Brominated flame retardants found in cats

This is a short article but important. A recent study found that indoor cats have a high level of brominated flame retardants in their blood as a result of inhaling the dust in homes. Previous studies found that cats who developed Feline Hyperthyroidism had high levels of flame retardants, but now researchers have found it in healthy cats as well.


As the flame retardant materials age the particles that come from them become part of the dust in a home. What is especially important to be aware of is that other pets, humans, and especially small children also breathe in the dust.

The flame retardants make up part of furniture, electronics, and even various fabrics. So what can we do about it? I have found an air cleaner that can help reduce the dust in a home. I personally have used the Fresh Air Surround air purifier for years and find it helps keep my home allergy free. I picked that model because it kills germs as well, an added benefit, and does a great job of killing household odors, including litter box odor.

I strongly urge everyone to consider this air purifier. You can get more information from David Scharikin, at or call him at 570-325-2433. There are a number of models to choose from. And no, I do not make a commission for passing this information along. As a pet owner, dogs, cats and birds, and allergic to many indoor and outdoor irritants, it has made my life much better.


The Five Most Common Diseases for Cats

Cats, like dogs, suffer from inherited diseases. Understanding what these diseases are can help the cat owner work with their veterinarian to insure that their cat lives a long, healthy life. This article will briefly explain the five most common diseases. It is important to note that although many inherited diseases may be more common in certain breeds of cats, all cats can suffer from them.


Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Affected cats can experience heart failure or sudden death at 6 months to 7 years of age. This disease is more common in Main Coon Cats and Ragdoll cats. There is genetic testing for this disease which should be done to all cats of these breeds, including kittens before they are sold.

It also appears in Sphynx, Norwegian forest cats, Persian, Chartreux, Bengal, and Birman cats.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)

Is common in Persian cats as well as in high frequencies in Himalayan and other Persian-derived breeds. All longhaired cats that are suspected of having a Persian background should be suspect. Most affected cats develop kidney failure at an average age of 7 years (range, 4-10 years).

Suspect cats and kittens should have a PKD DNA test to determine if they carry the gene for this disease. There is no cure for kidney failure which results from the disease. Note that the old method, ultrasonography is not reliable and should not be used as a means of testing cats. I owned a Turkish Angora cat that suffered from this disease and died at a young age.

Lymphocytic or Plasmacytic Inflammation Disease

Also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This is more common in Siamese and other Asian breeds. This disease can be controlled with dietary changes, anti-inflammatory or immunoregulatory drugs, minimization of environmental stress, and dental extraction in cats with severe gingivostomatitis.

Diabetes mellitus

This is a common diagnosis in cats and can be controlled with insulin and diet. Although it is common in all cats, it is often seen in Burmese, Siamese, Norwegian forest, Russian blue, and Abyssinian cats and overweight domestic shorthaired cats. Weight control is a good preventative measure for diabetes.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Persian cats seem to be at greater risk for this disease, but it affects all cats. It does not appear to be infectious. Owners must be diligent in treating and preventing this by minimizing environmental stress, maintaining anti-inflammatory or behavior-modifying drugs that decrease likelihood for bladder inflammation, and maintaining dietary control for cats predisposed to crystalluria.

Other common inherited health issues are:

Bladder stones, allergic skin disease, mammary tumors, and lymphoma. Hyperthyroidism is frequently seen as well but it does not seem to be inherited.

In conclusion it is best to have suspected cats tested for the various diseases that they may be susceptible to. This can be done through the Canine and Feline Hereditary Disease (DNA) Testing Laboratories at


Transporting Your Nervous Cat to the Veterinarian

The following article is written by and provided courtesy of:

Dr. Daniel Mudrick; B.Sc, D.V.M, Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, 1659 Lakeshore Road West, Mississauga, ON, L5J 1J4




Transporting Your Nervous Cat to the Vet

As tough as cats can be, a simple car ride to the vet can be very stressful for them. Cats often become nervous or anxious with travel, and then behave in a passive or sometimes aggressive way.

Our goal is to prevent problems for you and your pet. Our simple recommendations will make travel and vet visits much easier for your cat.

Cat Calming Recommendations

Leave your cat carrier out for at least a few days prior to travelling.

Leave the carrier in an easily accessible area of the house where your cat will see it. You should leave the door of the carrier open so your cat may go in and out as she/he pleases. You can place food or treats in the carrier to help build a positive association with it.

Use Feliway 15 minutes prior to putting your cat in the carrier.

15 minutes before you will put your cat in the carrier, you should wipe down the inside with Feliway wipes or Feliway spray. Feliway is a pheromone treatment that helps elicit a calming response in cats.

Learn more at

Don’t put your cat in the front seat of the car.

It’s best not to put your cat carrier in the front seat of the car as it can be dangerous if the passenger airbag is deployed. You can secure the carrier in the back seat using one of the rear passenger seatbelts. Try to keep the carrier level, instead of sloping back.

Calming Supplements and Medications 

Some cats will be anxious despite the above measures. If that’s the case, we may recommend the use of a calming supplement or medication to ease your cat through the trip and vet visit.

If we have discussed with you the use of Zylkene (a calming milk protein based supplement) or Gabapentin (a gentle calming medication) to help your cat cope with the anxiety of going for a car ride, please read the following recommendations:

Hunger is your friend!

It is ideal if your cat is hungry before travel time. Feed your cat a small dinner and breakfast the night and morning before your visit. One hour before you are going to put your cat in the carrier, feed a small amount of her/his favorite food with the medication mixed in. Once you get back home, you can feed the remainder of the meal.

If your cat is not willing to eat, you should reschedule for another day.

If you need, please come in to the clinic and pick up an appetite stimulate that you can use to help ensure your cat will eat (and therefore eat the medication) at the appropriate time prior to your next appointment. The appetite stimulant is in the form of a paste that you can apply to the inside of your cat’s ear – no pilling required!

We use Feliway pheromone diffusers at the hospital and we handle cats very gently to minimize nervous behaviour.

Each cat is an individual and we want to make your cat’s car rides, and life, as comfortable as can be. Cats don’t understand what is happening; they are just afraid, and we want to help alleviate those fears.

Our goal is “Stress-Free Visits”.

For more information, visit CATalyst Council’s Cat Friendly Practice to watch a thorough video on this subject.

Please call us if you have any questions at all about helping to take the stress away from your cat.

Christmas Eve Kitten

December 24, 2015 was a chilly, foggy night. Larry, Tom, Jory and I were driving home from church when we turned the corner a block from our house. Tom was driving and saw a tiny kitten scoot across the road following an older cat.

“Did you see that?” he asked. None of us saw the black kitten. Tom stopped the car and lowered the window. We could hear the pitiful cry of the kitten. We got out of the car and walked around the wooded area where the cries were coming from. There was the kitten in a pile of brush. Nearby was a dead cat. Another older cat (about six months old) stood near, watching but would not approach us.

I gently picked up the kitten whose little body fit in the palm of my hand and held her against my chest. She was trembling from the cold. By the time we reached our home the kitten had stopped shaking. Inside in good light, I could see that she was about 3 weeks old. Her eyes still had that kitten just opened blue-gray color. Fortunately I had some small cans of wet cat food left over from my cat. I put the food in a dish and put it in the box with the kitten. She did not know how to eat or what it was. Gently, I took some of the food and put it on the end of my finger and touched it to the kitten’s mouth. She licked the food off of her face and after two tries, literally dove into the dish of food with her two front feet and face. She ate almost the whole thing.

Later I eye dropper fed her some milk and water which she readily took. Of course Tom and Jory kept asking me if I was going to keep the kitten. I told them I could not because of the dogs. Although my Parson’s Russell Terrier, Riley, was raised with a cat, our new Border Collie puppy Babs, was not. I did not think I could keep the kitten safe from the dogs. I fully expected Babs to want to play with the kitten and could injure or kill her with rough play.

The next day, as hard as it was, we took the kitten to our local humane shelter (Humane Society of Carroll County, Inc. Westminster, MD) which does a great job finding homes for them. They even have programs to socialize their cats. We were lucky that someone was at the shelter to take the kitten for us.

Update: January 8, 2015

I stopped by the shelter to see how the Christmas kitten was doing. Much to my delight, they had a mother cat who is nursing the kitten, along with another little older kitten. Although she was in the quarantine area and I could not see her, I knew that taking her to the shelter was the best thing for her. They confirmed that she was barely three weeks old. She is so cute that I know she will get a forever home.DSCN1504 image3 image8