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Cat Health | PetsWeekly

Top 5 Alternatives to Catnip

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Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is an amazing plant. It’s been grown for centuries because it has a sedative effect on humans and acts much like chamomile. Best of all, the concentration of its active chemical nepetalactone is reported to be 10 times more powerful than DEET when used as a mosquito repellent! (But sadly, that insect-repelling property only lasts a few hours).

Many cats love catnip, but the sad fact is that not every cat will react to it. In fact, only about 50% of cats have a reaction to catnip; and if your cat’s under three months old, they will have no reaction at all because they haven't developed the equipment to respond. In addition, the reaction to catnip is an inherited trait and if your cat doesn’t have the gene, well, they just won’t respond to the plant.

But not all is lost. If you have a cat that doesn't respond to the favored nip, you simply find an alternative that does work. Here is a roundup of our top five favorite alternatives to catnip:

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An In-depth Look at Feline Cognitive Dysfunction

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Our cats are living longer than ever, thanks to the life we’re helping to give them: good food, staying safely inside, environmental stimulation, and, yes, love. (Go ahead, find the data—but I firmly believe that love helps all of us last longer.)

Part of our pets living longer is the fact that we’re seeing feline cognitive dysfunction more often. [Learn why Getting Old Sucks - Cognitive Dysfuntion in Dogs (CCD)]

Dementia is a progressive loss of cognition or mental faculties due to brain tissue damage. It’s generally associated with aging; although younger cats can get it due to other causes (such as head trauma).  Alzheimer's is one type of dementia. While we don’t completely understand its causes, we know that heredity plays a part.

However, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is a disease that involves the degeneration and loss of brain nerve cells, resulting in behavioral changes.  Age is the greatest risk factor, but it’s not the only one. Officially, cats as young as eight years can present with symptoms and it's classified as a mental disorder. 

Read more: An In-depth Look at Feline Cognitive Dysfunction

Detecting Early Kidney Disease in Pets

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March is National Kidney month for humans, but today we want to raise awareness about kidney disease in pets.

Kidney disease is a leading cause of death in pets. In fact, 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will get kidney disease in their lifetime.

That number increases as pets mature - over 50% of cats over the age of 15 will develop kidney disease!

In the past, veterinarians were unable to detect kidney disease until the kidneys had lost nearly all of their function. At that point, treatment options were very limited and diagnosis was usually a death sentence. 

But earlier this year, researchers discovered a new bio-marker for kidney disease that allows vets to detect its onset years earlier than the current method. Now —for the first time ever— we can do something to help our pets. 

The IDEXX SDMA kidney test can detect this serious disease months to years earlier, when there is still time to do something about it.

Read more: Detecting Early Kidney Disease in Pets

Diagnostic Cat Litters Help Spot Health Problems

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If you have any experience at all with cats, you know that they are masters of hiding pain. When they do finally decide to let you know they’re miserable, the issue is generally so far along that there are few options available for treatment. 

Diagnostic cat litters can help you identify problems before they become full-blown medical emergencies. Cats are naturally prone to urinary problems like FLUTD, FUS, cystitis, blockages and more - but early detection can go a long way towards reducing medical bills and maybe even saving your cat's life. 

Cats are geniuses at hiding pain. Often the only way we can determine a potential health problem is through their blood or urine. Since few of us are equipped to run blood panels or evaluate a urine sample, a diagnostic litter is an inexpensive and easy way to help us detect problems early.

Here's how they work. 

Read more: Diagnostic Cat Litters Help Spot Health Problems

5 Things You Should Know about Cat Whiskers

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Whiskers, otherwise known as “vibrissae”, are on your cat’s face for more than just looks. They are finely honed tools that are important in many mammalian species; but cats find them particularly valuable for survival. For a cat, whiskers act as important navigation, hunting and communication tools.

Injure a cat’s whiskers and it’s very damaging to your pet! (Remember, your Dogs Vibrissae are just as important!)

Each cat whisker is about 2-3 times the thickness of ordinary hair. They can be found on either side of your cat’s mouth, above the eyelid and even on your cat’s forelegs. These whiskers have a very rich supply of nerves and blood vessels, which is just one reason why they are so sensitive. In fact, the whiskers on your cat’s mouth are embedded to a depth of three times what normal hair reaches. 

Here are five more things you should know about your cat's whiskers:

Read more: 5 Things You Should Know about Cat Whiskers

Feline Behavior

  • Is Mint Safe for Cats?

    Hello Grey Socks, Every time I put toothpaste on my brush, which is mint flavored, my cat wants to lick it. She goes completely banana's over it. Is it okay to let her lick some? Thanks,
    Kathy Easley

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  • Wool-sucking in cats

    Dear Kyra, I have an adopted 5-month-old ginger boy named Barney. He's a very sweet, funny kitty, and I love him to pieces. But...he has some strange quirks. The nice people at the animal shelter told me that he was… Read More +

  • Cats covering feces

    Dear Ghost, Why do cats cover their feces? My two cats are neurotic about covering up everything in their litter box, which is stupid because it's automatic anyway. Is it really necessary? Thanks,
    Kristin

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  • Cats spraying

    Baby, I live with 2 male cats (neutered) and 1 female cat (spayed). All of a sudden they have started spraying (they are 1 year old). They have sprayed my bed, my doors and in my closet (that I know of). I'm… Read More +

  • hypersthesia

    Mama-San, My 1 yr old tabby has developed a fear of its tail! The end twitches and she sometimes lightly attacks it, but most times just runs from it (especially at night) your site mentions anger in connection with tip- twitching.… Read More +

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