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FUR BALLS

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FUR BALLS-CAUSES & CURES
When a cat is seen eating grass, he may be doing this for a very specific purpose. In all probability he is attempting to remove an obstruction in his stomach or intestine cause by fur balls.

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All cats keep themselves clean and remove dead hairs by licking their fur. They are fastidious and spend much of their time grooming themselves and each other. It's natural for a certain amount of the fur to be swallowed. Sometimes it builds up in the intestines and causes a blockage which is called a 'fur ball.' This may cause coughing, discomfort and constipation. It is easily remedied at home, but in extreme cases veterinary treatment may be needed.
Fur balls are thick. matted tubes of fur that build up in a cat's stomach or intestines. They occur because a cat continually licks its fur to remove dead hairs from its coat and to keep itself clean. This loose fur is swallowed, builds up and it then regurgitated or passed through its faeces. This happens about every two weeks. Long-haired cats tend to swallow more fur than shorthairs and so are more prone to the adverse effects of fur balls.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
If the cat cannot shift the fur ball, its intestines could become blocked. A cat with problem will vomit more than usual, will be continually hungry but able to eat only a little at a time. Eventually, the cat will begin to lose weight and look in poor condition.

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A longhaired cat looks beautiful but is prone to fur balls. Regular grooming will help to avoid the distress such a problem causes.
REMEDIES
The simplest remedy is prevention. By brushing and combing your cat regularly, particularly longhairs, there will be less fur to be swallowed. Fur balls obstructions can be treated at home with liquid paraffin. Give 15ml (three tsp) on day one, 10ml (two tsp) on day two, and 5ml (one tsp) on day three. The fur ball should either be regurgitated or passed in the faeces. Cats should not be dosed with liquid paraffin regularly but only as needed. If there is no change, then your cat needs to be examined by a vet. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to remove the intestinal obstruction.
DID YOU KNOW?
?One of the reasons cats eat so much grass is to help them vomit up fur balls. If you have an indoor cat it is important to provide it with kitty grass most pet shops stock it.
?Serious bowel obstruction caused by the build-up of fur balls is a new phenomenon in cats, the result of selective crossbreeding, which has produced cats with longer and thicker fur.
Q My shorthaired cat hates being combed, but he leaves hairs everywhere. What can i do?
A As he is shorthaired, you can groom him by hand instead. All cats love being stroked and in shorthairs this is just as effective as being brushed.
Q My vet suggests that i give liquid paraffin to my persian if she develops a fur ball blockage. It sounds dangerous. Is it?
Not at all. It helps the cat to shift fur balls. But like all medicines, you should stick to the standard dosage.
Q Constant brushing does not seem to prevent my cat from getting fur balls, is this normal?
A Yes. fur balls will still occur but brushing will minimise them and help prevent them becoming obstructions.
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INSECT STINGS
A bee moving from plant to plant makes a tempting target for an unsuspecting young cat. Kittens are completely unaware of the fact that they can be badly hurt, or even killed, if they try to catch some insects.

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Kittens often fall victim to insect stings, simply because of their natural curiosity and predatory instincts. At this early stage in life, they do not yet appreciate the danger of some insects. There is very little that you can do to prevent this risk, and even keeping a kitten indoors is no guarantee that your pet will be safe, since such insects may be able to fly, and to a young cat present an irresistible target crawling over a window. The most likely time for kittens to fall victim to insect stings is often not in the height of summer, but during the spring and autumn, when the insects are likely to be slower and so less able to avoid their grasp. Young cats refining their hunting skills will not be able to distinguish between those which are harmless, such as leather-jackets or grasshoppers, and those which can inflict a painful sting. Mosquitoes and midges, although their bites may be extremely irritating do not pose any real threat to their victims.
DANGEROUS STINGS
Bees and wasps are particular hazards, since their buzzing noise acts as a further attraction for a young cat. Having grabbed the insect, the cat may be stung on its lips when it puts its face down towards its victim. Worse still can happen if your cat tries to swallow the creature while it is still alive. A sting in the mouth, particularly on the tongue, can be very dangerous because the affected area will swell up and can lead to your pet choking. This is a situation which will require emergency veterinary treatment.

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A sign that your cat has been stung will be if it scratches or licks the affected area repeatedly.
HOW TO TREAT STINGS
It will help to know whether a bee or wasp was responsible. Bees die after inflicting a sting, so look out for a dead bee in the area. There will be a chance of lessening the effects of a bee sting if you locate the tiny, dark dart of poison left behind and remove it carefully using a pair of tweezers. Bear in mind that your cat will be distressed and probably in pain, so try to avoid being hurt yourself. If possible try to smear the area of inflammation with antihistamine cream first. Thankfully, once a cat has been stung it will generally leave insects alone in the future.
DID YOU KNOW?
?Many wild cats actually prey on insects such as grasshoppers and so their domestic relatives are drawn to them.
?Wasp sting are alkaline which means that to neutralise them you should bathe them with a solution of (acid) vinegar diluted with water.
?Bees have an acidic sting so a solution of bicarbonate of soda rather than vinegar will be needed to treat the affected area.
Q How can i tell my cat has been stung?
A Your cat will appear distressed and be in obvious pain. It may cry out and dribble if the sting is in the mouth. With a body sting, your cat will lick the affected area repeatedly.
Q Can cats be allergic to stings?
A Just like people, some cats can be allergic to stings. This will cause your cat to collapse, suffering from what is known as anaphylactic shock. If this happens, it is vital you take your cat immediately to the nearest vet for emergency treatment to save its life.
Q Can anything be done to prevent this problem?
A If your cat is known to be at risk, your vet will prescribe antihistamine pills. Keep these in a safe place at home and give them immediately if your cat is stung again.
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please read this write up on bee stings it is very important and most of all very informative it was sent in by
Eric R.
Musician, Armchair Entomologist & Owner of 3 Cats
Thanks so much for taking the time to write hugs meg and the cat gang

When Pax toddled into my studio the other day, let out the most curious groan Ive ever heard him produce, vomited at my feet and dashed away to hide behind a speaker, he was clearly telling me something was very wrong. Luckily, the smoking gun was left behind and I knew instantly what had stung himfour feet from the patio entrance -- which wed left open for our three kitties was a yellow jacket minus one head few inches from that was the head, still twitching its jaws and antennae, lip-synching a tragic eulogy.

 

All theatrics aside, its important to know what stung your cat for several reasons, though its not always quite as obvious. To keep it simple, you basically have honey/bumblebees in one category and yellow-jackets, wasps and hornets in the other.


If you find the body, like I did, honey bees and yellow jackets look similar in that they are generally yellow-gold with black stripes circumnavigating their abdomen. Honey bees are fatter, look sort of furry, move a bit more sluggishly, and only get one golden opportunity to sting if they are threatened. When they sting, their barbed apparatus remains connected to the victim along with a tiny sac of venom, while the rest of them flies away and drops dead minutes later. They do indeed cause quite a bit of pain, but are far more innocuous than their yellow-jacket brethren (read further).

 

If you are able to locate the sting, and therefore the stinger, your first instinct may be to pluck it out using either your fingers or tweezers. You can do it this way, but there is an alternative that will greatly reduce the amount of suffering on the cat; because the venom sac is left attached to the stinger, which is essentially a barbed-syringe connected to a poison sac, gripping the stinger injects the poison into the sting! Vets recommend carefully scraping the stinger offbut realistically, none of the options may seem feasible to the poor cat anyway, so use your judgement.

 

Yellow jackets, wasps and hornets on the other hand are a lot less sporting about it, and things happen a bit differently when your curious cat pounces upon one of these little creeps. If its being swatted at and feels threatened, it stings. And stings. And stings again until its ready to leave. Each time, it broadcasts a chemical message to any local brethren and essentially requests backupwhich of course means bad business for the victim.

 

Stings are not usually fatal to human adults, except when the number of stings results in enough toxin to overthrow CNS functions. Naturally, children and babies can sustain less before this is the case because of their body mass; all things being equal, a cat falls into the latter category. Then theres allergic reactions to bee stings and just like us, cats run the risk of shock if stung only once. If this is the case, hopefully youll know immediately while he/she is breathing heavy, rather than just minutes later when they drop into a coma-get them to a vet pronto, there are drugs and surgery that can save his/her life, but waiting is not an option.

 

Allergic or not, if the cat pounces on the bee or wasp and traps it under its paws, often the insect attacks the face when the cat pokes its head down to peek at it. If the insect managed to sting the tongue, gums, throat or lips, that can also be catastrophic, pardon the pun. The tongue or tissues of the throat can swell and block the air passage. Again, timing is critical here, take off for the vet at once. In the worst case scenario that is, if theres 2 feet of snow on the ground and no road access, but the cat is choking from a sting in this region, a field-expedient way to save your cats life is to get an antihistamine into its system...Benadryl in a dropper would be ideal in this case, and it will NOT hurt your cat otherwise.

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