Posted: 05/19/2022
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Do you have a cat that simply refuses to drink water? This most likely stems from ancient feline history. Did you know our beloved domesticated cats are historically desert animals, coming out of ancient Egypt and the near East? These cats would get most of their hydration needs from their prey, which allowed them to forgo hunting for clean water sources. While your cat’s ancient ancestors did alright on little water, today’s house cats live much longer lives and therefor require more hydration to stay healthy for longer. For instance, a lack of hydration can lead to kidney disease and bladder stones or crystals. But the more your cat drinks, the more they can flush their urinary tract and keep it healthy and functioning optimally. But getting some cats to drink more can pose an impossible, hair-pulling task. But don’t worry, we’re going to share some simple but highly-effective tips right now to get your finicky cat to drink more! Try a Canned Cat Food Diet If you can’t get your cat to drink more water, get them to eat more water instead. Wet food diets make getting more water into your fur baby much easier. If your cat is currently eating a dry kibble diet, simply add a bit of wet food to it to get them used to it. Most cats are happy to eat some canned food. Increase little by little over time. If for some reason your cat really does not like the wet food, then try adding a little water or chicken broth to the dry food and let it sit 10-15 minutes before you serve. The kibble will soak up the moisture. If your cat is currently eating a wet food diet but your vet has encouraged you to increase their water intake even more, then you can simply add a little water or chicken broth into your cat's food. If your cat refuses to eat the wet food with extra moisture added, don’t try to force them. The last thing you want is for them to develop an aversion to wet food. Simply try another trick from this list. Water Fountains Most cats prefer to drink running, rather than still, water. Maybe cats just love a good chase! Whatever the reason, if you haven’t tried it yet, consider getting your cat a water fountain. Another benefit about water fountains is the filter keeps the water nice and fresh. And, if there is no water shortage in your area, you may also want to consider leaving your kitchen or even a bathroom sink on a slow drip. Try Different Bowls All cats are different. While many prefer fountains, there are those that won’t go near them. If your cat seems like he or she prefers drinking from a bowl but still isn’t drinking enough, try using different bowls made from different materials. You can try glass bowls, stainless steel and ceramic. Plastic is never a good option. Also experiment with the size and shape of bowls, and also the location of the bowls. Wash Water Dishes Frequently Like dogs, cats have an incredible sense of smell, and some cats are sensitive to the smell and taste of water. Be sure to wash your bowls daily to avoid bacterial buildup and refill with cool, clean water. Fill the Bowl Completely Cat’s whiskers are incredibly sensitive and many don’t like when their whiskers touch the sides of food and water bowls.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to fill the water bowl completely to the top so your cat has an easier time drinking. Adding Broth or Other Flavoring to the Water Some cat owners have good results with adding a little chicken, beef broth or tuna juice to the water bowl to entice cats to drink. It’s best to boil your own chicken carcass or beef soup bones in water. Broth you purchase from a grocery store often has too much salt or other ingredients like garlic and onions that can be toxic to cats. Here’s a tip: Don’t throw leftover broth away. Instead, fill ice-cube trays and freeze. This way you can easily make one batch of broth each month and can simply toss an ice-cube in the bowl as needed. And speaking of ice-cubes, sometimes just adding regular ol’ ice-cubes to your cat’s water bowl can entice them. First, it keeps the water nice and cold, and most cats seem to prefer cold water. Also, cats like to paw at and play with ice-cubes, and this engagement often leads to a nice slurp and gulp. Filter Your Water Cats are very sensitive to the smell and taste of water. The tap water in your area may have a lot of harsh chemicals in it. Try using a filter pitcher or under the sink filtration system for cleaner water. You can also try bottled water, though that isn’t the healthiest option as the chemicals from the plastic leech out into the water. Again, every cat is different. Some cats will respond to some of these tricks and some to others. Just keep trying until you find something that works for your kitty! Ensure Your Cat’s Health and Wellbeing with a Comprehensive Insurance Plan Cat’s make life better. When you love your cat, you want to make sure they are happy and healthy. Sometimes that’s as easy as getting them to drink a bit more water. But sometimes our cat’s health and wellbeing require vet visits. And sometimes, depending on the illness or injury, they can require emergency clinic visits or multiple vet visits with X-rays and medications. And all of this can really add up to a big vet bill! A pet insurance plan ensures your cat gets the care they need when they need it and also ensures you don’t go into debt trying to give them the very best medical treatment. Depending on the plan and the provider, you may be able to receive reimbursements for up to 90% of the bill. Pet Insurance Review wants to help pet owners be responsible by finding the best insurance plans on the market. You shouldn’t have to go broke taking care of your fur babies. Get a free quote today so you can breathe easy. References: Handwerk, B. House Cat Origin Traced to Middle Eastern Wildcat Ancestor, (2007). Retrieved from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/house-cat-origin-traced-to-middle-eastern-wildcat-ancestor Carr, J. Kidney Disease in Cats: What Cat Owners Should Know. Retrieved from: https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-diseases-conditions-a-z/kidney-disease-in-cats-what-cat-owners-should-know Weir, M., DVM, MSc, MPH; Ward, E., DVM. Bladder Stones in Cats. Retrieved from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bladder-stones-in-cats Whisker Fatigue in Cats: What it is and How to Help. Retrieved from: https://www.petmd.com/care/whisker-fatigue-cats-what-it-and-how-help          

Posted: 05/19/2022
Category:

If you live with one or more cats, there’s a very good chance you’ve seen a hairball around your home. Maybe you’ve awoken to the sound of your cat coughing it up, or worse, you stepped in it on your way to the bathroom. In either scenario, these messes are as unpleasant for you as they are your cat. Why Do Cats Get Hairballs? You’ve probably noticed your cat cleans itself often throughout the day. You may have also noticed that their tongues have tiny barbs, called papillae, on them. These barbs help your cat remove dirt, debris and any loose fur when they lick. All of this dirt, debris and fur gets swallowed. More often than not, the hair will pass through your cat’s digestive system without any issues. But every once in a while, a lot of ingested hair gets stuck in your cat’s stomach and they eventually vomit this hairball out. Many, if not most cats, will cough up a hairball every once in a while and there is no need for concern. However, hairballs can present dangers if the hairball becomes too large to pass or becomes lodged in their GI tract, causing a blockage. This situation usually requires immediate surgery. If your cat vomits frequently, and a hairball is not always produced, this can also be an indication of an underlying condition such as a bacterial overgrowth, intestinal parasites, GI lymphoma, or inflammatory bowel disease. It’s important to speak with your vet about what may be going on. Remedies for Hairballs in Cats When cats frequently coughs up hairballs, cat owners should follow these hairball remedies: Laxatone Laxatone is an oral gel that helps bind the hair in your cat’s stomach so it can easily pass through their GI tract. The gel is palatable and many cats will happily lick it off a plate or their paw. You may also try mixing it into their (wet) food. Specialty Hairball Diets Many over-the-counter brands of cat food create specialty formulas to prevent or control hairballs. These formulas are usually high in fiber, which helps to keep GI motility normal. There are also prescription diets that some pet owners find work very well. It’s always a great idea to speak with your vet to see what food they think might be best. Brushing Both long-haired and short-haired cats shed. The more you brush your cat, the less apt they are to ingest their own hair when they clean themselves. As an added bonus, grooming your cat is a great way to share some quality bonding time. Get into the habit of brushing your cat once a week, at a minimum, to prevent hairballs from forming. Here's an important tip: After you’ve finished brushing your cat, use either a damp (not soaking wet, just a little damp) paper towel or unscented and hypoallergenic baby wipe to wipe your cat’s coat. This finishing touch will remove any remaining loose hair. Other Fiber Options If you have one of those finicky cats, they may simply not take to a new special hairball food. So how can you ensure you add fiber to their diet? The same way you add fiber to your own, through fruits and veggies. Offer your cat some cat grass. Most cats simply love this treat. Some cats eat apples and others are happy to have a little pumpkin pie filling (unsweetened only) added to their wet food. Metamucil also works well as long as your cat gets PLENTY of water each day, otherwise the Metamucil could constipate them, which is NOT what you want. Before adding anything new to your cat’s diet, always speak with your vet first to see how much and how often they should have it. Fish Oil A quality omega-3 oil added to your cat’s food can not only help lubricate their GI tract, but fish oil is also great for their overall health, giving a shine to their coat and easing any arthritis pain. Extra Water Do you have one of those cats that simply won’t drink enough water? It can be very frustrating and actually not healthy for them. A lack of hydration not only makes it harder for hairballs to pass through your cat’s digestive system, but dehydration is also bad for their kidney health and may cause crystals to form in their bladder. For male cat health, this can actually lead to a dangerous blockage that typically requires surgery. Many cats prefer to drink running water, so if you haven’t tried it yet, offer them a water fountain. Numerous pet owners have reported their cat will drink twice as much, if not more, from a fountain than a bowl. Sticking to a canned food diet is also a good option for cats who won’t drink enough water. Wet food obviously has a higher water content. And, as a final trick, you can try adding a little chicken broth to the water to entice your finicky cat. Just be sure to make your own and not use store-bought, which will contain too much sodium and other ingredients like onions and garlic that are toxic to your cat. All cats are different and not every one of these suggestions will work on every cat. But a combination of one or more of these hairball remedies could really help you help your cat decrease the number of painful (and icky) hairballs they cough up each month. Are You Coughing Up a Lot of Cash at the Vet? If you have one or more cats, you know that they will require veterinary care at some point in their life. Whether it’s yearly checkups or the result of a sudden illness or injury, you want to ensure you provide your fur baby with the best care possible. This isn’t easy for many people, especially when the economy is so shaky. How can people give their beloved pets the care they need without going into debt? By relying on a comprehensive pet health insurance plan. Did you know some pet health insurance plans can provide reimbursements for up to 90% of the vet bill? Pet Insurance Review is committed to helping pet owners give their fur babies the care they need. We bring you only the top insurance providers in the country so you can afford to give your pet the very best. Get a free quote today. References: Cool Facts About Your Cat’s Tongue. Retrieved from: https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/cool-facts-about-your-cats-tongue The Danger of Hairballs. From the Cornell Feline Health Center: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/danger-hairballs Laxatone For Cats: Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects. https://cattime.com/cat-facts/health/42082-laxatone-cats-uses-dosage-side-effects Loureiro, B. A., Sembenelli, G., Maria, A. P., Vasconcellos, R. S., Sá, F. C., Sakomura, N. K., & Carciofi, A. C. (2014). Sugarcane fibre may prevents hairball formation in cats. Journal of nutritional science, 3, e20. https://doi.org/10.1017/jns.2014.27