Saturday, October 23, 2021

Pet Talk: News & Notes

Those Amazing Cats

Picture by Michael M. Neal

We have a lot of cat lovers on Marco Island. This article is dedicated to all cats and how amazing they can be.

  • A cat can make over 100 vocal sounds (dogs can make 10).
  • A cat sleeps 14 hours a day.
  • Americans spend more annually on cat food than on baby food.
  • In 1987, cats overtook dogs as the number one pet in America.
  • Cats are the only animal that walk on their claws, not the pads of their feet.
  • A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
  • A group of youngsters (kittens) is called a kindle; those old-timers (adult cats) form a clowder.
  • Besides smelling with their nose, cats can smell with an additional organ called the Jacobson’s organ, located in the upper surface of the mouth.
  • Like birds, cats have a homing ability that uses its biological clock, the angle of the sun, and the Earth’s magnetic field. A cat taken far from its home can return to it. But if a cat’s owners move far from its home, the cat can’t find them.
  • A cat can jump even seven times as high as it is tall.
  • It has been scientifically proven that owning cats is good for our health and can decrease the occurrence of high blood pressure and other illnesses. Stroking a cat can help to relieve stress, and the feel of a purring cat on your lap conveys a strong sense of security and comfort.

Health Tip: Common Plants and Flowers That Are Poisonous to Cats

Cats will chew on plants. It is difficult to keep plants out of their reach. If you want to keep plants in your house, or if you let your cat out into your yard, you need to know plants and flowers that are poisonous to cats. Many toxic plants are irritants: they cause localized inflammation of the skin, mouth, stomach, etc. Other toxic plants may have a systemic effect and damage or alter the function of organs.

Here’s a list of some common plants that are toxic to cats:

  • Poinsettia
  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus 
  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Castor Bean
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daisy
  • Mum 
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils, Narcissus
  • Dieffenbachia 
  • English Ivy
  • Hyacinth
  • Kalanchoe 
  • Lily Lily of the Valley
  • Marijuana 
  • Oleander
  • Peace Lily
  • Pothos
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Sago Palm
  • Spanish Thyme 
  • Tulip Yew 

Symptoms to Watch For  

Irritation or inflammation, swelling or itchiness of the eyes, skin or mouth. If the toxic principle directly affects an organ, the symptoms seen will primarily be related to that organ. For example:  

  • Difficulty breathing (if the airways are affected).
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing (if the mouth, throat or esophagus is affected).
  • Vomiting (if the stomach or small intestines are affected).
  • Diarrhea (if the small intestines or colon are affected).
  • Excessive drinking and urinating (if the kidneys are affected).
  • Fast, slow or irregular heartbeat and weakness (if the heart is affected).

If you see your cat eating a plant and you are uncertain if it is poisonous, or if you even suspect that your cat ate such a plant, do the following before you take him to your veterinarian. Remove any plant material from your cat’s hair, skin and mouth if you can do so safely. Keep your cat confined in a safe environment for close monitoring. Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 or Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435.

Identifying the plant is very important for determining treatment. If you are unsure of the name of the poisonous plant that your cat was exposed to, bring a sample of the plant or plant material that your cat has vomited with you to the veterinary office. 

Answers to last article’s Pet Quiz. Answers are in (Parentheses).

  1. Which pet belongs to the Felidae family?           Dog | Rabbit |(Cat) 
  2. What is a baby mouse called?                                inky (Pinky) | Slinky
  3. In the wild, rabbits live in what?                          Burrows | Rabbit Hills | (Warrens)
  4. What is the color of all cats’ eyes when born?    (Blue) | Green | Yellow
  5. What is a group of rabbits called?                        (Herd) | Clan | Mob
  6. Dogs belong to the same family as:                      Deer | (Wolves) | Bears

Send me your stores, I would love to hear them. 

Michael M. Neal is a graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Education with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Biological Sciences. He is an avid pet owner and nature lover. He is the owner of The Critter Café pet salon that offers grooming, boarding, daycare, obedience training and pet supplies on Marco Island.

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