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AN EYE OPENER
Helping Kitten Buyers UNDERSTAND
I have put together the below information for potential kitten buyers to read. Any one who knows me, can say without a doubt, that I am a very honest, open and caring breeder. That my cats health and well being is my first priority. However, I feel that many kitten buyers are unaware of the different health “issues” that cats may develop. That they don’t understand WHY these problems occur and how easily treated most are. This is due to no fault of their own! They simply don’t have the experience that breeders, shelter workers or veterinarians have.
I realize that it is difficult when you buy a new kitten and he/she develops diarrhea, starts sneezing or has weepy eyes after leaving the breeders home. The breeder will likely say that the kitten/cat was healthy at time of sale. You are naturally a little skeptical because, to you, it seems quite strange that a kitten/cat can be completely healthy one day and appear sick the next. As hard as it is to believe, the breeder is likely telling the truth.
For the MOST PART - the reason breeders get into breeding and selling kittens is because they are out to better the breed. They want to produce HEALTHY, happy, lovable kittens for people to cherish for YEARS to come. They, by no means want to “trick you” by selling you an unhealthy kitten. What good would that do for any one? Especially the poor kitten!
Good breeders never stop learning! They have good relationships with their vets. That right there, says a lot, because most vets don’t like breeders all that much. It takes time for a vet to see that you put your cats first. That you are not just attempting to make a quick “buck” (key word being ATTEMPTING!) but that you are breeding for the right reasons. That you will bring your cat to their clinic for exams and vaccines and not just when it is on deaths door and will die without their help. However, any breeder and any vet will tell you just how difficult it is to keep a larger number of cats (whether a shelter or a cattery) healthy at all times. It is kind of like a day care. When one child has a cold or head lice, each kid in that day care comes home with a cold or head lice! When one cat gets a sniffle, another follows. When one cat gets flea’s or fungus, another follows. It’s just part of owning a cattery or shelter. Breeding cats are far more likely to become “sick” then altered pets. They are under much more stress due to living with other unaltered cats and breeding and becoming bred. Stress causes a weakened immune system.
Good breeders take every precaution they can to ensure that their cats and kittens remain healthy at their home and when they leave. Vaccines are always up to date and de-worming is done annually. Antifungal and antibacterial shampoo’s are some thing that many breeders use on a regular basis as well. Feeding good quality foods and adding supplements to their cats diets, if needed, are another way that breeders attempt to keep their cats in tip top shape. But a breeder can only do so much!
Did you know that on average 70% - 95% of cats have Rhinotracheitis (herpes virus 1)? Cats are usually infected when they are young but because the virus is a herpes virus it can live in the body long term and surface at times of stress or immune compromise (like moving to a new home for example or flying on a plane). Having this virus many times just means that the cat will experience weepy eyes and sneezing (clear discharge) however, having this virus also makes cats more susceptible to developing URI's. So, a cat under stress could start out with some minor "tearing" or innocent sneezing but without a couple days could have gucky eyes and colored nasal discharge indicating infection.
Some times cats will become “carriers” and when under stress, can suddenly develop different issues. The most common issues are: (1) URI‘s, which may just be mistaken for allergies or irritation due to being introduced into a new environment (2) Diarrhea, from stress in most cases but also possibly parasites/cysts that lay dormant until the cat is under stress (3) Ringworm (a fungus), that could potentially develop once a cat is under stress and the immune system is weak.
There is a very good chance that a breeder doesn't know that a cat or kitten is a carrier of some thing until they have been under a great deal of stress and have suddenly developed a symptom. Most times, until a kitten leaves to go to their new home, they are not under any stress! So - when a breeder says that the kitten/cat was healthy and were given a clean bill of health from the vet before leaving, they are likely being honest. It is far more likely that the stress of moving to a new home, traveling, meeting new people, etc has caused the cat to come out with the issue(s).
PLEASE NOTE: NOT ALL SNEEZING, DIARRHOEA, SKIN IRRITATIONS, ETC ARE CAUSED BY A CAT BEING A CARRIER OF SOME THING! MOST TIMES - IT IS SIMPLY STRESS THAT CAUSES THESE ISSUES AND IN TIME, THEY RESOLVE ON THEIR OWN!
Regardless, is a treatable nuisance really a reason to cause a fuss or request that a kitten be returned to the breeder or even a shelter? In particular, when the breeder (shelter owner) wasn't aware that the kitten/cat would have any issues once they left? I personally would like each and every potential kitten buyer to think about this before inquiring about a kitten at any cattery. If you REALLY want a kitten/cat, then some thing that is easily treated shouldn’t be a reason to return the poor thing and cause him/her even more stress!
Treatment for an URI is most times, a weeks worth of antibiotics!
Treatment for diarrhea, depending on the cause, is either TIME, a weeks worth of antibiotics or 3-7 days worth of de-wormer!
Treatment for flea’s is a bath and a single application of a product like Revolution or Advantage and possibly spraying carpets and furniture and vacuuming to ensure there are no live fleas in the home!
Treatment for fungus, is most times bathing in antifungal shampoo and cleaning but in some cases requires a few weeks worth of oral antifungal medication, bathing and cleaning.
Now, is it really THAT much of a hassle to treat your new addition for a week or two, if even required, when you will have a beautiful, over all HEALTHY cat to love for years to come?
There are issues in EVERY CATTERY and EVERY SHELTER! If a breeder (or shelter) denies this, then they are simply lying or incredibly lucky (my bet is lying!). I know that I do the best that I can and if any one feels that isn’t good enough, I would love to see them try to do better. It isn’t as easy being a breeder or working at a shelter as many think it is! But, if you are as passionate about cats as I am - you will find the strength and energy to keep going.
Please don’t think that all kittens/cats will develop issues when going to a new home. Most won’t. However, they CAN and that is why I felt that it was important to include this page on my website.
DNA testing has allowed Persian breeders to test their cats for PKD (polycystic kidney disease) so that the cats they use in their breeding programs produce only kittens PKD negative. Meaning, that they won’t develop PKD in the future. An easy blood test done at the vets can determine whether a cat is negative for FIV (Feline Immune Deficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia). Most breeders have this test done on each and every cat that enters there home. By doing this, they can guarantee that the kittens they produce are also FIV/FeLV negative which means that at time of sale they are negative for these two fatal diseases. Good breeders also do their best to ensure they don’t use cats with bad bites, small nasal passages, breathing issues or bad temperaments in their programs. Sadly there is not yet a DNA test for Persians that can detect HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy). At this time, the only test that can detect this problem is an ultrasound. However, detection of persistent heart murmurs in kittens is a good indication that there may be heart disease in the blood line. In this case, I would say that an ultrasound is in order but other wise, if a kitten/cat is considered healthy when examined by a veterinarian then there is no reason to assume the cat has or carries HCM. FIP (Feline infectious peritonitis) is a fatal disease and it truly is heart breaking. This is one disease that I truly wish there was a DNA test for. Sadly, there is not one available yet. But trust me, when there is, every breeder I know will be in line to test their cats! FIP can suddenly pop up after years of no FIP deaths. It is a complicated disease and one that no breeder wants to ever see. Sadly, the reality is, that every breeder, if they breed long enough, will lose a kitten to FIP. It is recommended that if a breeder consistently loses kittens to FIP that they narrow down the culprit (as FIP is partially genetic). Then, altering that cat is recommended.
As you can see, there are many important, life threatening, diseases that breeders are attempting to omit from their programs.
Despite all breeders do to keep their cats healthy, there is no guarantee that some thing won’t “pop” up from time to time. Does that mean the breeder doesn’t care? That the breeder has unhealthy cats? Or that the cats are living in an unhealthy environment? NO! This is certainly not the case and although it is hard for “pet owners” to understand this; I urge them to try!
Now - don’t get me wrong. In some cases, a kitten buyer has a legitimate reason to be upset. Some breeders do sell unhealthy kittens and those breeders simply have no conscience. But you need to do your research and ask questions. Any kitten/cat from ANY CATTERY (regardless of how reputable they may seem) may become sick. It’s just part of breeding and showing cats.
Most GOOD breeders will offer some sort of guarantee on their kittens/cats. Most times, this guarantee will cover the cat/kitten if they die of a fatal, congenital defect. NOT if they develop a treatable nuisance. That is a chance that a kitten buyer must take when buying a kitten! A good breeder, however, will be there to offer support and advice when in need.
One last thing I would like to mention is that any cat, when their surroundings are changed, may become scared and may appear aggressive. Please read the below information I have included on this “topic”.
The below information was taken from different websites.
Changes in a cat's environment can trigger diarrhea, according to Ohio State University. The change can be significant, like a move, or seemingly minor, like a change in food. Other common stressors to cats include home construction, visits to the veterinarian, visitors in the home and the absence of a human or animal friend. Alleviating the cat's stress may help to relieve her physical symptoms.
Picture this, one fine day, you’re taken to this totally unfamiliar place and are told that from now you are going to stay here. How would you react? Won’t it make you hysterical, mad and at your wits end? If this is the condition of a human being, the most intelligent creature who can communicate with people around him, how much tougher will it be for a mute animal like a cat to move into unchartered territory.
Generally cats have a tougher time adjusting to new surroundings than they have in adjusting to new people. A change of home can turn even the most well behaved of cats into a snarling, aggressive beast that is paradoxically fearful of its surroundings. Thus while moving houses, it is essential that one make the transition as smooth as possible for the pet, so that they suffer from minimum possible stress.
Here are some of the few key tips you can follow to get your cat slowly acquainted to the new surroundings. A familiar object in an alien environs can give the cat a sense of security and help it open up much more easily. Try feeding the cat from its familiar bowl or bring along the toys with which it is accustomed to playing. Being close to objects that they can identify with will make them feel much more secure.
Don’t take the cat around the house, all at once because the act may freak them out. Instead introduce them to new places gradually, restricting their view to one or two rooms at the most initially. Keep them in these rooms till the time they become accustomed to the sights and sounds in the new house. This room can also become their first refuge on the first sign of danger and the added benefit here is that you know where to search for when they can’t be seen.
Remember to keep the windows closed so that they don’t jump out and also let them explore the place on their own at their own pace. For the first few weeks, it is best to keep the cat indoors because being outdoors comes with likelihood of injuries and infections.
Cats are used to marking their territory with urine to demonstrate dominance and in strange environments, they may be skeptical of doing so. This in turn can make them fearful and increase their stress levels. Using cat specialized diffusers or sprays which mimic an actual cat environment can create a calming effect and helps reduce their anxiety levels.
But above all, you need to instill a confidence in the animal that you care for them and this is the single most important thing that is essential when it comes to acclimatizing the animal to its new surroundings.
Give the poor cat some time to settle in! This could take WEEKS! Don’t assume that a kitten/cat is vicious just because they are hiding, hissing and all in all, scared, of their new home! Patience is a virtue!
TIPS: Making The Move As Stress Free As Possible!
Stress: Not that my cat has anything to worry about, but they do. Someone new in the house?, Moved? All are causes of stress and all cause diarrhea. Remove the causes and you will control cat diarrhea. If you can’t remove the causes, the diarrhea should pass in a couple of days as your cat adjusts to the new situation. If not, a trip to the vet is in order.
Stop smoking indoors. Second-hand smoke can affect pets, too. Some pets are allergic to cigarette smoke.|
Put moisture in the air with a humidifier. Winter heating and air-conditioning in the summer can create dry air in the home, which causes the nasal passages to dry out and affect your cat's breathing.
Choose a low-dust litter, preferably one that clumps. Litter that creates dust when scratched can affect your cat's breathing.
Clean and vacuum often to keep dust to a minimum, especially if your cat seems to be allergic to house dust.
Give your cat a vitamin supplement to promote a healthy and strong immune system.
Eliminate stress in your cat's environment. Sources of stress can include moving to a new home or introducing a new pet to the household. Stress can cause asthma or allergies to flare up.
Most cats are not big fans of change. If they could chose, they would prefer to stay where they’re already comfortable and settled in. But, at some point in their lives, most cats must move on to a new location. Making the transition as stress-free as possible for your feline companion can have big benefits, including reducing the risk of fear-based house soiling, excessive meowing and crying, hiding, escape attempts and aggression.
Moving a cat to a new house involves three basic aspects: pre-move preparations, the move itself and settling into the new home. All three sections below apply to a move with a resident pet. The third section is most important if you’re only trying to integrate a new cat into your existing household.
Allow your cat time to get used to his carrier. Leave it sitting out with the door open and a comfy bed inside. Occasionally leave a couple of cat treats in it so your cat can find them on his own. Start feeding your cat in the carrier. If your cat is reluctant to enter the carrier to eat, start by just placing his dish next to it. After a few days, put the dish just inside the carrier, right near the opening. Then, over a week or two, gradually move the dish toward the back of the carrier so your cat has to step a little further inside each day. Eventually, place the dish at the very back of the carrier to your cat must go all the way into it to eat.
Put out your moving boxes a couple weeks before you need to start packing so your cat has time to get used to their presence. If your cat is nervous while you’re packing, he’ll probably be happier closed in a quiet room, away from the activity and noise. It’s also a good idea to confine your cat if you think he might try to hide in one of the boxes.
Try to keep your cat’s daily routine as stable as possible. Stick closely to his regular schedule for feeding, play and attention. A feeder with a timer can be helpful to make sure your cat eats at the same time each day.
If your cat is very skittish, nervous or easily stressed, speak to your vet about using anti-anxiety medication to make the moving process easier on him.
To prevent your cat from dashing out the door while movers are going in and out, close him in a bathroom with food, water, a bed and litter box. Place a sign on the door asking the movers to keep the door shut.
Feed your cat a very small breakfast on moving day to reduce stomach upset.
While in transit, resist the urge to open your cat’s carrier to soothe him. A scared cat may try to dash out. Only open the carrier in a secure area and when absolutely necessary.
Carry a roll of packing tape in case the carrier needs emergency repairs along the way.
Settling Into the New House
First, cat-proof the new house. Tuck away electrical cords, plug up nooks where a cat could get stuck, make sure that all windows have secure screens, remove any poisonous houseplants and confirm that no pest-control poison traps have been left anywhere in the house.
Immediately take your cat to a room that will remain relatively quiet. Before opening the carrier, set up your cat’s food and water dishes, litter box and bed. Place some cat treats around the room to encourage your cat to explore.
Keep your cat in this one “home-base” room for his first several days in the new house. This will allow him to gradually get used to the sights, sounds and smells of his new home without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping your cat in one room will also make it easy for him to find his litter box, food and water.
Spend time with your cat in his home-base room, at first doing low-key activities like reading or watching TV. When he begins to explore, offer your cat attention, treats and playtime.
When the flurry of unpacking is over, gradually give your cat access to the rest of the house, one room at a time. If it’s not possible to close doors to limit his access, closely supervise your cat during short exploration sessions.
Provide a second litter box where you’ll want to keep one permanently. Keep the box available in the home-base room for at least a few weeks. Once your cat has settled in, you can remove that box. Alternatively, you can keep the home-base litter box but gradually transfer it to a preferable location. To make sure your cat doesn’t lose track of where it is, move the box just a foot or so away from the home-base room and toward your preferred location each day.Click to add text, images, and other content
November 16th, 2022