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Because we receive more questions then we have space to include here, replies are
published at our discretion. This column is intended for informative purposes only.
In the case of a serious health problem, please consult your own veterinarian.
Topics Covered In Experts (1) Include:
Eye Stains on a colored cat
Staining while eating
Himalayan coat darkens with age
Smells at the Show
Putting weight on your cat
Topic: Tongue Tipping
Question: Is tongue tipping something that is passed on to the kittens of a tongue tipper or is it just a bad habit? Mary
Answer: Tongue tipping can be the result of the structure of the mouth cavity, jaw, bite, teeth placement or tongue. To that extent, it is genetic. Slight tongue tipping can just be a habit that the cat has left over from when it was nursing as a kitten... sort of the equivalent of sucking a thumb in a child. But how do you know which is the cause? The quick answer is don't use a tongue tipping cat in your breeding program if you don't want to have to deal with it as a possible problem in later generations. On the other hand, if everything else about the cat was outstanding, an experienced breeder might use the cat in their program, with the expectation that they might run into a problem with tongue tipping farther down the road. It's a gamble.
Topic: Bath Manners
Question: How do you get the cat to stay still when taking a bath? Damion
Answer: Different cats react differently to a bath. I start bathing my kittens once a week at 6 weeks of age. They have no idea all cats don't get a bath every week and so are very patient about having their bath because to them, it's just part of being a cat.
However, if your cat is being difficult about the bath, there are a few tricks you can try. If the cat if VERY unruly, scuff it at the nape of its neck. This will often make it "freeze" in position and you can proceed with the bath with your other hand. Because the most objectionable part of a bath (from a cat's point of view) is the "getting wet" process, find which method of getting wet your cat prefers.
Put an inch of water in the sink before putting you cat in it. Some cats find this less threatening than the spray hose. Other cats prefer to be placed in an empty sink and have it slowly fill it up with water. Always take care that the water temperature is not too hot or too cold. The first time you bath your cat, if it is upset, the key is to not worry about the shampoo etc, but just get the kitty accustomed to the bath process. Scratch under his chin. Pet him. Soothe him. Even feed him a treat. Do whatever it takes to make him realize that not only does the bath not hurt, but there are pleasant things associated with it.
Topic: Eye Stains on a colored cat
Question: How does one minimize or remove staining under the eyes on a blue? The Tylan article is excellent but would be afraid to use it as it specifies only for use on white or light colored coats. Thank you for your help. Mary
Answer: You cannot use any bleaching product on a colored cat. However you can use products which do not contain bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide. This means that you can use the Tylan eye drop formula on colored cats. You can also use PandEcats Eye and Wound Powder to pack beneath the eyes. I prefer to clean and moisten the hair around the eyes with Optrex first. Then I use a Q-tip dipped in the EW powder and I "roll" on the powder against the direction of hair growth so that it actually is packed in between the hairs right into the roots. E-Z Groom Crystal White Shampoo can also be used on blues to reduce stains and encourage the coat to app as light as possible.
Topic: Eye Stains
Question: How to prevent eye staining on a white Persian? What can I use as an safe and effective daily treatment? Especially on a cat that tears alot. Anna
Answer: As you know, preventing staining on a white cat can be quite a challenge and there is no one answer that works for all cats. Keeping the eyes clean and the hair around them dry is essential. If a cat tears a lot, Tetracycline powder added to the cat's wet food often will cause brown tears to run clear, sometimes in as short a time as three days. Try packing it with PandEcats Eye and Wound Powder, or cornstarch. Always remember the goal is to keep the hair clean and dry.
Question: I am having a problem using Goop to degrease my cat. Some people tell me I should put it on my cat before I bath it, on a dry coat. Some people tell me to put it on after I wet the hair. Which answer is right? Jay
Answer: Both answers are correct... depending on your cat's coat and how you apply the Goop. I prefer to put the Goop on a dry coat as the hair attracts the Goop better when dry. But I microwave the Goop before I apply it so it is almost syrupy in texture. I put it in a plastic squeeze bottle with a pointed spout (like a mustard bottle) and part the hair and squeeze the liquid Goop onto the roots of the hair. Try it. It works great.
Topic: Staining while eating
Question: How can I keep my kitten's face and paws from staining while eating. What will help remove the stains? Debbie
While a very young kitten will sometimes stand in its food bowl when first learning to eat, this habit will lead to ugly stain on its paws. If once the kitten is older and eating well, it still persists in standing in its food, feed it on a small plate so it hasn't enough room to have its face and feet on the plate at the same time. Food staining can also be a bigger problem depending on what you are feeding. When feeding raw meat, the a red juices will stain a light coat quickly. Try soaking up the "wetness" of the food with a sprinkling of a vitamin powder or you can even use a bit of flour to accomplish the same thing. When all else fails, put a coffee filter on your cat at din-din time and try hand feeding as the best solution
Topic: Himalayan coat darkens with age
Question: I have seal point Himalayans and as you would know most get darker with age, do you know anything that can stop the darkening or something to lighten the coat. Thanks Graham.
I wish I could tell you a magic formula to stop your himmy's coat from darkening, but there really is no easy answer to that problem. The reason a Himalayan has dark points in the first place is also the same reason they will darken with age. The point color on himmies is the result of slight temperature changes in different parts of their bodies. The darkening occurs where the body temperature is slightly lower on the extremities. As the cat ages, the metabolism slows down slightly, the body temperature lowers slightly, and the coat on the main body begins to darken.
To understand more about why a Himalayan's coat often darkens with age, check out the excellent article by Kathy Durdick, Ristokat Himalayans called Temperature and Your Himalayan's Coat Color.
Question: We recently lost a cat to illness (a tumor in its lower abdomen).
What causes these tumors and how long should we wait to purchase another kitten? We don't want to loose another cat to cancer. Is there anything special we can do to try and prevent this?
Thank you for your time..... Grace
I'm so sorry you lost your cat to cancer. I know how heartbreaking that can be. And it is understandable that you fear the same thing happening again. But cancer is not communicable... so you do not need to have any fears that your next kitty will have a problem. While there are no guarantees a new cat will never have a medical concern, the fact that your previous cat had cancer should not affect a new kitten's future health. You can safely open your hearts to a new feline family member :-). Happy Holidays.
Topic: Flat Chest
Question: I have just noticed that one of my 7 day old kittens has a flat chest. What causes this and what should I do for it? Helen
This is a chest wall defect where the chest takes the shape of a turtle shell. It is possible that abnormalities in the chest muscles and the diaphragm is the cause of the problem. Breeders usually only notice a problem some days after birth and it varies greatly in severity. Some kittens outgrow it and live a normal life. Severe cases may have cardiac and respiratory problems that can lead to death. Related problems can include poor weight gain, reduced activity, heart defects and spinal deformity. There is strong evidence that it is at least partially inherited although there may also be environmental contributors. Affected cats, even if they look normal as adults, should not be used for breeding.
Topic: Smells at the Show
Question: I have read the advice about showing male cats, and to try to keep the odor down, we should use "ozone spray". What is the retail name of this product, can I spray it on the cat, and where can I buy it? I'm interested in a deodorizer for a cat who's just used the litter box (at a show) and is kind of stinky. Marcy
The ozone spray is not for use on the cat :-). The spray is used to neutralize odors in the air. It usually comes in either a small spray pump bottle or a breath-spray sized aerosol. You spray it in the air around your benching area when there is an unpleasant odor. Many vendors at cat shows will carry it but it is also available in most auto supply departments under a variety of names such as O3 or Ozonol. If your boy has that distinctive male odor after using his litter box, you have several options. If the odor is minimal, use a touch of bay rum diluted in a small spray bottle and lightly spritz on his pantaloons. Then powder it dry with baby powder. If he has soiled himself in a major way, a quick butt bath and blow dry may be necessary. Always include a small hair dryer and bottle of shampoo in your show kit , especially if showing a mature male.
Topic: Putting weight on your cat
Question: Regarding the easy or difficult grand: My 2 year old black male is a beauty - not an easy grand, as he's on the small side without a ton of coat, but great head and body type. My problem is, his interest in breeding is keeping him thin. I've tried feeding him canned food and he puts on a little weight, but not enough... I give him lots of Nurtical... Would raw meat or freeze dried meat be worth trying? I have never used it... Julie
There are three things that will put weight on a cat... eating more food, eating higher calorie foods, or burning less calories.
Ideally, you want to work on all three areas to put weight on your cat.
The easiest thing to encourage weight gain is to find a food he LOVES! If he has a poor appetite, your vet can administer a vitamin B12 injection which will act as an appetite stimulant.
Nutrical is a high calorie, concentrated supplement. Give him one inch of Nutrical, 6-8 times a day in addition to his regular diet. Feed him the Nutrical AFTER his regular meal.
I like feeding human grade, raw sirloin steak to put on weight and coat. I use scissors to cut it into fine strips then sprinkle on a supplement such as kitty bloom or missing link. I feed a generous meal 3-5 times a day, allowing the cat to eat as much as he likes. Once he has finished, I will take 3 or 4 more "mouthfuls" more and hand feed them to him. This helps stretch his tummy and gets him into the habit of eating just a bit more than he would eat left on his own.
Of course, you can help reduce his stress levels by isolating him from girls.
Topic: Tongue Tipping
Question: I have recently purchased a 6 mo. old show quality Tortie Persian. Since I got her I have noticed that she likes to stick her tongue out a lot of times. Will this behavior take points away in the show ring? Christina
A cat show is a beauty contest. And in the same way a contestant in the Miss America Pageant would lose points if she stuck her tongue out constantly, so too will your Tortie be penalized for doing the same thing. It really depends on how often and how far she sticks it out. Kittens can sit with just the tip of their tongue showing which is often thought of as a remnant of their nursing behavior - it is just a bad habit.
On the other hand, some Persians tip their tongue, or hang their tongue because their tongue is too big for their mouth - a major and inheritable flaw. Most judges seeing a cat showing the tip of tongue will touch it with their finger when the cat is on the judging table. If the cat pulls its tongue back in and it keeps it in, the cat is not penalized. If the cat doesn't (or can't) pull the tongue completely into its mouth, the judge will usually not use the cat. NOTE: You can improve a "lazy" tongue by grasping it carefully in your fingers and playing a gentle game of tug of war, thus strengthening the muscle that pulls and holds your cat's tongue in the mouth. Good luck!