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Home2Cats.org - Spring, 2008

THE  SCRATCHING  POST

Issue #35, by Barbara Stanley, home2cats@aol.com
Home 2 Cats, P. O. Box 752671, Memphis, TN  38175-2671

 

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Mews You Can Use

The Importance of Water

Water is essential to your cat’s health and well-being. Water helps keep your cat’s tissues moist and also transports electrolytes through their body. Electrolytes are important minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium that are vital to you cat. The minerals transport electrical impulses throughout the body and the loss of these electrolytes can cause serious problems. Most animals are made up of around 60% water. When the water ratio falls 5% below normal, cats will start to show signs of dehydration. The fluids that are lost with dehydration contain the electrolytes.

Your cat may experience dehydration for many reasons but the most common cause is from illness. When a cat does not feel good he/she may stop drinking. If the illness is accompanied by fever, this may put your cat at a higher risk. Dehydration may also accompany illness due to prolonged vomiting and diarrhea.

Older geriatric cats tend to drink less due to a decreased thirst response and have a higher risk of becoming dehydrated with an illness. It is very important to monitor their hydration as lose of body fluids on a geriatric cat can compromise already marginally functioning body organs especially renal function

There are several steps you can take to check your cat for dehydration. The first step is checking your cat’s skin for losses of elasticity by lightly pinching the skin along your cats back and gently picking the skin up. If your cat is hydrated the skin should snap back into place. If your cat is dehydrated the skin will retain the ‘pinched’ shape and stay up in a ridge before slowly returning into place. The more severe the dehydration the slower the skin will take to retract. This is a good check test that you can practice on your cat periodically. By using the pinch test periodically when your cat is experiencing good health, it will help give you a visual sense to the appearance of normal hydration.

Other steps you may take to check for dehydration is looking in your cat’s mouth. Normally your cat’s gums should be wet and glistening. With dehydration the gums are dry and tacky and the saliva is thick and sticky. There is another good visual check you can perform on your cat periodically so you can familiarize yourself with what normal hydration looks like. I think I can hear many of you laughing and saying "Yeah, right!" at the mere suggestion of peering into your cat’s mouth. No need to panic, as you do not need to open your cat’s mouth large and wide to view the gums. Just a quick peek by lifting up one side of their upper lip will usually do the trick.

If any signs of dehydration are evident in your cat, seek immediate veterinarian care. Replacing lost fluids and preventing further dehydration is important. Your veterinarian may replace lost fluids through intravenous (within a vein) or subcutaneous (under the skin) methods.

Always ensure your pets have a constant supply of fresh clean drinking water.

 

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Cat Tails

The Kitten With The Marsupial Eyes

Even though we normally do not accept owner surrender pets but focus on homeless animals, I was immediately drawn to an email I received about a handicapped kitten as we had just lost Tina one of our special handicapped resident’s the day prior.

It was evident from the emails that the owners cared for this kitten and their other animals very much but due to circumstances they were unable to take Meg to the vets for any medical care. The owners were trying to find a no-kill organization that would accept little Meg, care for her and give her all the medical attention that she required. I was still morning the loss of Tina and perhaps it was just plan wishful thinking, but I felt that Tina had guided these people and their handicapped kitten to us.

The owners provided what information they had observed about Meg and her lack of ability to walk normally. I made an exception and accepted Meg. When I first held Meg, I was struck at how beautiful her markings were and what extremely large alert eyes she had. She was very tiny for her age and had difficulty walking with her back legs.

On her initial medical exam, it was discovered that she had previous fractures that were healing and that her knee in her left rear leg was popping out of joint. Surgery would be required for her and was scheduled for mid December, which was about two weeks away. The two weeks would hopefully give Meg time to gain some weight and strength and give her bones additional time to heal. It was also on this initial medical visit that Dr. Carolyn McCutcheon dubbed her ‘Duckie’ because of her walk. From that moment, Meg became ‘Duckie Meg’ and then just ‘Duckie’.

Unbeknownst to any of us, things were not going to be ‘Duckie’ for this little one. As the surgery day approached, we observed she was having experiencing more difficulty walking and would only do so to use the litter box or eat. We showered her with love and attention. Duckie was happy and content laying in a lap and being entertained by anything that would wiggle. She became my constant companion, especially at the computer.

Duckie was gaining weight and we assumed the additional weight was causing greater stress and pain on her joints. I couldn’t wait for her to have the required surgery, yet somewhere in the back of my brain, there was a little red flag.

The day of the surgery I stayed with her and before they took her for surgery, I requested to talk to Dr. McCutcheon so I could relay the changes that we had observed about her condition. Dr. McCutcheon examined Duckie and ordered more x-rays. The x-rays revealed some new hairline fractures in addition to the fact that her cartilage for her joints was disappearing. Dr. McCutcheon feared a congenital bone disease and ordered more x-rays. She then consulted with a specialist and it was confirmed that Duckie had a rare condition similar to osteogenisis (brittle bone disease) and there was no cure or treatment. Surgery was no longer an option for this precious baby, as her bones would shatter during surgery.

We took her home and showered her with love and attention. There was a little shimmer of hope that at some point the disease would halt and Duckie could adapt and have quality of life but there was also that dark shadow looming in the distance. Any hopes we had disappeared when her follow-up x-rays revealed the disease was progressing to her spine.

Those large marsupial eyes of Duckie Meg’s seem to draw everyone under her spell. Duckie Meg’s life was so very short but she was loved tremendously. She showed such spirit and through all the adversity was just a kitten at heart. It is always extremely hard losing any of the animals but when they are babies the pain pierces your heart. And yet I would have down it all over again in a heartbeat because Duckie gave us so much.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened" 

 

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Animal and People Recognition

While losing a companion is one of life's greatest sorrows, never having one is to miss out on years of loving companionship.


 

 

In Memory Of Animals

Duckie
Home 2 Cats
--Larry & Barbara Stanley

Duckie
You won my heart!
--
Ellen Lentz

Angel
Beloved cat of Gaye & Dwight Wagner who gave her a wonderful life.
--Robin Mayhall

Koko
20 wonderful years.
--
Larry & Barbara Stanley
--Ellen Lentz

Hemingway
Home 2 Cats
--
Larry & Barbara Stanley
--Ellen Lentz

Quiller
Old Buddy Cat.
--
Rick & Becky Malchow

Turbo
The "Turkinator".
--
Rick & Becky Malchow

Splotcho
Fearless Ferret & Formidable Feline Foe.
--
Rick & Becky Malchow

 

In Memory Of People

Skipper Nelson
Beloved son of Evelyn Nelson.
--Rita Grivich

Ted Cartledge
--Ruth Blann Cartledge

Joseph Walkner
Beloved brother.
--
Ruth Blann Cartledge

 

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A Few Words from Home (2 Cats!)

We have implemented a new mailing list program in our computer. Names and address had to be transferred manually. Please check you mailing label on the envelope to this newsletter and please alert us to any corrections that we might need to make.

 

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Our mission is:
To provide food, medical care, love and sanctuary for injured, disabled or abused animals.
To educate the public in what constitutes responsible cat care and ownership.
To engage in other activities related to animal rescue and public education about cat care and responsibilities.

 

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Home2Cats | Newsletters | Photos | Lynx
Please send email to:  home2cats@aol.com
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P. O. Box 752671
Memphis, TN  38175-2671
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