Sick Kitty: What to Do When #Pets Won’t Eat

KarmaBlueChair Yesterday, Karma-Kat got sick. He snubbed the bowl. Yes, I’m worried, particularly since he’s usually such a little chow-hound.

All pets lose their appetite once in a while and may snub the bowl for a meal or two. Some pets are just picky by nature, but healthy dogs and cats tend to make up for a missed meal with the next serving. As long as the pet acts like he otherwise feels good, loss of appetite for one or two days isn’t cause for concern.

Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty have never been finicky eaters, and eat pretty much anything that’s offered. Karma-Kat is a bit of a glutton, and will scrounge for more when the bowl is empty.

But a few days ago, we received a PAW-some box full of dog treats to review (Magic is a very happy doggy!). As I set up some photo ops, Karma got into the act and beat the dog to the schnarf-op. Yesterday, he ate a bunch of Magic’s dog treats—he LOVES them!

But too many proved to rich for the boy’s tummy and later that day threw ‘em up. His tummy was so upset, he “whoopsed” twice more. I know he felt bad because he didn’t pester for food or attention, and just wanted to sleep. I’d been invited to attend a local theater production last night and worried the whole time I was there, and when I returned home, he’d been sick one more time. Oh no…

WHY PETS WON’T EAT

Nearly any illness can cause a pet to refuse to eat, though. Life-threatening diseases such as distemper or kidney failure, parasites such as hookworms, a sore mouth from dental problems, or just the stress of a mother-in-law visiting the family, could prompt anorexia. High outdoor temperatures also can kill pet appetite.

Any sudden loss of appetite that lasts more than two days needs medical attention—sooner, if the pet acts sick. Puppies and kittens have fewer fat and fluid reserves and can’t go without food longer than about 12 hours before needing medical help. Toy breed puppies are particularly prone to potentially deadly drops in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if they skip a meal. Signs of hypoglycemia are weakness, drunken-type gait, and sometimes seizures. Lift the pup’s lip and put Karo Syrup, honey or something similar on the gums, and once he’s conscious, feed him.

Cats, especially pudgy kitties, can also become gravely ill by skipping just one or two meals, so I’m extra careful about Karma since he’s packed on a bit of weight. For overweight cats, refusing to eat can start a chain reaction that moves fat cells into the cat’s liver. Hepatic lipidosis or “fatty liver disease” can kill the cat.

If your pet stops eating, you’ll need a diagnosis from the veterinarian to figure out why. But often it’s perfectly legal to tempt his appetite with healthy people food. Offer wholesome tidbits like a sliver of lean beef or chicken, or spike his kibble with no-salt meat broth. That will also help you decide if he’s just being finicky, or really has a problem that needs medical attention.

Cats suffering from upper respiratory infections often have stuffy noses. If they can’t smell their food, cats won’t eat. Use a humidifier in a small room to help open up the breathing passages or run a hot shower so the pet breathes steamy air in the bathroom for ten minutes a couple times a day. Warm water on a cotton ball gently cleans off the plugged nose to keep it unblocked.

HOW TO TEMPT PET APPETITES

Tempt your pet’s appetite with pungent-smelling foods. Many cats relish tuna juice from a can of water-packed tuna, while dogs often live for liverwurst. You can also offer meat-based baby food. That’s not only very palatable for most cats and dogs, but is easier to eat if the mouth is sore from respiratory infections or dental problems.

Studies have shown that 95 to 98 degrees is the most attractive food temperature especially to cats. Warm the food and test it against your wrist–close to your own body temperature is the right range. Anorexic cats often will lick food off a spoon or your finger more readily than out of a bowl so hand feeding helps get nutrition in him until you can see the veterinarian.

Leaving food out in front of a reluctant eater for long periods at a time overwhelms and “wears out” the appetite centers. That will kill any appetite the pet may have left. Instead, offer your reluctant eater a small amount of food, and when he’s had his fill or refuses to eat, take it away and try again an hour later.

KARMA-KAT UPDATE

This morning, I warmed up some wet food and Karma lapped up two tongue-swipes of the food. He also drank some water, and eliminated normally, which encouraged me he was on the mend. I had a lunch meeting, and resolved to take his temp and get him to the vet if Karma hadn’t improved by the time I got home.

When I returned from my meeting, Karma seemed more alert, so I offered him a bit of plain non-flavored yogurt. Many cats like the flavor, and it’s soothing on ify tummies and helps re-balance “good” gut bacteria. He wasn’t particularly interested, though, and Seren for once stole HIS food instead of the opposite.

Karma followed me into the master bath (his purr-sonal space) and actually went to his bowl. So…I offered again a tiny amount of warm wet food and this time, he ate! Yee-haw! He kept it down and asked for more a couple hours later, and has started inviting Magical-Dawg to play, so it’s clear he’s on the mend.

It’s also clear I need to teach the boy to read, and avoid anything treats that say “dog” on the package. Until then, I’ll have to be much more vigilant going forward, to avoid any future pig-out problems.

Do you have pets that steal each others’ food? How do you manage the marauding maniacs? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Caption My Ass-ets! #FunnyCats Rule

KarmaButt

I’m head-down busy today preparing edits to send back to my editor on the new COMPLETE PUPPY CARE book. And my “helper” Karma has made editing a new challenge. I’ve shared a couple of these pictures on my Facebook page (have you “liked” me yet?!) but wanted to post here, too.

How do your pets “help” you with your work? Is their attention welcome or aggravating? Do tell! Oh…and let’s have some fun in the comments. Suggest captions for the two pictures. :)

KarmaEditI love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Why Won’t My Puppy Potty On Grass?

AlertToday’s Ask Amy has some basic puppy potty training tips, and answers the question, “Why won’t my puppy potty on grass?” Some poor pooches have no experience “being creative” on a proper surface, and they can become terrified and traumatized when faced with a new-to-them surface. Just imagine having to “go” so badly but being scared to do anything about it.

DEAR ASK AMY…

“Hey Amy! I’m pretty stumped and you’re the only dog expert I know. I recently rescued a Husky/Australian Shepherd that was kept 100 percent inside. He’s a super sweet puppy-named Loki–about five months old. They never let him out and he eliminated on a “trashcan lid” according to his owner. Now, he won’t eliminate outside unless it’s the last resort. He doesn’t go in the house… only on my concrete porch. Would you have any ideas on how to get him to make the transference from porch to grass? Dave”

AMY’S ANSWER

This happens a lot with backyard breeders and puppy mill dogs. This poor pup may also have been punished for eliminating anywhere but on the trash can. So how would you handle this issue? Here’s my very brief reply…we can get into more detail in the comments, if y’all like.

Hi Dave, Congrats on the new puppy, Loki…poor fellow. The key here is two-fold. First, reward Loki for performing the behavior you want–eliminating in the right spot. To do that, figure out what he likes best–treats? toy?…and basically PAY him with a reward to do the right thing.

Second, make sure you transition slowly. Instead of forcing him onto the grass, give him some options so he naturally makes the choice you want. For instance, get a trashcan lid and place it first on the concrete porch–something familiar he already accepts. That way, he gets to be a “good dog” for going in the right place. And after that, gradually move the lid across the porch and eventually onto the grass in the yard. Once he’s in the yard, you can transition to the grass…maybe even making the trashcan lids smaller and smaller. Actually if he’s going to be a big dog, as he grows this may happen naturally.

Another thought, you could get some “puppy pee pads” used for house training. They smell “right” to the dog, and use those first on the porch and slowly move to the grass. Whether you use the trashcan lid or the pee pads, be sure Loki only gets the treats when he’s creative on the grass.

PuppyCareCoverSo folks, what about your suggestions. Have you ever had this situation of a dog refusing to use a designated area? How have you managed training for your new pups? Please share your tips in the comments–and feel free to add some SQUEEE! cute puppy pix, too. Of course, my forthcoming Complete Puppy Care book will include many more details on all-things-puppies. But here are the basics in this Ask Amy. :)

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

My Pet Hates My Date! Teach to Accept Babies, Toddlers & Lovers

Pets are considered a part of the family, but what do you do when your kitty interferes with love and romance? When your dog hates your date, but you’re smitten, what’s a caring pet owner to do? Or perhaps you’re pregnant, and your longtime “fur-kid” acts jealous, or you worry Grandma’s pets aren’t used to toddler antics. The stress put on family relationships can make animal behaviors and communication go sideways, and turn a once loving pet bond into a dysfunctional relationship. Cats and dogs often lose their homes or lives when the bond breaks, unless you teach them to accept babies, toddlers, and lovers.

My two newest publications–currently KINDLE EXCLUSIVES–pack prescriptive advice into a short how-to guides that offer step-by-step instructions how to improve family relationships between babies, toddlers, kids and adults, and your furry family members. You’ll learn how to CREATE A FURRY LOVE-CONNECTION!
CatHatesDate

  • Why Cats and Dogs (Sometimes) Hate New People
  • Tips to Solve Pet Jealousy
  • Ways Cats and Dogs Show Love
  • The Health Benefits of Pets & Why Kids Benefit Most!
  • Pet-to-Baby Introductions
  • Pet-to-Toddler/Kid Introductions
  • Why “Acting” Like Your Cat or Dog Makes You a Great Romantic Catch

With a fun conversational tone and easy to use proven techniques, MY CAT HATES MY DATE! and MY DOG HATES MY DATE! helps ensure your loving bond remains strong and intact.

NOTE: If your sweetheart wants you to choose between him/her and your beloved dog or cat, suggest they read this book…before you show ‘em the door. :P Use the book as a “pet test” to teach dates how to win affection from your furry family members! And when you hear about concerns when a new baby will join the family, point ‘em to these tips.

What about you? How do you deal with your pets (or family member fur-kids) and the two-legged humans? Has anyone ever suggested you “get rid of the pets” for…whatever reason? Do tell!

DogHatesDate

 I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

How Pets Play, Why Cats Play, and What Dog Play Means

KittenJumpHow pets play and why dogs and cats play games fascinates the people who love them. Cat play, dog play and kitten games are exactly the same–only different–with identical purposes but variation in styles. :P These days, I have a front-row seat with the “old lady” Seren-Kitty doing her best to keep order, while Magical-Dawg and Karma-Kitten wreak havoc.You can’t help but smile or laugh out loud when the fur-kids throw a play-party.

Oh, and that picture (above) of the kitten vaulting over another? That’s Karma’s latest favorite hiss-inspiring activity. I call it his “drive by” when he races across the room, and LEAPS over top of Seren, creating feline angst and prompting her to chase-to-chastise the furry miscreant. Of course, that’s what Karma wants, to get the old girl to chase him. When she catches the big guy, he immediately flops on the floor while she yells cat curses at him, and paw-swats his face.

When that doesn’t work, Karma simply tackles Seren, using his 13 pounds to pancake her petite 6-pound frame to the carpet. You can almost see him smile as she yodels her outrage.

Karma is in kitty heaven.

He does something similar with Magic. Karma saunters up to my 90+ pound German Shepherd, crouches for a moment, makes sure the Magical-Dawg is watching, and then SPRINGS away to duck under furniture. Magic takes the bait and invitation, and sprints after him. It makes me tired to watch.

IS IT PLAY, OR AGGRESSION?

It can be hard to tell sometimes what’s “real” and what kind of play is “just fooling around.” In fact, both dog play and cat play can tip over into dangerous aggression if the pets get too wound up.

Dog and cat play use the same behaviors as hunting, attack, and aggressive behavior, but the pets use “meta signals” to let the other party know it’s all in good fun. For instance, dogs use the “play bow” with butt-end up and forepaws down to signal that everything that comes after this signal is not serious. Cats also can use a play bow, or roll on their back to solicit attention or a game.

Here’s a BIG clue. Doggy play includes growls, whines and barks. Cat play typically is silent. If your cats become vocal during play, it’s time to stop the games. And if both of the pets keep coming back for more, they’re likely just having a good time.

WHY PETS PLAY

In years’ past, the experts often ascribed play to be only the means by which juvenile animals practiced skills they’d need later as adults. Kittens played to hone hunting ability, while puppies played to strengthen muscles and practice various doggy techniques.

They neglected to mention that play, quite simply, is FUN! Cats stalk toy mice and kittens attack ankles for the pure joy, as an outlet for energy, stress reliever, and potent relaxation technique. Dogs steal socks and dance away out of reach, and play “tag” with owners, other animals, and even the reluctant cat. If you believe cats and dogs don’t laugh, just look more closely at your furry companion in the throws of blissful play.

Karma-Seren

Now 13 pounds and a year old, the play has slowed down, and 17-year-old Seren is grateful!

KITTEN PLAY

By four weeks of age, kittens practice four basic play techniques: play fighting, mouse pounce, bird swat, and fish scoop. The first play displayed by kittens is on the back, belly-up, with paws waving. Feints at the back of a sibling’s neck mimic the prey-bite used to dispatch mice (toy or real). Kittens also practice the simpering sideways shuffle, back arched high, almost tiptoeing around other kittens or objects. Soon, the eye-paw coordination improves to execute the pounce, the boxer stance, chase and pursuit, horizontal leaps, and the face-off where kittens bat each other about the head.

Karma has decided “riding” a towel dragged across the floor is great fun. Kitty sledding, anyone?

PUPPY PLAY

Puppy play can be similar, but while kittens use paws to tap-tap-tap objects and manipulate/test their surroundings, pups mouth–everything. By five weeks, puppies often carry things around. This ensures owners must be good housekeepers or risk losing wallets, underwear, and other important valuables. About the same age, pups begin playing tug-of-war with your pant leg, each others’ tails, and anything within reach.

Magic still loves to play keep-away. Thank goodness he only targets doggy toys and human socks these days, rather than (urk!) puppy poop.

Puppy and kitten play offers endless entertainment to them as well as watching humans. The awkwardness, intensity, and abandon of these antics give way to greater finesse and dexterity as the pet matures.

PuppyBowl 017

ADULT PET PLAY

While adult pets play less than rambunctious babies, all dogs and cats play to some extent through their entire life. It’s not only fun for you both, but healthy as well. Keeping dogs and cats active and moving ensures they stay lean, and interested in the world around them.

At age 17, Seren still races laps around the living room and up and down the stairs. While she’d deny it, chasing the Karma-Kitten has brought a gleam back to her eyes and Seren really seems to enjoy the tag-team matches they play.

Now eight years old, Magic could play “fetch” literally for hours, with his ball, a stick, a stuffed toy–anything at all that fits into that grinning mouth. Frisbees are a favorite. In the summer, hose-tag keeps him happy. And of course, rolling on his back with a squeaky-chew in his mouth is right up there with treats. His most favorite game of all, though, is sniffing cat butt. Ahem.

Play is serious business for our dogs and cats. Take a lesson from them, and find time to play every day. In a stress-filled world, we all benefit from a daily dose of giggles. Play with your pets–and watch them smile from both ends. Just for fun, here’s a kitten fix, below!

So what special games do your cats and dogs play? Seren used to love to play “chase the feather” as it disappeared underneath a pillow. Are doggy (or kitty) games learned from each other? Do tell!

Find out more about kitten play and behavior in the book COMPLETE KITTEN CARE. And stay tuned for more puppy-licious info in the forthcoming book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE!

 I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!