Category Archives: The Cat’s Meow

Sneezy, Wheezy, and Snorey: Feline Asthma and Other Cat Breathing Noises

If your cat is suddenly making noise while breathing that you aren’t used to hearing, you may be understandably concerned. While the occasional kitty sneeze or sniffle can be adorable, many times changes in breathing noises can indicate a problem.

So how is a pet owner to know whether a cat-sized wheeze is just a one-off or something more serious like feline asthma? Thankfully, you aren’t expected to have all the answers. This is where your friends at West Park Animal Hospital come in.

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Tips and Tricks for Pet Ear Cleaning

The special anatomy of cat and dog ears can create certain challenges. Infection and inflammation are common ailments that affect multiple parts of the ear, but injury can also occur. All problems in and around the ear have the potential for intense discomfort and should be properly addressed. Pet ear cleaning is just one way to promote overall health of this part of the body, and we’ve got some tips to help you get started!

A Closer Look

The outer ear is called the pinna. Dog breeds with long, floppy ears, those with a lot of hair around the ear, and swimmers are more prone to suffering ear infections. The pinna is also susceptible to bites, scratches, or abrasions.

The middle ear contains the fragile eardrum (tympanic membrane), small bones, an air-filled cavity, and a thin tube that leads to the back of the mouth.

The inner ear contains nerves and is comprised of the centers for hearing and balance. It also connects to the brain.

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Adopting the Oddballs: Special Needs Pets

If you’ve ever gone to the shelter looking for a new pet, you have probably been overwhelmed with the number of animals that need to be adopted. Statistics show that over 2 million pets are adopted from animal shelters each year. That’s an astounding number!

When looking for a new pet, did you ever consider the pet with 3 legs? Or the deaf or blind pet? Pets with physical challenges are also looking for forever homes, some of them through shelters and some through rescue organizations. Special needs pets can make amazing companions, too, and we’re here to tell you how.

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New to Pet Ownership? These Helpful Hacks Will Get You on Track

Pet ownership is rewarding and wonderful

Pet owners are very lucky people. They get a daily dose of unconditional love, entertainment, and oodles of cuddles (not to mention the health benefits that stem from this special relationship, as well!). To be sure, the perks are great, but if you’re new to pet ownership, caring for an animal can sometimes be a guessing game. In other words, the learning curve can be a little steep.

To get you over the hump, the team at West Park Animal Hospital has gathered some real-life hacks to help you fully embrace the wonderful joys of pet ownership.

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What Everyone Can Do to Promote Winter Cat Care

Winter cat care is part of winter pet safety.

Cats are amazing animals that are capable of living in extreme climates, but that doesn’t mean constant exposure to the elements is good for their health. Domestic cats that are allowed to roam outside or those that live exclusively outdoors (e.g., feral or stray cats) have more to contend with than just the weather. As a result, many owners choose the indoor-only lifestyle for their pet.

But what about cats that dart out at night or the ones who hang around the neighborhood that don’t seem to belong to anyone? Aside from protecting pets from potential illness and injury, winter cat care can be a real struggle. Fortunately, the team at West Park Animal Hospital is here to help!

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Truth and Consequences: Prevailing Myths of Feline Nutrition

Feline nutrition contributes to cat health

While there are many contributing factors to your cat’s overall wellness, what you put in their food bowl might be the most important. In other words, a balanced diet is what truly lays the foundation for a long and healthy life.

Unfortunately, while feline nutrition is essential, the marketing of commercial pet foods can make the simple act of providing your pet with a high-quality meal frustrating and confusing.

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Halloween Fun: Best Pet Costumes for 2018

The best pet costumes are the ones your dog will wear happily.

Halloween is right around the corner, and we can’t wait for pumpkin  carving, bobbing for apples, and costumes! This year, we’ve put together a fun list of the best pet costumes, and we’re excited to share with you.

Remember that not all pets like getting dressed up, so before you partake of this tradition, spend some time getting your pet acclimated to the process. If they still don’t like to wear a costume, don’t force it – enjoy other aspects of Halloween. A Halloween movie marathon under the covers with our pets sounds pretty good, too!

But, if your pet does like to dress up, you’ve come to the right place!

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Subtle (and Not so Subtle) Signs of Animal Abuse

If you witness extreme animal abuse, contact pet rescue.

Animal lovers everywhere are understandably outraged by stories and photographs of abused or neglected animals. For loving pet owners, it’s inconceivable to think of harming an animal, but signs of abuse and neglect can be subtle; it could be happening right under our very noses. That’s why we want to take a moment to review the subtle and less subtle signs of animal abuse in the home.

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The Benefits of Growing Catnip in Your Garden

Catnip is awesomeOur cats are such wonderful and amazing creatures, and many of us want to give them a special treat now and then. If you haven’t already thought of it, why not grow some catnip in your garden or your catio?

Most of us have heard of the euphoric effects of catnip on cats, and may have even witnessed this with our own cats. It’s true that catnip brings on a happy feeling in 75% of cats, large or small.

But are there any other tricks that catnip can do? If you’re into herbs or gardening, you probably know that most plants have many uses, and the same is true for catnip. West Park Animal Hospital thought it would be fun to explore this topic, seeing as the summer is prime time for this blooming herb. Continue reading

Cats and Milk:  A Natural Match or Not a Good Idea?

Cats and milk... not so much.The image of a fluffy barn cat lapping from a bucket next to a big Holstein cow is an iconic one for sure. While many of us search our refrigerators for a gallon of milk as a treat for our feline friends, cats and milk actually aren’t a good combination. West Park Animal Hospital wants all our cat loving readers to know more about this common misconception.  

Why Cats and Milk Don’t Mix

Cats are known to gravitate toward rich, fatty flavors. Milk (full fat milk and cream in particular) is no exception.

There are two main reasons owners should limit dairy intake for our pets: Continue reading