Providing good health care, especially preventive health care, can allow your cats to have longer, more comfortable lives. However, this cannot happen unless they see the veterinarian for needed care. Many cats dislike going to the veterinarian, and that starts with the difficulty of getting the cat into the carrier. If we can make this step easier, the entire veterinary visit is usually less stressful.

The following tips will help make veterinary visits easier for you and your cat.

Understanding your Cat’s Behavior

  • Cats are most comfortable with the familiar, and need time to adjust to the unfamiliar. The visit to the veterinarian is often difficult because the carrier, car, and the veterinary hospital are usually unfamiliar. Respect your cat’s need for time to become familiar with new situations, people and places.
  • Stay calm. Cats can sense our anxiety or frustrations, which may cause them to become fearful or anxious.
  • Cats do not learn from punishment or force. Give rewards to encourage positive behavior. For example, if your cat is sitting calmly in or near a carrier, give a treat. Likewise, rewards can be given to help your cat become familiar with the type of handling that may be encountered at the veterinarian (e.g., handling paws, ears and mouth). A treat is what is highly desirable to your
    cat, which may be in the form of food, play or affection. Be persistent and reward every time.

Helping Your Cat Become Comfortable with the Carrie

The goal is for your cat to learn to associate the carrier with positive experiences
and routinely enter voluntarily.

  • Make the carrier a familiar place at home by leaving it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time.
  • Place familiar soft bedding inside the carrier. Bedding or clothing with your scent can make them feel more secure.
  • Place treats, catnip or toys inside the carrier to encourage the cat to enter at home. Often, you will first see that treats are removed from the carrier during the night.
  • It may take days or weeks before your cat starts to trust the carrier. Remain calm, patient and reward desired behaviors.
  • If you still have trouble, you may need to assess the carrier itself.

Getting an Unwilling Cat into the Carrier
If your cat needs to go to the veterinarian right away, and is not yet accustomed to the carrier, the following may help:

  • Start by putting the carrier in a small room with few hiding places. Bring the cat into the room and close the door. Move slowly and calmly. Do not chase the cat to get it into the carrier.
    Encourage the cat with treats or toys to walk into the carrier.
  • If your cat will not walk into the carrier, and your carrier has an opening on the top, gently cradle your cat and lower it into the carrier. Another option is to remove the top half of your carrier while getting the cat to go into the bottom half, and then calmly replace the top as pictured above.
  • Use familiar bedding inside the carrier. Consider use of synthetic feline facial pheromone (Feliway® ) analog spray in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transport to help calm the cat.

Coming Home – Keeping the Peace in a Multi-cat Household
Cats are very sensitive to smells, and unfamiliar smells can result in one cat no  longer recognizing another. Aggressive behavior can occur when one cat senses another as a stranger. These suggestions can help avoid problems between cats following a veterinary visit:

  • Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all of your cats react.
  • If all cats appear calm and peaceful, let the returning cat out of the carrier.
  • If you sense tension between the cats, or if previous home-comings have resulted in conflict, keep the cat in the carrier and take it to a separate room to avoid potential injury from an upset cat. Provide food, water and litter box for a minimum of 24 hours while it regains the more familiar smell of home.
  • If there is still stress after this time, contact your veterinarian for more advice on slower introduction or medication to help the process.
  • A synthetic feline pheromone (Feliway®) can help provide the sense of familiarity.
  • For future visits:
    • Use familiar bedding or clothing with your scent, as it retains the smell of home and helps with reintroduction.
    •  Use a synthetic feline pheromone (Feliway®).
    •  Bring both cats to the veterinary practice together. This can prevent future conflict as both cats will carry the scent of the clinic.

What Type of Carriers are Best?

The best carriers are inexpensive hard sided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle. An easily removable top allows a cat which is fearful, anxious or in pain to stay in the bottom half of the carrier for exams. Your veterinarian can often do the exam in the bottom of a well-designed carrier.

Avoid carriers that require a cat to be pulled from or dumped out for an exam. Choose carriers that are sturdy, secure and stable for the cat, as well as easy for you to carry. The Center for Pet Safety recommends that the carrier be belted into the backseat only if they have been crash tested. All others should be placed on the floor of the backseat.

Some cats like to see out, whereas others are less anxious when the carrier is covered with a blanket or towel to prevent seeing the unfamiliar.

We wish to thank CEVA Animal Health Inc. for sponsoring this document.
To access the full guidelines document, please visit and

Blog source:



When in the unfamiliar and often scary place known as “the veterinary practice” your cat needs your confidence and reassurance, especially if it is sick. Your behavior greatly influences your cat’s sense of security and its behavior at the practice. Your nursing skills at home also play a major role in the success of the treatments that your veterinarian has prescribed to help your cat recover from illness or injury.

Your Role in Preparing for the Veterinary Visit
If your cat is stressed when going to the veterinary practice, ask your veterinarian for tips on how to acclimate your cat to the carrier or about anti-anxiety medication that you can administer before the visit. Withhold food from your cat for several hours before the appointment to avoid motion sickness. Take your cat’s favorite treats with you so that you or a veterinary team member can give them as a reward or distraction. Consider the use of synthetic feline facial pheromone spray (e.g., Feliway® or Comfort Zone® ) in the carrier and car at
least 30 minutes prior to help calm your cat. Place a favorite toy and familiar smelling clothing or bedding in the carrier as well. The AAFP and ISFM have created a practical brochure called “Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian” to provide tips to make the visit easier for you and your cat. This brochure can be found online at


Your Role at the Veterinary Practice
Cats can sense your stress, anxiety and apprehension, all of which can increase their own stress. Here are some tips to help create a more positive veterinary visit:

  • If your cat is very anxious in the waiting area, or if dogs are present, ask the receptionist if you can go immediately to an exam room. Alternatively, cover your cat’s cage with a towel or your coat to block the view and muffle the sounds. Once you are in the exam room with your cat, talk to it soothingly in a low pitched voice.
  • Avoid behaviors that while intended to comfort your cat, may actually increase anxiety. These can include clutching your cat, talking or staring in its face, and disturbing or invading its personal space. Human sounds intended to soothe or quiet (like ‘shhhh’) may mimic another cat hissing and should be avoided.
  • Physical correction such as tapping your cat’s head and verbal reprimands should be avoided because they may startle your cat and provoke the fight-or-flight response. Remember, cats are not human and react differently to discipline.
  • Do not handle or remove your cat from its carrier until requested by a member of the veterinary team.
  • Reinforce your cat’s positive behavior with petting or treats and ignore negative behavior rather than trying to correct it.
  • If your cat must stay in the hospital, bring along familiar toys and bedding from home. Provide the name of the cat litter and food that your cat is routinely given. Also mention anything that your cat enjoys (e.g., t reats, brushing, or play-time activities). The veterinary staff can use this information to help make your cat’s stay more pleasant.

The Role of the Veterinary Practice

  • To offer suggestions about treatment options that best match your cat’s personality and your ability to administer.
  • To educate you on how to administer medications and demonstrate techniques if needed.
  • To communicate with you about treatment, follow-up and behavior signs of wellbeing that signal recovery. Cats that feel good tend to sleep most often in a curled position. They groom themselves, follow a normal routine, interact with their owner, and eat and eliminate regularly.

Your Role in Nursing Care for Your Cat
The following nursing care tips will help you become an extension of the veterinary team after your cat returns home. Ask your veterinary practice to provide as much information as possible in writing, as well as references to online resources, such as videos. Do not be reluctant to approach the veterinary team if you have any questions during or after the visit.

Nursing care tips:

  • Identify a quiet, familiar, and private space such as a small enclosure or alcove with good lighting where you can easily access your cat. A small space allows for close monitoring of your cat and provides it with a sense of security.
  • Establish a routine for administering oral medication to your cat. A bathroom sink lined with a soft towel or fleece provides an enclosed, secure place for administering medication.
  • Give your cat positive reinforcement (e.g., treats, brushing, petting) for accepting medication.
  • Unless your veterinarian says that medication must be administered with food, do not use food as an aid to giving medications, as it may cause aversion and reduce your cat’s food intake.
  • Flat food dishes, such as small paper plates, and shallow water bowls may improve intake by making food and water more accessible.
  • Warm canned food to your cat’s body temperature by gently heating in the microwave or adding warm water and stirring well. Additions of chicken broth or tuna juice may enhance taste.
  • Food should always be fresh, provided in small portions, and replenished as needed.
  • Forcing your cat to accept medication is stressful for both you and your cat. Do not forcibly remove your cat from a hiding place or interrupt eating, grooming or elimination for purposes of administering medication. Ask your veterinarian for a demonstration of how to administer the medication prescribed for your cat.
  • Stay calm. Cats can sense our anxiety or frustrations, which may cause them to become fearful or anxious.
  • Attend all follow up appointments with your veterinary practice. Alert the veterinary practice if you observe any signs of sickness or changes in your cat’s behavior, as well as changes
    in food or fluid intake, or if you experience difficulty administering medications.

Providing nursing care at home for your cat may seem overwhelming at first,  but be patient and remember that even small improvements will contribute to your cat’s recovery. Remember that your veterinarian is there to help, so always ask any questions that may contribute to successful nursing care at home. You are an important member of your cat’s healthcare team.

You can be instrumental in helping with the success of treatments and improved healthcare. 

Blog source:


Addressing your cat’s physical and emotional needs enhances its health and quality of life.
Behavior problems are a leading cause of pets being surrendered or euthanized. These problems often occur in cats because their needs have not been fully met. Cats need  resources to perform their natural behaviors and have control over their social interactions. As owners, we can enhance our cats’ health and wellbeing by ensuring all their needs are met in the home environment. You might ask: “What can be stressful for a beloved cat with food, water, and a roof over its head?” Read on to find out.

Environmental needs include a cat’s physical surroundings – indoors, outdoors, or both as well as their social interactions with humans and other pets. Cats often do not express obvious signs of stress, pain, or sickness that we can easily recognize. If we are proactive and meet appropriate environmental needs throughout a cat’s life, we can potentially avoid environmental stressors that can cause unwanted behaviors and even impact medical health.

The needs of today’s cats have changed little from those of their wild ancestor, Felislybica, the African wildcat.

  • Cats are solitary hunters, spending much of their day searching the environment for hunting opportunities. They need to protect themselves from perceived dangers, which include unfamiliar individuals or environment.
  • Cats are territorial animals. They feel threatened when their territory is disturbed, either by another animal or physically.
  • Cats use scent, posturing, and vocalizations to communicate their unhappiness if they feel threatened.
  • Cats have a superior sense of smell and hearing. Stress can occur due to strong or strange smells or sounds, which are undetectable or insignificant to us.
  • Cats are social animals, but their social structure differs from ours. Cats may be content as a single cat or living with other cats, preferably related cats such as siblings.


Provide a safe place. Every cat needs a safe and secure place  where it can retreat to so that it feels protected or which can be used as a resting area. The cat should have the ability to exit and enter the space from at least two sides if it feels threatened. Most cats prefer that the safe space is big enough to fit only themselves, has sides around it, and is raised off the ground.
Good examples of safe places are a cardboard box, a cat carrier, and a raised cat perch. There should be at least as many safe places, sized to hold a single cat, as there are cats in a household. Safe places should be located away from each other, so that cats can choose to be on their own.

Provide multiple and separated key environmental
resources. Key resources include food, water, toileting areas,  scratching areas, play areas, and resting or sleeping areas. These resources should be separated from each other so that cats have free access without  being challenged by other cats or other potential threats. Separation of resources not only reduces the risk of competition (which may result in one cat being physically prevented access to resources by another cat), stress, and stress-associated diseases.

Provide opportunity for play and predatory behavior. Play and predatory behaviors allow cats to fulfill their natural need to hunt. Play can be stimulated with the use of interactive toys that mimic prey, such as a toy mouse that is pulled across a floor or feathers on a wand that is waved through the air. Cats need to be able to capture the “prey”, at least intermittently, to prevent frustration. Early in a cat’s life introduce interactive play so they learn to avoid going after your hands and feet for play. Using food puzzles or food balls can mimic the action of hunting for prey, and provides more natural eating behavior. You can encourage your cat’s interactive play by rotating your cat’s toys so they do not get bored and rewarding with treats to provide positive reinforcement for appropriate play. If you have more than one cat, remember to play with them individually.

Provide positive, consistent, and predictable human–cat social interaction.
Cats’ individual preferences determine how much they like human interactions such as petting, grooming, being played with or talked to, being picked up, and sitting or lying on a person’s lap. To a large extent this depends on whether, as kittens, they were introduced to and socialized with humans during their period of socialization from 2–7 weeks of age. It is important to remember that every cat interacts differently and to respect the cat’s individual preferences. Remember to remind guests and all household members not to force interaction and instead let the cat initiate, choose, and control the type of human contact.

Provide an environment that respects the importance of the cat’s sense of smell.
Unlike humans, cats use their sense of smell to evaluate their surroundings. Cats mark their scent by rubbing their face and body, which deposits natural pheromones to establish boundaries within which they feel safe and secure. Avoid cleaning their scent off these areas, especially when a new cat is introduced into the home or there are other changes with pets, people, or the environment of the home. The use of synthetic facial pheromones, such as Feliway® , can mimic a cat’s natural pheromones and provide a calming effect in a stressful or unfamiliar situation. Some smells can be threatening to cats, such as the scent of unfamiliar animals or the use of scented products, cleaners, or detergents. Threatening smells and the inability to rub their scent can sometimes lead to problematic behaviors such as passing urine or stools outside the litter box, spraying, and scratching in undesirable areas. In some cases, stress-related illness may develop. If any of these problems occur, contact your veterinarian right away.


Addressing environmental needs is essential for the optimum wellbeing of your cat. Most behavior  concerns, such as inappropriate elimination, aggression, scratching, and others, can be caused
by one of the following:

  • not providing cats with the resources they need
  • not understanding the cat’s social relationships with other cats or people
  • an underlying medical problem

Discuss the specific environmental needs of your cat with your veterinarian at each routine check-up. If you think your cat may have a behavior problem, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to speak about possible solutions or potential underlying medical issues that cause certain behavior changes. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with additional information or an appropriate referral. By understanding and providing for your cat’s environmental needs, you can help your cat to live a long and happy life.


Blog source:

House-soiling is one of the most common reasons why pet owners abandon or relinquish their cats. Unfortunately, these cats frequently end up in shelters where they often are euthanized. House-soiling can be a complex problem to solve, but there are ways to prevent, manage, or resolve feline house-soiling behaviors.
Your cat does not urinate or defecate outside
the box due to spite or anger towards you, but because its specific physical, social, or medical needs are not being met.

Environmental and Social Factors 

  • Cats by nature are very clean and need adequate unsoiled locations to eliminate, especially in a multi-cat household.
  • Some cats may avoid using a litter box located in a high traffic area or near cat doors or flaps.
  • In a multi-cat household, the presence of a more dominant cat near the litter box area may cause a less confident cat to seek out other places for elimination.
  • House-soiling may occur if a cat had a negative experience while it was in or near the litter box (e.g. someone administered medications, family members or children trapped a cat in the box for any reason, a dirty litter box, or even being startled by sudden noises from nearby furnaces or other loud appliances).

Marking Behavior

  • Urine spraying is a normal part of feline behavior in which a cat marks to leave its scent. Marking behaviors can include scratching, rubbing, urine spraying, and middening (depositing feces).
  • Unneutered male cats and most unspayed females will mark as part of their sexual behavior. Spaying and neutering dramatically reduces this behavior.
  • Anxiety-related marking occurs in response to a change in the cat’s environment, especially the core area where the cat eats, sleeps, and plays.
  • Cats often target items with new or unrecognized smells such as backpacks and shoes.
  • Marking behavior that starts at windows and doors usually suggests that the perceived threat is coming from outside the home. Marking in stairways, hallways, doorways, or the center of rooms usually indicates stress or threats from inside the home, such as other pets or new people in the household, active children, or remodeling.

Medical Causes and Problems

  • Medical issues can cause a cat to exhibit behavior changes such as house-soiling. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose or rule out any medical conditions that could be a factor in the house-soiling behavior.
  • Every cat that starts to house-soil requires a thorough physical examination and urinalysis to check for medical problems such as infections, cystitis, arthritis, kidney problems, diabetes, and other medical issues.
  • If your veterinarian believes the house-soiling behavior is caused by a medical reason, he or she may perform additional tests such as a urine culture, abdominal radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, complete blood count, and biochemical profile. Digital rectal exams or fecal testing may be needed for cases of house-soiling with feces.


Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

  • Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is a frequent medical cause of house-soiling. Cats suffering from FIC have increased frequency of urination, difficulty and pain when urinating, and can have blood in their urine. This inflammatory condition can increase and decrease in severity over time and is aggravated by stress, changes in diet, and other issues. 


The design and management of the litter box are critical for encouraging acceptable toileting habits. When house-soiling occurs always evaluate the litter box.

Designing the Optimal Litter Box
Number The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box for each cat, plus one extra box in multiple locations around your home. Socially affiliated cats, which are two or more cats that are familiar to each other, share a territory, and exhibit behaviors such as grooming, playing, or resting together, may be more willing to share litter boxes. Because more than one social group may occur in a home, providing adequate resources for each group is important to decrease the chance of adverse behaviors.

Location Take a look at the floor plan of your home and where your litter boxes are located:

  • Avoid placing food and water close to the litter box.
  • Cats usually prefer quiet, private places. Avoid busy areas of the home and locations  where a cat could be cornered in, blocked off, or unable to flee. Cats can be cornered in the litter box so they are unable to flee (e.g. if the box is in a closet or small room where another cat can block the exit). If one cat prevents another cat’s access to the litter box (e.g. the box is down a hallway or in a room where another cat can block entry), it can be very stressful and cause the cat to house-soil because the victim is avoiding or cannot get to that location.
  • Keep the litter boxes apart in different locations because your cat considers boxes close to each other one large litter box.
  • If a cat is toileting away from its box, try placing an additional litter box at the new site (temporarily or permanently) to get the cat using a box again.
  • In a multi-level home, place a litter box on each level. If you have an older cat, place a litter box on the level where the cat spends the most time, as it may not be easy for the cat to go up and down stairs each time it needs to use the box.

Size In general, bigger is better and many commercial litter boxes are too small. Litter boxes should be 1.5 times the length of the cat from the nose to the base of the tail. Suitable alternatives can include concrete mixing trays or storage containers. You can place the lid behind the box to protect the wall (Photo A). Older cats need a low entry so you can cut down the side but inspect for any sharp edges (Photo B).
Litter If your cat is exhibiting house-soiling behaviors, you may need to try different types of litter until the cat indicates its preference. For preference evaluation, provide multiple boxes with different litters and variable litter depths (Photo C). Many cats dislike aromatic or dusty litters, litter deodorizers, and box liners. Most cats prefer soft unscented clumping litters.

Managing the Litter Box Remove waste at a minimum of once per day and add litter as needed. Wash the litter box every 1-4 weeks using soap and hot water only. Avoid strong chemicals or any ammonia-based products.


Remove Marking Triggers

  • Neuter or spay your cat to physiologically eliminate sexually-relatedmarking behavior.
  • Restrict the potential threat of other cats; outdoor roaming cats encroaching on the household can act as triggers. Tips: if the resident cat resides indoors only (never goes outside), use motion activated water sprinklers to make the yard unattractive to feline visitors. Laying plastic carpet protectors upside down in front of sliding glass doors creates an uncomfortable surface and may dissuade other cats from sitting close to the house and intimidating your cat.
  • Remove or block cat doors that allow roaming cats to enter the household. Tip: use microchip- or magnet-operated devices to only allow access to your cat.
  • Cleaning urine-marked areas frequently will reduce a cat’s habit of refreshing its scent on the marking site. Use a black light (UV) to find soiled areas. Clean affected areas with a good quality urine odor and stain remover according to the type of surface that the cat has soiled. Test products on an inconspicuous area first and clean a sufficiently large area to remove the odor,which may be up to three times the size of the soiled area. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, which smell like urine to a cat.

Additional Considerations

  • Ensure that all your cat’s environmental needs are being met. For more information, visit: or
  • Never punish your cat for house-soiling. Punishment can lead to fear-related aggression, reduces the bond between cat and human, and encourages urine marking in less
    obvious areas.
  • Consider use of comforting synthetic pheromones. Spray Feliway® on affected areas after cleaning to reduce the likelihood of re-marking. After individualizing toileting
    areas for the cat’s preferences, adding a Feliway® diffuser in the room most frequented by the cat reinforces the cat’s feeling of security.

Feline house-soiling can be a frustrating problem. Resolution requires patience, as it can take some time to determine what is causing these behaviors and may involve making changes to several aspects of a cat’s home environment and care. If you are experiencing house-soiling with your cat, please contact your veterinary practice immediately.

The sooner these issues are addressed, the happier everyone will be, including your cat. Working with your veterinarian to identify the causative factors for the house-soiling behavior, and effectively addressing those factors, will dramatically increase the chance of resolving the house-soiling issues.

By understanding and providing for your cat’s environmental and medical needs, you can help your cat to live a long and happy life.


Feline declawing is an elective and ethically controversial procedure, which  is NOT medically necessary for cats in most instances. Declawing entails the amputation of a cat’s third phalanx [P3], or third ‘toe bone.’ Unlike human nails, cats’ claws are attached to the last bone in their toes. A comparison in human terms would be cutting off a person’s finger at the last joint of each finger.
It is important to understand that scratching is normal behavior for cats, which has an inherent function. The primary reason cats scratch is to maintain the necessary claw motion used in hunting and climbing, as well as a means to stretch their body. Scratching serves to groom the front claws and leave markers of the cat’s presence. A cat’s claws grow in layers and scratching removes the
worn outer layer to expose the new growth inside. Cat owners must therefore provide alternatives for cats such as suitable scratchers.

Scratching posts/pads  Provide your cat with suitable ‘scratchers’ where they can exhibit normal scratching behavior. Scratchers come in multiple styles and textures. It is important to experiment with a variety of textures and types of scratchers to determine which your cat prefers. Some examples include scratching posts or pads with sisal rope or rough fabric, cardboard boxes, and lumber
or logs. Scratchers can be vertical or horizontal and there are even varieties that blend into your home decor.

The placement of scratchers is very important.  Cats often stretch or scratch when they wake up so consider placing one near where your cat sleeps. It may also be effective to place a scratcher near or in front of a cat’s preferred, yet undesirable, scratching object (e.g. corner of the couch). Kittens and cats can be trained to use scratchers by rewarding use of the scratcher with the cat’s
favorite treat. If the cat scratches elsewhere, they should be gently picked up, taken to the scratcher, and then rewarded. Cats should always be positively reinforced and never punished.

Regular claw trimming
Regularly trimming your cat’s claws can prevent  injury and damage to household items. Proper feline nail trimmers should be used to prevent splintering of the claws. The frequency of claw trimming will depend on your cat’s lifestyle. Indoor cats, kittens, and older cats will need more regular nail trims, whereas outdoor cats may naturally wear down their nails requiring less frequent trimming. If possible, start trimming as kittens so they become comfortable with the process early on. If your cat does not like claw trimmings start slow, offer breaks, and make it a familiar
routine. Ask your veterinarian for advice or a demonstration on trimming your cat’s claws. Always trim claws in a calm environment and provide positive reinforcement. Proper training to scratch on appropriate surfaces, combined with nail care, can prevent damage in the home.

Temporary synthetic nail caps
These caps are glued over your cat’s nails to help prevent human injury and damage to household items. The nail caps usually need to be re-applied every 4-6 weeks; therefore they may be a less desirable alternative to regular nail trimming, suitable scratchers, and environmental enrichment.

Synthetic facial pheromone sprays/diffusers
Continued scratching by cats may be related to stress, anxiety, attention seeking,  or a perceived lack of security in their environment. Anxiety can also be intensified by punishment, thus driving the cat to increase scratching behaviors in the same or other undesirable locations in the home. Consider using synthetic facial pheromone sprays and/or diffusers to help relieve anxiety or stress. Apply a synthetic pheromone spray such as Feliway® on the objects or areas in your home where your cat has exhibited undesired scratching. Do so after cleaning with soap and water to remove the communication marking scents left by your cat’s paws. Applying daily comforting pheromones can prevent your cat’s need to mark these areas again. Feliway® should not be sprayed on the desired scratcher. If undesirable scratching occurs in several rooms, indicating a more generalized anxiety or stress, it is recommended to also plug-in a synthetic pheromone diffuser such as Feliway® to comfort your cat in their home environment.
Appropriate environmental enrichment
Providing your cat with an environment that is enriching is vital to teaching your cat to scratch on appropriate objects. Destructive scratching can occur in cats because their needs have not been fully met. Cats need the proper resources to perform their natural behaviors and have control over their social interactions. You can enhance your cat’s health and well-being by ensuring all their needs are met in the home. The AAFP has a wealth of information for cat owners on environmental enrichment. Visit:

For additional information, discuss declawing alternatives with your veterinary practice. Veterinarians can provide you with guidance and recommendations based on your individual cat and household environment.
For more information on declawing, declawing alternatives, and claw trimming, visit:

Blog source:

Feline hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder in middle-aged and older cats. It occurs in about 10 percent of feline patients over 10 years of age.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by an overactive thyroid gland that secretes excess thyroid hormone. Cats typically have two thyroid glands, one gland on each side of the neck. One or both glands may be affected. The excess thyroid hormone causes an overactive metabolism that stresses the heart, digestive tract, and many other organ systems.
If your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with hyperthyroidism, your cat should receive some form of treatment to control the clinical signs. Many cats that are diagnosed early can be treated successfully. When hyperthyroidism goes untreated, clinical signs will progress leading to marked weight loss and serious complications due to damage to the cat’s heart, kidneys, and other organ systems.
If you observe any of the following behaviors or problems in your cat, contact your veterinarian because the information may alert them to the possibility that your cat has hyperthyroidism.

  • weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite
  • increased urination, more urine in the litter box
  • increased drinking or thirst
  • defecation outside of the litter box
  • increased vocalization
  • restlessness, increased activity
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • rarely, lethargy and a lack of appetite
  • poor hair coat, unkempt fur

Twice yearly examinations of your cat may allow early detection of hyperthyroidism,  as well as other age related diseases. During the physical examination, your veterinarian may discover increased heart and respiratory rates, hypertension, a palpable thyroid gland, and loss of muscle mass. Routine screening of laboratory tests and blood pressure may detect abnormalities before clinical signs (bulleted list to left) are advanced. Blood testing  can reveal elevation of thyroid hormones to establish a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. Occasionally, additional diagnostics may be required to confirm the diagnosis. Because hyperthyroidism can occur along with other medical conditions, and it affects other organs, a comprehensive screening of your cat’s heart, kidneys, and other organ systems is imperative.

If your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with hyperthyroidism, he or she will discuss and recommend treatment options for your cat. Four common treatments for feline hyperthyroidism are available and each has advantages and disadvantages. The choice of therapy can depend on factors such as the cat’s age, other disease conditions, treatment cost, availability of treatment options, and your veterinarian’s recommendation.

Radioiodine therapy commonly called I-131 by your veterinarian. This treatment consists of administering a small dose of radioactive iodine which only overactive thyroid tissue will absorb. The radiation destroys the abnormal cells while the normal thyroid tissue continues to function. Even though this radiation exposure carries minimal risks for you and your cat, special facilities are required for treatment, and specific isolation protocols need to be followed after discharge. The advantages of I-131 treatment are that it can be curative and there is no anesthesia, surgery, or risk of drug reaction. The disadvantage is that few facilities provide this therapy and referral to a specialized treatment center is often necessary.

Medical therapy anti-thyroid medications will control the disease and block the excess production of the thyroid hormone; however because this medication does not cure the disease, your cat must take it for its entire life. Your cat may also receive the drug as a short-term measure, prior to surgery or anesthesia, or if radioiodine therapy is not available right away. Advantages of medical
therapy are a low initial cost, readily available treatment, and no hospitalization. Disadvantages include the need for medication, potential for adverse drug effects, and long-term costs of treatment.


Thyroidectomy a surgical technique which removes all or part of the thyroid  gland. The advantage of surgery is that it can be curative and eliminate the need for life-long medication. The disadvantages of surgery are that your cat requires general anesthesia and not all cats are good surgical candidates. Additionally, varying complications of surgery may occur including damage to nerves and blood vessels of the neck, damage to the parathyroid gland function, and recurrence of hyperthyroidism as unrecognized tissue can be left behind by even the best surgeon.
Nutritional therapy – involves feeding a special diet restricted in iodine content to  control the production of thyroid hormones, which may manage some cases of feline hyperthyroidism. Advantages of dietary therapy include low initial costs and ease of treatment. Disadvantages include complicating factors if the cat has other diseases or conditions, takes other medications or supplements, or does not find the taste appealing; also long-term costs of feeding a prescription diet, and the challenges of
feeding this diet in multi-cat households.

In general, all cats with hyperthyroidism need to be treated. The goal of therapy is to restore normal thyroid function and minimize side effects of treatment without creating lower than normal levels of thyroid hormones (referred to as hypothyroidism). On-going monitoring of your cat after any treatment is very important, as well as routine veterinary checkups with your veterinarian. If you have any additional questions, concerns, or notice any sudden changes with your cat, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

For more information on feline hyperthyroidism, visit

Blog source:


Feline arthritis, more correctly termed degenerative joint disease (DJD),  is very common in cats. Cartilage within the joint is worn away, causing chronic pain, which can be debilitating, and can lead to poor quality of life. Pain in cats with DJD occurs most commonly in the lower back, elbows, knees, hips, shoulders, and hocks (the equivalent of our ankles). Studies indicate that as many as 92% of cats may have DJD. Even young cats can get DJD, but it may not be as noticeable until it worsens with age.

Pain often goes unnoticed in cats because the signs are subtle. This is because cats are solitary hunters – who must remain healthy and strong in order to hunt successfully, and to protect themselves from predators and perceived threats. Therefore, cats hide or mask signs of pain or weakness. You might think your cat does not need to worry about hunting or threats, but this protective instinct still occurs in all cats. Cats with DJD rarely limp because the disease usually impacts the same joint on both sides (e.g. both knees).

This differs greatly from arthritis in dogs, who may exhibit more pain in one leg so there is a noticeable limp. Discomfort with walking is also easier to recognize in dogs because they are usually taken on walks outdoors.

You play a very important role in identifying the signs of DJD in your cat because you know better than anyone their normal temperament, routines, and activities. Any change in your cat’s normal behavior can be a sign of pain. To identify changes, compare your cat’s daily behaviors and reactions in various situations to when they were young adults. Any changes in your cat’s normal behavior can mean that your cat is either in pain, sick, or stressed – all reasons to seek veterinary care. 

If your cat displays any of the following changes, contact your veterinarian

  • Decreased jumping up or down, or not jumping as high as before
  • Difficulty or hesitancy going up or down stairs; slower on stairs
  • Stiffness
  • Less active and playful
  • Withdrawn, hiding, or increased “clinginess”
  • Decreased grooming or over-grooming a painful area
  • Aggressive when handled or towards another pet
  • House-soiling (not using the litter box for urine and/or stool)


There are excellent treatments for this condition, so do not delay in contacting your  veterinary practice if you notice any signs. NEVER give your cat any medication without direction from your veterinarian, including over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen (i.e. Advil or Motrin), acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol), or aspirin. Many of these drugs can be deadly to cats. Once a diagnosis is made, your veterinarian will help you develop a treatment plan for your cat. Treatment includes both medication and simple changes in the home to allow your cat to maintain their normal behaviors

For more information on degenerative joint disease and pain management, visit

Blog source:


About CVC

Chappelle Veterinary Clinic is a full service Veterinary Clinic which offers a wide range of veterinary care for cats and dogs, including routine exams, vaccinations, preventative care, diagnostics, surgery, spay and neuter, wellness services, dental cleaning, emergency and more.

Working Hours

Monday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday Closed

Contact us

14128 28 Avenue SWEdmonton, AB T6W 3Y9

© 2023. Chappelle Vet Clinic. All rights reserved.