December 2009 - Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center - San Diego, CA

Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center

4680 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117


December, 2009

Happy Holidays! As is typical for sunny San Diego, we are enjoying the warm winter and crisp, cool nights. Nothing is better than snuggling up with a furry feline as winter approaches.


A heart-felt thanks to everyone for your feedback on the monthly Newsletter. If you would like to see us cover a particular topic, please send your suggestions to the hospital manager, Diane, at


We love seeing everyone's feline family photos too! Do you have holiday photos with Santa? Kitty in trouble under the tree? Please send your photos to and we'll put them in our online photo album.

Last minute travel plans? Don't forget, you can view and print your cat's vaccine records online at PetSites. Just click the link on the side of this page. While in PetSites, you can request appointments, order food and medication refills, customize your pet's page and more!


Holiday Hours:


Our hospital will be closed the following days.

December 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th

December 31st, January 1st, 2nd and 3rd


*** If you purchase special diets or medications for your kitty at our clinic, please plan ahead as deliveries may be delayed and holiday hours may make last minute refills impossible.


Holiday Hazards Part 2


Can you believe that it’s December already? Here at Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center we are looking forward to bundling up and relaxing with our kitties in front of the fire. Perhaps you’d like to share a small saucer of warm milk with your special furry feline… but if you read our November newsletter, you will recall the hazards of rich and fatty foods (like turkey skin and bones) and chocolate. Don’t go overboard with the tasty treats.


Here are some other things to be mindful of as you deck your halls this season.

RIBBONS & TINSEL-- These are of special interest to 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 requiring surgery for correction. Supervise your cat very closely and never allow them to play with string toys unattended.


ORNAMENTS -- Glass ornaments that sparkle and shine 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 cats who like to play with string as well as those who are interested in chewing. If a pet bites through an electrical cord, it could result in a severe burn to the tongue or electrical shock which may cause the pet’s lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention. Cords also pose a strangulation hazard should kitty get tangled.

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 house plants and floral arrangements up and away from your feisty feline.


The doctors and team at Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center wish you and your family a SAFE and happy season!


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 tag that can not 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 implantaion 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's 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!


December Special and Gift Ideas


This holiday give the gift that saves lives.... a microchip implantation.


Receive a FREE single tube of Advantage ($12 value) with each new microchip implantation.


A purr-fect gift for the feline that has everything.

  • Your kitty
  • Family, friends and neighbors cats too!

Facts About H1N1 Flu


Until recently, we had no reason to believe pets could be infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus because it is very uncommon for flu viruses to jump between species. However, on October 9, 2009, a USDA laboratory confirmed 2009/H1N1 infection in a ferret. The ferret's owner had recently been ill with the flu. Ferrets are more susceptible to infection with influenza viruses, so this was not altogether surprising. At this time, there are no reports of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus being transmitted from a ferret to a person.


On November 4, the Iowa State Veterinarian and the Iowa Department of Public Health announced that a pet cat was confirmed infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. The cat's owners were ill and the cat developed respiratory symptoms shortly afterward. The cat has recovered and there is no evidence at this time that the cat passed the virus to any people.


Pets that live indoors, especially cats, tend to have close contact with their owners – after all, that's why we have pets – and that increases their chances of being exposed to diseases. The best advice is to always follow common sense guidelines when dealing with animals (for example, washing your hands). In addition, it's more important than ever that pet owners keep a good eye on their pet's health and consult a veterinarian if their pet is showing any signs of illness. Keeping your pets healthy reduces their risk of becoming ill.

As a concerned pet owner you may ask, "Should I get rid of my ferret or cat so my family is protected?" Certainly not. This is not cause for panic and extreme measures. You are much more likely to catch the flu (any type of flu, including the 2009 H1N1 flu) from an infected person than you are from an animal. So far, all of the pets infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus became infected from being around their ill owners. The main lesson here is that if you're feeling ill and have flu-like symptoms, you should probably limit your contact with your pets (and other people, for that matter) until you are feeling better. As always, if your pet is showing signs of illness, it should be examined by a veterinarian.


For more information regarding pets and H1N1 flu please visit:


Coming in January 2010

* Annual Exam and Vaccine Recommendations… Why?

* Diabetes Facts

And More!


Wishing you all Healthy, Happy Holidays....

We look forward to seeing you and the kitties in the New Year!