More Cat Care Information:
Cats enjoy chewing plants and due to their ability to climb almost anything, it can be very difficult to keep plants out of their reach. This means if you are planning to have plants around the house, it is important to know which ones are poisonous to cats. If you cat goes outside, it is far more difficult to control what they come into contact with, so knowing the signs that something may be wrong is also important.
|General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home|
|You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.|
|General Cat Care #2: Feeding|
|An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).|
Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.
Some parts of some plants may be poisonous to cats but the general rule is to assume that if some parts are, all parts are. Some plants can cause inflammation to the skin, the mouth or the stomach if consumes while others may effect a specific organ such as the heart of the kidney.
Some of the commonly encountered toxic plants for cats include:
- Autumn crocus
- Azaleas and rhododendrons
- Castor bean plant
- English ivy
- Peace Lily
- Sago Palm
- Spanish thyme
- Tulips and narcissus bulbs
Signs of a problem
The majority of plants will cause problems to the gastrointestinal system in addition to visible signs such as inflammation or irritation of the mouth, redness or swelling or even itchiness. However, different effects can be a sign that a specific organ has been affected. These include:
|General Cat Care #3: Grooming|
|Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs|
|General Cat Care #4: Handling|
|To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.|
|General Cat Care #5: Housing|
|Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.|
- If the airways are affected, breathing will be difficult
- If the mouth, throat or oesophagus is affected, swallowing may be difficult or they may drool
- If the stomach or intestines are affected, they may vomit
- In the intestines or colon are affected, they may have diarrhoea
- If the kidneys are affected, they may drink excessively or urinate more than normal
- If the heart is affected, they may suffer with irregular, fast or slow heart rate
What to do
If you think your cat has eaten a plant that may be all or partly poisonous, you need to take them to see a vet. Before you do this, remove any of the plant material from their fur, washing with warm water and a touch of non-irritating soap if necessary. Find out what plant they have eaten or if you are unsure, take a sample with you to the vet. There are also poison helplines and websites that can be used to help identify the plant as your vet may not know more than you do on the subject.
The vet will likely give the cat a physical exam and determine if any tests are needed to check for organ problems. Sometimes, charcoal is given when the cat has been vomiting to help absorb anything toxic in the gut while anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed to deal with any inflammation they are suffering from. Intravenous fluids are given in more extreme cases.
Unfortunately, there are some plants that are fatal when eaten, such as lilies. Others can cause lasting damage that may mean the cat needs medication or a special diet in the long term. So trying to keep them away from dangerous plants in the first place is always the best course of action.
|General Cat Care #6: Identification|
|If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.|
|General Cat Care #7: Litter Box|
|All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).|