Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center

4680 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117


Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center August 2010
What's New
Take Your Cat To The Vet Week
A Record Flea Season
Feline Myths and Facts

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Newsletters Are Back!

Greetings from Dr. Middleton, Dr. Metcalf, and the team at Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center. We are very excited to be able to resume sending our informative monthly e-newsletters. These newsletters feature feline-specific topics, written by our doctors and team members, and feature articles and tips especially for our Cheshire friends. We hope you find them fun and informative! 

If you have any suggestions or have a special interest that you would like to see featured in an upcoming newsletter, please feel free to contact Diane, hospital manager and newsletter editor, at 

As you may already know, we have teamed with ePetRecords to offer 24-hour access to your cat's records online. This free and convenient service will help save you time and allow you to be more in control of your cat's health care. Want to sign up? Email us at and request serial numbers. Please specify which cats you would like to set up. 

Additionally, we will be sending e-reminders for upcoming appointments that you can confirm with just a click of a button. We will also email health reminders for examinations or vaccines that are due. Post card reminders will still be sent by regular postal mail after the 1st email, just in case. At Cheshire Cat, your cat's well-being is our priority. 

August 16th - 22nd is Take Your Cat To The Vet Week

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Week is August 16-22, 2010

Why a special week just for cats?? There are about 60 million "owned" cats in the USA and cats now outnumber dogs as household pets in the United States. They are popular as they can be kept entirely indoors, are more independent than dogs, and have a reputation of being "low maintenance" pets.  However, cats can hide their illnesses well and many cat owners do not see the early symptoms.  When cats are finally are brought to the vet, their illness may then require more diagnostic tests and treatments than if their illness had been caught early.  If caught early, many illnesses can be either cured, brought into remission, or managed so that the cat enjoys a better quality of life.  

The main reasons why cats are not seen by the vet as frequently as dogs are follow:

  •  They seem "fine".
  • The owner isn't aware of the importance of catching illnesses early.
  • The cat hates the trip to the vet.
  • The owner is concerned about the costs.

The top 10 reasons why cats are brought to the vet (according to Veterinary Pet Insurance) are:

  • Lower Urinary Tract Disease
  • Stomach upset
  • Kidney disease
  • Intestinal inflammation/Diarrhea
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Colitis/Constipation
  • Ear infections
  • Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
  • High Thyroid

Another reason why owners may not bring their cat to the vet when they should is because they do not know what the early warning signs are.  These can include increased thirst/urinations, loss of appetite, losing weight, lethargy or sleeping more, eliminating outside of the litter box, coughing or having difficulty breathing, vomiting more frequently, or acting blind. This is not a complete list, more signs will be posted on our website.  

One thing cats (and owners) really dread is the carrier. There are ways to help make the experience less stressful. Acclimating the cat to the carrier by having it out and available for "cat naps" can help minimize stress when the carrier suddenly appears. Place treats or catnip in the carrier. Use a pleasing pheromone spray (Feliway) to give the cat a sense of calmness and familiarity. Most cats resent being shoved face first into the carrier. Try placing the carrier upright on one end then lowering the cat down tail end first. Gently support the cat, holding the back and front legs together. For some cats, a sedative may be prescribed to be given before visiting the vet. Sedatives are meant to just "take the edge off" and help your kitty feel a little calmer.  

Finally, cat owners may not know how often their cat should have a routine preventive exam and vaccines.  Although the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends all cats have an exam yearly and senior cats (over 10 years of age) have an exam every 6 months.

Read more about Feline Lifestage Guidelines HERE.

The European Feline Advisory Board (FAB) recommends cats of all ages have exams every 6 months.

Vaccinations and/or blood work depend on the cat's age and lifestyle. For further details about the routine wellness plan for your cat's life, please check our website HERE. 

Our website contains more detailed information about the above diseases in our Pet Medical Library. Please check it out today!


This month: San Diego Pets Magazine featured Dr. Middleton! Read more here.

A Record Flea Season

This chilly July (the coldest summer in 70 years of San Diego history) was not the only season to set a record!! Our clients are reporting a severe flea season as well. Why is that? 

Some may think that fleas are becoming more resistant to topical products such as Advantage and Frontline but this is not the likely culprit. In fact, 80% of the fleas are not even living on the pet but rather hide deep in the carpet, under the couch, in the bedding and concealed in the closet. Even those with hardwood floors or tile can have infestations that go unseen. Therefore, it is imperative to treat not just the pet, but the house and yard as well. Even indoor pets can have a hitch-hiking flea brought into the home that infests the whole house! 

Our veterinarians are still recommending Advantage as the first choice in topical control for cats. Advantage is very safe and can be applied as often as every 3-4 weeks throughout the year. 

Because of our mild San Diego weather, it is recommended to apply flea control year round even when you don't see fleas. In severe infestations, Capstar, a fast-acting flea pill, can be given in addition to Advantage. 

Capstar kills all fleas on the pet within a few hours but is only effective for one day. It is helpful when used along with Advantage to quickly knock down a large amount of fleas. 

What can you use that's safe in the house? We recommend Fleabusters, a safe and non-toxic borate powder that dehydrates the flea.

Apply Fleabusters to the carpets, under the couch cushions, in the closets, under the bed... anywhere fleas hide. Fleabusters lasts in the home for up to a year! 

For more information on any of these flea products, please call our office and we will be happy to help! 

Pesky fleas are more than just irritating. Some pets can suffer severe skin allergies (Flea Allergy Dermatitis) from even just one bite. 

Also, cats, especially young or debilitated cats, can become anemic from the blood lost to flea bites that can be life threatening.

Lastly, some fleas carry the tapeworm larvae in their bodies. When the cat is grooming and swallows the flea, he/she may contract tapeworms which will live and feed in the intestines of the cat. Treatment involves giving the cat a prescription anti-cestode medication which is a different medication than most dewormers commonly found in pet store shelves. Although it is a myth that if you see tapeworms in one of your pets, that every pet should be treated for tapeworms, it IS likely that all of the pets have fleas and should all be treated for fleas. 

Don't give fleas a biting chance! Ask us how you can keep your cat and home flea-free this season! 
Feline Myths and Facts

These are common misunderstandings that veterinarians frequently hear from pet owners, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Following is a list of popular myths that AAHA veterinarians and The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) would like to dispel.  

Myth: Cats always land on their feet.

Fact: While cats instinctively fall feet first and may survive falls from high places, they also may receive broken bones in the process. Some kind of screening on balconies and windows can help protect pets from disastrous falls. 

Myth: Cats that are spayed or neutered automatically gain weight.

Fact: Like people, cats gain weight from eating too much, not exercising enough or both. In many cases, spaying or neutering is done at an age when the animal's metabolism already has slowed, and its need for food has decreased. If the cat continues to eat the same amount, it may gain weight. Cat owners can help their cats stay fit by providing exercise and not over-feeding.

Myth: Pregnant women should not own cats.

Fact: Some cats can be infected with a disease called toxoplasmosis, which occasionally can be spread to humans through cat litter boxes and cause serious problems in unborn babies. However, these problems can be controlled, if the expectant mother avoids contact with the litter box and assigns daily cleaning to a friend or other family member. Gardening where cats or other animals have defecated should be avoided as well. Toxoplasmosis can also be spread through droppings from infected birds.

Myth: Indoor cats do not get fleas.

Fact: Fleas can jump through screens or ride in on your clothing. San Diego has perfect flea conditions and this year fleas are worse than ever! 

Myth: Animals heal themselves by licking their wounds.

Fact: Such licking actually can slow the healing process and further damage the wound.

Myth: Indoor cats cannot get diseases.

Fact: Cats still are exposed to organisms that are carried through the air or brought in on a cat owner's shoes or clothing. Even the most housebound cat  may venture outdoors at some time and can be exposed to diseases and worms through contact with other animal's feces.

Myth: A cat's sense of balance is in its whiskers.

Fact: Cats use their whiskers as "feelers" but not to maintain their balance.