Abbeywood Cat Hospital Newsletter

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The veterinarians and staff at Abbeywood Cat Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter of pet-related articles and news stories.

This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine. Get started by browsing the Current Newsletter Topics links that pertain to each article.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

How to Care for Your New Puppy or Kitten: Socialization

Congratulations on your new family member! If you are new to pet ownership or a seasoned veteran, it is important to stay up to date on proper care for your new puppy or kitten.

Proper socialization helps establish a loving and lasting relationship between you and your pet. Early in your pet's life, it is very important to deal with unfavorable habits and correct them in a productive and timely manner.

One of the best ways to train your pet is to introduce it at a young age to common social situations. Some of these may include trimming nails, bathing, brushing and medicating. By introducing these situations at a very young age, they are far more likely to be accepted by the pet later in life.

For puppies, obedience training is pretty much essential. Most trainers like to start the training process between 4 to 6 months of age, after vaccinations are complete. Many capable trainers are available to help you socialize and train your pet properly. Do your homework in order to take advantage of the training courses offered in your area. Similar to children, pets' habits, both good and bad, are learned at an early age.

Is Sleeping With A Pet Beneficial Your Health?

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic's Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona reported some people may benefit from sharing a bed with a pet. The study looked at 74 pet owners – 56 percent of whom allow their pet in the bedroom with them. Of those, 41 percent believe sleeping with their pet is beneficial to sleep.

A good night's sleep does more than leave you feeling well-rested. It plays an important role in overall immune function, metabolism, memory, learning and more.

Strengthen Your Bond by Sharing Your Bed

Dr. Ken Tudor, former Veterinary Medical Officer for the United States Department of Agriculture, believes the benefits of sharing a bed with a dog stem from our evolutionary partnership. Domestication of the wild dog undoubtedly included the animals joining "man at the camp fire and later snuggling closely with him for mutual warmth."

In addition to reporting better sleep, respondents also noted a greater sense of security. This could be from the simple reassuring presence of another warm body or because pets often double as protectors who will alert their owners to intruders. Dr. Tudor emphasizes that being in consistent proximity with an animal fosters bonding and a more intimate relationship.

"Some people find that sleeping with their animal actually helps them feel cozy," said Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the center. "One woman said her two small dogs warmed her bed. Another person felt her cat who was touching her during the night was comforting and soothing."

Results May Vary

Although the majority of pet-owning respondents reported sharing their bedroom with their pet, another 20 percent admitted the bed-hogging, snoring or moving around can be disruptive.

Interrupted sleep has been linked to preventing slow-wave sleep and a worse mood than non-interrupted sleepers upon waking. The Mayo Clinic advises patients who have sleep concerns to inquire about whether or not their sleep environment should be shared with a companion animal.

"I think from a sleep standpoint, multiple pets increase the risk of bad sleep," said Krahn.

March 23 is National Puppy Day

March 23 is National Puppy Day! Since 2006, National Puppy Day celebrates the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. Over the years, this holiday has grown into an international holiday, and has trended on Twitter since 2012.

Creator Colleen Page—who also founded National Dog Day and National Cat Day—created this event to help save orphaned puppies across the globe while educating the public about the horrors of puppy mills. According to the National Puppy Day website, there are approximately 8,000-10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. , including many businesses that call themselves breeders that purposely allow their dog to get pregnant in hopes of selling puppies through local papers or online.

“The tragedy of puppy mills is that they don’t care about the animals more than a commodity to be sold,” National Puppy Day’s website reads. “Most of these animals live in crammed cages with no room to movie, in complete and utter squalor.”

While National Puppy Day is a great day to post pictures of your adorable puppy to your Twitter feed, don’t forget why we celebrate this holiday: for the fair and ethical treatment of dogs across the world. To learn more about National Puppy Day and why adopting a puppy is important, visit

Ridding of Fleas in Your Home

Work to Eliminate and Prevent Fleas from Your Pets and Home

Finding out that your pet has fleas can be a stressful experience as both a pet owner and a home owner. There are multiple steps to take and we want to make sure that you’re fully aware and educated on all you need to know in order to protect your furry friends, as well as your living area. Below, we break down how your pet can get fleas, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them in the future.

How do fleas get in my house?

Unfortunately, there are multiple ways that fleas can find a way into your home – and your pet isn’t always the one to blame! Fleas can attach themselves to both animals and humans, so it could be something that you’ve unknowingly brought into your house.

  • Your pet’s exposure to other animals: Whether you’re at the park, the vet, or even another person’s house with a pet that has fleas, your pet is still vulnerable to exposure.
  • Other pets entering your home: If a friend or family member brings their pet over your house, fleas are able to inhabit the warm space and try to make a home of their own.
  • The backyard: Both you and your pet could become a new host for fleas that are loitering in the backyard and find a place in your house to stay, or simply stick around with your pet.

Once fleas are present, they’re very difficult to find and identify how they got into your home in the first place.

How do I get rid of the fleas?

When you finally realize that there are fleas in your home, there are multiple steps to take to officially get rid of them. They’re not only found on your pet, but they can be in hard-to-reach and hard-to-see places like your carpet, furniture, and tiny crevices throughout the house.

With these helpful steps, you’ll be able to protect you, your pets and your home from fleas!

  • Bring your pet to our office for treatment: Even if they’re not the ones who have fleas on them, start the prevention process as soon as possible.
  • Clean everything: Wash and dry all of your pet’s belongings, as well as your own!
  • Apply treatment to your home: Find the best ways to clean your house so there are no secret spots left that the fleas could be hiding.
  • Repeat this process at least 3 more times: You’re not only trying to clean out the fleas, but any sort of eggs and larvae that they may have left behind.

How can I prevent fleas from returning?

After you’re sure that all the fleas are gone, the next step is prevention. We want you to be aware of all the ways you can protect your home and your pets from dealing with fleas for as long as possible.

First, ask us about our flea treatment and what the best option is for your pet. There are multiple options and it’s important to learn about each of them to see which one would benefit both your pet and your home. Don’t be afraid to ask us as many questions as possible so you have all the proper information you need before choosing the best treatment.

When cleaning your home, your pet’s blankets and toys, and anything else that fleas may love, make sure you’re thorough as possible and maintain a consistent cleaning schedule. Prevention can be simple when you turn it into a routine, so be sure to ask us for any helpful tips if you’re still unsure.

To learn more about ridding your home of fleas, click here.

10 Simple Ways To Build a Solid Bond with Your Cat

Cats can be wonderful companions but sometimes things don't work out exactly the way you thought they would. Maybe your new cat would rather rest on the chair at the other end of the room than lie down on the sofa next to you. Or perhaps your cat has even hissed at or scratched you when you tried to pick them up. Often, when people don't live happily with their cats, it's because the pet owners didn't establish a good bond when they first brought the kitty home.

Bonding creates a personal relationship between you and your pet. This includes mutual respect, trust and love. You are a special person to your cat, and your cat should be special to you. It's easiest to bond with a new kitten, but even if your cat is an adult and you've had them for several months or even years, it's still possible to strengthen the bond you if you are willing to work at it.

Touch your cat with affection.

Here are 10 suggestions for building a solid bond with your feline friend:

• Include your cat in your daily activities. Invite your cat to be with you while you clean house, watch television, sort through the mail, work at the computer or read the newspaper. The more activities your cat observes you doing, the more he will trust you in all situations.

• Talk often to your cat. Verbal communication is one of the most important aspects of bonding. Don't feel silly sitting down and talking to your cat. They may not understand the words you use, but they can understand a warm, friendly tone of voice. Use your cat's name often. This will grab their attention and establish a personal relationship between the two of you.

• Get to know your cat's individual personality. Every cat is different; some are shy and independent, while others are outgoing and crave attention. Adapt your lifestyle to the particular personality of your cat. Try different behaviors on your cat and see what fits. If you want your cat to be affectionate, you have to determine what you can do to make them act that way.

• Provide a consistent daily routine. Cats don't like surprises. They feel safe and secure with a routine. Establish an acceptable daily schedule with your cat early in the relationship. Let them know how often and when to expect meals, walks on the leash and play sessions. You also should be consistent with the behaviors you allow and don't allow. Don't yell "no" when they jump on the counter today and let it slide tomorrow. If you are inconsistent in how you interact with your cat, you will confuse them and create a lack of trust.

• Give a new cat plenty of privacy. When you bring a new cat into your home, you should give them a room of their own for two to four weeks. Sit in the room for an hour a day, reading or just relaxing, but don't force the cat to interact with you. Make yourself available, but let your cat be the one to make the first move. If your cat starts walking toward you, put some catnip or other treat around your chair. This encourages the cat to move toward you. Never reach out to grab a frightened cat nor drag a cat out from under a chair. It's important that you respect your cat's fears and inhibitions. Remind yourself that they are in a new environment. Go especially slow with an older, adopted cat who may have been a stray. Give your cat time to see you're not a threat and eventually they will develop a relationship with you.

• Avoid harsh corrections. If your cat misbehaves, do not hit, holler or punish. You can say "no," but do so only to stop unacceptable behavior. Don't yell or scream. You can use a squirt bottle or air horn to stop your cat from scratching your furniture or drapes, but be careful not to link yourself with the correction. Hide the squirt bottle as you spray. You want your cat to think the drapes have a life of their own, that the drapes did the squirting. If the cat thinks you did it, it may be harder to foster a strong bond.

• Provide frequent play and exercise. Play with your cat several times each day using tossed toys, fishing pole toys, rolled balls or other interactive cat toys. By playing with your cat, you build a bond because the cat is thinking, 'when mom or dad is home, I have more fun.' This causes the cat to welcome you that much more. Avoid tug-of-war and other games that encourage aggressive behavior. Resist the temptation to roll your cat onto their back and rub his or her tummy. When you do that, you encourage the cat to use their claws and teeth on your hands. It seems like that's a lot of fun, but cats get overexcited and can become quite aggressive as a result.

• Touch with affection. Show your cat you care - stroke their fur, pat his head, scratch behind his ears, even gently squeeze his paws. Physical contact is a wonderful way to make your cat feel loved. However, avoid quick, jerky movements that might startle him.

• Hold your cat securely. Pick up your cat firmly, but gently, supporting their entire body. If you let their limbs dangle, your cat will resist and may struggle or bite you. Hold your cat by sliding your right hand between his front legs and around his upper body. Put your left hand under his rear end and around the outside of his body, pulling him into you so he feels secure. You want your cat to trust you; not as though you're going to drop them.

• Give your cat time. Some people buy a cat and want a best friend immediately. Bonding is not automatic. It may take a couple of weeks to bond with a kitten and several months to bond with an older cat. Go slowly and don't expect too much too fast.

You will have both good and bad days with your cat. Like people, now and then cats get grumpy, be patient and understanding. Treat your cat as a good friend and sooner than later, they be one.

Cat Behavior and What It Means

Domestic cats are descendants of the African wildcat, and many of the characteristic behaviors of these ancestors are still exhibited by cats today. An understanding of the origin and purpose of such behaviors can help cat owners appreciate their feline companions more fully and lead to an enhanced human-animal relationship.

Social Behavior

Once thought to be a social animals, it is now recognized that domestic cats can form complex social groupings. Studies have repeatedly shown that they form territories or ranges in which they live and defend these from intruders. In stable situations, cat territories can overlap without overt antagonistic interactions.


The cat has three primary methods of communication: vocal, visual and olfactory. Vocal communication involves a variety of sounds that convey different messages. Visual communication involves the body posture and facial expressions. For example, the position of the ears, hair and tail can offer important information about the emotional state of the cat. Olfactory communication plays a very important role in communication. The deposition of scents via facial marking, anal secretions and urine marking is an important communication tool for the feline.

Sexual Behavior

Female cats are seasonally polyestrus, with peaks in the Northern Hemisphere occurring from January to March and again from May to June. If they are not bred, estrus will last about 10 days and the female will cycle every three weeks for several months. During estrus, the female will engage in increased activity, vocalizations and marking with urine and other glandular secretions. Crouching with rear end elevated and rolling are common body postures that a female may exhibit during estrus.

Eating Behavior

In the wild, the cat developed as a solitary hunter that targeted various small prey. This led to an eating pattern of multiple small meals with considerable variety in the diet. Many domesticated cats continue this pattern and exhibit a preference for a variety of foods.

Bathroom Behavior

Kittens start to eliminate independently at about 4 weeks of age. They instinctively prefer to eliminate in fine particulate material with good drainage. Most cats will investigate a potential spot, dig a hole and pass urine or feces in the squatting position. Cats usually will then cover the elimination.

Sleeping Patterns

Although cats have traditionally been described as nocturnal creatures, they are actually crepuscular by nature, which means that they are more active in the twilight and evening hours. The average adult cat spends 10 hours per day sleeping and an additional five hours resting.

6 Games to Play with Your Cat

One of the best ways to strengthen the bond between you and your cat is to play games together. When you play with your cat, you become the most interesting object in his or her life. Not only is playtime fun for your cat, it's also a great way to get your cat to exercise, both mentally and physically.

Here are six games you can play with your cat. Not every feline will want to play every game on this list, but certainly there are at least a few games here that you and your cat will enjoy. While most of them require objects you may have around the house, there are also a number of toys available that provide the same fun. The key is to actually play with your cat in order to create a fun and lasting relationship with your cat while also keeping them trim and healthy.

Cat Playing

Paw Hockey - Play this game in a room with hardwood, tile or linoleum floors that has at least 10 square feet of free floor space. Break off an 8-inch square of aluminum foil and scrunch it up into a hockey puck shape. (Please remember that foil balls should always be thrown away at the end of the game. They are fine for games, but are not safe for unsupervised play.) Show your cat the puck and then flick it with your fingers so that it goes skittering across the floor. Your cat will then chase after the puck, batting it with his paws and making it scoot from one end of the room to the other. If your cat starts to lose interest in the game, pick up the puck and give it another flick.

Staircase Dash - With your cat at the top of the stairs and you at the bottom, fling a ping pong ball to the top of the staircase, against the side wall, one or two steps in front of where your cat is sitting. The ball bounces down the stairs and your cat should race down the stairs chasing after it. When the ball reaches the bottom of the stairs, probably with your cat just a step behind, fling the ball back up to the top of the staircase. Keep tossing the ball up the steps until your cat gets tired.

Bathtub Scurry - Put a ping pong ball in a clean, dry bathtub. Remove the bottles of shampoo and bars of soap and plug the drain so the ping pong ball doesn't get lodged there. Put your cat in the bathtub, show him the ping pong ball and bounce the ball off the side of the bathtub. As the ball bounces around, your cat should chase after it. If the ball starts to slow down, give it a good roll off the side to get it moving again and to keep up your cat's interest.

Chase the Thing on the String - Get an aluminum foil ball, hollow plastic Whiffle ball or catnip mouse and tie it to a 3-foot piece of twine or heavy string. Pull the string along the floor in front of you, over the cat furniture or up and down your staircase and let your cat chase after the object. Be sure to allow your cat to capture the object every once in awhile so he/she can feel like a successful predator.

Shadows on the Wall - Turn off the lights in the evening and shine a flashlight on a nearby wall. Dangle bouncy cat toys or other small objects in the light and move them back and forth so their shadows race up and down the wall. Your cat should leap up at the wall trying to catch the elusive prey.

Cat Playing