Holiday Hazards Reminder:
Everyone at Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center is looking forward to bundling up and relaxing with our kitties this chilly winter season. As a reminder, we revisit some important safety tips for the holidays.
RIBBONS & TINSEL-- Sparkle and shine attracts playful cats and kittens that see these materials as toys (or prey) to be chased, pounced upon, chewed or swallowed. While chasing and pouncing pose no health threats, chewing and swallowing do, as these strings or "linear foreign bodies" can catch in the throat, stomach and intestinal tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition that may require surgery for correction. Supervise your cat very closely around holiday decorations and never allow them to play with string toys unattended.
ORNAMENTS -- Glass ornaments are sure to entice a cat but broken shards of glass will cut paws and are deadly if swallowed. Keep them out of kitty's reach at all costs!
ELECTRIC LIGHT CORDS-- These are also tempting to the cat who likes to play with string or are interested in chewing. If a pet bites through an electrical cord, it could result in a severe burn to the tongue or worse, electrical shock, which can cause the pet's lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This presents an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention. Cords also be a strangulation hazard.
POINSETTIA, MISTLETOE, and other PLANTS-- Contrary to popular belief, poinsettia is not specifically toxic but consuming this festive-looking plant can be irritating to the mouth and stomach of the cat that chews on or swallows it. Some mistletoes produce only stomach upset while others may lead to liver failure or seizures. The fact that there are several types of mistletoe makes it difficult to predict the clinical signs of poisoning. Consider mistletoe to be a hazardous substance and keep it inaccessible to pets and children. Several varieties of lilies such as Day Lily, Tiger Lily and Easter Lily can cause acute kidney failure in cats if ingested. Amaryllis, Narcissus and Ivy are also named on the ASPCA list of common poisons in the household. Play it safe and keep any and all houseplants and floral arrangements up and away from your feisty feline.
Give The Gift That Saves:
According to the Humane Society of the United States, only 2-5% of lost cats that enter shelters are ever reunited with their family. That means 95-98% do not make it home! Additionally, 41% of people looking for their lost cat at the shelter had considered that cat "indoors only" but somehow the cat got out. These are heart-wrenching statistics could be less alarming if your cat had a microchip.
A microchip is a tiny radio transmitter that is read at close range by a scanner. The microchip is not to be confused with a GPS tracking system but rather serves as a permanent ID that won't be lost or removed. A microchip, which is the size of a grain of rice, is injected under the skin of your cat where it is virtually undetectable. Implanting is done with a large bore needle and, like a vaccine, is relatively painless. No anesthesia is needed but could make implantation easier on a grumpy cat.
When a lost cat enters the shelter or is brought to our veterinary hospital, a scanner is used to search for a microchip. The scanner is passed over the cat's fur, slowly searching for a microchip signal. If one was implanted, a unique identification code will appear on the scanner. That code is linked to the owner's information in a database that can be accessed by any shelter, veterinarian or rescue group. The database receives 1,000s of calls per day and helps a great deal of pets return safely home. Owners may change their contact information at anytime to keep the database current unlike a collar tag that is often out of date.
This holiday, consider giving a loved ones cat or your fabulous feline the "Gift That Saves." A microchip can be implanted on most cats at any age and will give you the peace of mind knowing you've done all you can to protect your precious kitty.
And just a reminder, if your cat already has a microchip, is your contact information up to date? Keep your cat safe by keeping your information on file current. Call the microchip company database and be sure they can reach you when kitty is in crisis.
The following are common makers of microchips. If you require help with this, please call our office for assistance.
Bayer ResQ microchip PetLink 1-877-738-5465
AVID microchips 1-800-336-2843
Home Again microchip 1-888-466-3242
AKC Companion Animal Recovery (Trovan) 1-800-252-7894
If you are unsure which microchip or if kitty has one, we are happy to perform a complimentary scan here in the clinic. Some of the older microchips may migrate or fail to work, leaving you with a false sense of security. Be sure by allowing us to check!
So this holiday, give the gift that saves lives.... a microchip implantation! It's the purr-fect gift for the feline that has everything. Family, friends and neighbors cats too!
Happy Holidays from,
Dr. Ann D. Middleton,
Dr. Michelle R. Metcalf,
and all your friends at Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center
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