of dry food may mean your cat is more likely to get overweight. Buy a high quality dried cat food as this will contain less starchy ingredients.

Cats with a history of urinary tract infection may be best fed with wet foods, although some premium dry foods containing cranberry are good.

Cats with diabetes should avoid dry foods that have a high carbohydrate (starchy) content; starches are converted into sugars as part of digestion.

Always get specialist advice if your cat has diabetes.

What should I feed my cat?

Prepared wet cat foods are a reliable way to give your cat a balanced diet, but can cause tooth decay if they contain sugars.

Commercial canned cat food and sachets are higher in protein than dry foods and therefore can be a convenient option; although quality varies a lot between brands.

Varieties with gravy will contain more starchy stuff (and probably more salt and sugar) than the jelly type (jelly is made from the bones and ligaments of animals). Jelly varieties are generally better for your cat’s teeth and dental health.

Canned foods usually contain around 8-10% carbohydrate and so this is nearer to a natural diet; canned foods do though contain a lot of water and so your cat will need to drink less water than on a dried food diet.

Cats eat a variety of prey in the wild, so your cat can quickly get bored with the same flavours of cat food.

Add variety to your cat’s diet with some:

  • Cooked meat (beef, lamb, pork, rabbit, turkey, chicken), be careful to remove all the bones though and cut the meat into small chunks or use minced meat. Cats do not chew!
  • Canned sardines, herring or mackerel make a good, nutritious treat.
  • Lightly scrambled egg is good as a light meal (never give cats raw egg white).

Don’t feed your cat

  • Too much liver – this can upset the bowels.
  • Too much fish – can lead to vitamin B1 deficiency.
  • Too much lean meat – cats need fat too.
  • Raw egg white –it contains avidin which can affect vitamin B absorption.
  • Dog food- it is too low in protein and too high in carbohydrates.
  • Anything salty.

Dry cat food and your cat’s diet

There are some good quality complete dry cats foods on the market which do not contain high levels of carbohydrate; look for products which are grain-free.

High-quality dry foods will be easier to digest than brands containing more starchy material. Dry foods containing a lot of starch can cause bowel problems as cats are not designed to eat grains.

Cranberry extract often added to dry food is good for your cat’s urinary tract health.

Dry food may be less likely to cause tooth decay.

An obese or overwieght cat

An overweight cat has a shorter life expectancy and is more likely to get diabetes. Feeding your cat two large meals a day can encourage obesity so if you can put out small amounts throughout the day.

Cats usually prefer a number of smaller meals, rather than one or two large meals. Research shows that cats prefer many (up to 20) very small meals a day.

Wet foods may better than dried food for heavy cats as they contain a lot of water, although there are specialist dry foods for older and overweight cats.

Lazy cats will need less food than active cats.

Ask your vet for advice; weighing dried food will help with portion size.

Safe human foods for snacks and treats for your cat – all part of a good diet for your cat

Occasional treats are fine:
  1. Hard cheese (in small amounts)
  2. Cooked scrambled egg
  3. Poached fish (bones removed)
  4. Canned tuna (not in brine –salted water)
  5. Cooked broccoli, pumpkin and carrot

Human foods toxic or likely to cause stomach upset in cats

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Citrus fruits
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot, cherry, peach
  • Avocado
  • Cooked bones
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee, tea, alcohol
  • Grapes, raisins
  • Mushrooms
  • Salt

Foods to avoid:

Milk can cause tummy upsets as cats are often lactose intolerant, so maybe best avoided. There are special cat milks available which are lactose-free.

Don’t feed too much tuna (excessive amounts of this can lead to ‘yellow fat’ disease).

Food allergies in cats

Some cats may develop an allergy to something in the content of their food.

  • Itchy skin is a common symptom of food allergy or intolerance.
  • A diet free from wheat and added carbohydrates may benefit your cat.

Check the labels on cat food carefully.

If you have any concerns about your cat contact your vet for advice.

Case study

Chaos had itchy skin and was constantly scratching, she was also underweight.  A grain-free diet has improved her skin and coat and she is now a healthy weight.

Charlie’s furriends and Pawtraits – introducing Mz. Chaos

And finally..

Of course, your cat may be guilty of visiting other homes for an extra meal!

Charlie says:

the big meow by Charlie Shorttail

  • Cats like small mouse-sized meals several times a day.
  •  If you have more than one cat each cat should have its own bowl.
  •  Cats like variety so don’t always feed the same foods.
  •  Always leave fresh water out and if you have more than one cat leave several bowls in different locations.

You may also like:

House plants that are toxic to cats

 

 

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Cat Behaviour – understanding your cat

Charlie ShortTail

Understanding your cat’s behaviour

Why does my cat behave like this?

Watch and observe your cat:

Kissy eyes – cats squeeze their eyes shut when they are happy.

kissy eyes

Happy cats will greet you with the tail held high and the tip slightly bent.

happytailsillouette

Cats thrash their tails when they are annoyed or in a bad mood.

A flicking tail indicates that your cat is feeling tension.

An aggressive or nervous cat may pull it’s ears back and show the teeth and claws.

earsback

Cats scratch to release a scent from the pads in their paws.

scratchpaw

Cats brush up against you to release scent.

They have glands around the face and also on the tail area and paws.

Cats purr

Purring for pleasure – a low frequency sound that is made from the cat’s chest, not from the vocal chords.

Whilst cats usually purr when relaxed and happy they can purr when in pain to try and comfort themselves.

shorthair cat sleeping

Loving cats

A cat’s affection has to be earned, but they are loving and once trust is established they are loyal and can make devoted companions.

Cats have helped many children, adults and other animals.

 

Playing with your cat

Playing with your cat will continue to strengthen the bond between you.

cat playing with toy mouse

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siberian cat in grass

House plants that are toxic to cats

Charlie ShortTail

Which house plants are harmful to cats?

Common house plants can be poisonous or cause allergies to your cat.

 

amaryllis toxic plant to cats
Amaryllis

Amaryllis – a popular present at Christmas (keep out of your pets reach)

Aphelandra

Azalea

Castor Oil Plant

Christmas Cherry

Chrysanthemum

Codiaeum

croton house plant toxic to cats
Toxic house plant -croton

Croton

cyclamen toxic plant to cats
Cyclamen

 

Cyclamen

Devil’s Ivy

Dieffenbachia

Elephant’s ear,

Caladium)

FernsHolly

Hypoestes phyllostachya

Hyacinthus Ivy ( Hedera)

Kalanchoe

mistletoe toxic plant to cats
Mistletoe

 

Mistletoe

 

oleander plant toxic to cats
Oleander

 

Oleander

Ornithogalum

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

peace lily
Peace lily

Poinsettia

Senecio

Spotted dumb cane

Star of Bethlehem

Umbellatum
Umbrella Plant

Zebra Plant

Cats and allergies to plants

Plants may cause blistering or itching of the mouth and gums.

Sneezing and eye problems can also be caused through contact with plants.
Contact with the leaves of food plants such as tomato, strawberry, rhubarb, parsnips, carrot, celery, marrow and cucumbers can cause irritation.
Geranium and Primula leaves can also cause similar skin problems.
Many plants that are poisonous when eaten may also have the potential to cause skin irritation on contact with their leaves or sap.
ginger and white cat sleeping
If you think your cat is unwell contact your vet for advice.
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