Thursday, June 25, 2009

Solving Litterbox Aversions and House Soiling

Is your cat not using the litterbox appropriately?

For many people, cats are the perfect pet. Owners enjoy the cat’s sense of independence yet appreciate the cat’s affection as well. But, a common behavioral problem can often break-up this happy relationship. We see these types of issues all of the time at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic.

Housesoiling is one of the leading reasons for owners to relinquish their cats to shelters. Sadly, some owners go as far as to banish the cat from the household or even euthanize their pet.

This undesirable behavior has three main causes:

1. Primary medical diseases that affect urgency
2. Quantity or frequency or urination, urine marking
3. Litter box issues

These behaviors are not mutually exclusive and one cause can lead to the other. As with many pet behaviors, a thorough history and physical examination by a veterinarian are essential.

Litter box rejection has many causes. Although having the right type of litter for your cat is important, aggression from other cat can cause housesoiling. Also the placement of a litter box can impact usage. (i.e. close to a noisy washing machine or near the dog’s kennel).

Cat species ancestral to our domestic cats developed a preference for using desert sand for elimination. This preference has persisted as today our cats prefer a finely granular sand-like material.

Many materials are used as cat litter including: corn, wheat, paper and various clay products. It is important to remember that the best litter is one that cat likes, provides odor control and minimizes dust.

Fragrances added to litters have been used to help mask waste odors. Cats odor preferences are not well established but recent studies suggest that citrus scents are aversive to cats and cats are attracted to fish, cedar and bleach scents.

If you are using a scented litter and your cat is not using the litter box, switch to an unscented litter.

Studieshave shown that cats preferentially use litters with activated charcoal over litters with sodium bicarbonate, implying that the carbon provides superior odor control.

Some people believe that the size of the litter box has an impact on whether or not the cat will use it. Cats tend to prefer a larger box. Most cats seem to prefer a clumping litter with activated carbon. If fragrances are used, consider cedar.

To keep your cat happy in his litter box habits, be sure to scoop the box daily and routinely wash the box to help reduce any residual odors.

For housesoiling spots use enzyme acting stain and odor removers to completely clean up and remove odors.

For additional information on inappropriate house soiling please contact the Scottsdale Cat Clinic at (480)-970-1175 or email us at

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A New Airline Just For Fluffy And Fido

Pets No Longer Second-Class Airline Passengers

Starting this summer, PetAirways will be the first airline to specifically cater to dogs and cats. Unlike other airlines that place pets under passenger seats or in the cargo area, PetAirways upgrades its “pawsengers” to the main cabin of a pet-only plane.

Founded by husband and wife Dan and Alysa Binder, PetAirways offers first-class service to dogs and cats. With a limo escort from the Pet Lounge—which lets owners board their pets up to 72 hours before their flights and is located in selected airports—to the tarmac, pets will travel in style. And plenty of potty breaks prevent accidents along the way.

On the plane, pet attendants guarantee 15-minute checks to ensure each animal is comfortable and secure in its carrier. Off the plane, attendants watch over the pets—regardless of delays—until claimed. All the while, the attendants record every leg of each pet’s journey on the Web site,, to keep owners informed and assured.

What’s most surprising about this service, though, may be the price tag. For as low as $149, pets can jet set between five major cities: New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

PetAirway’s first flight is scheduled from New York to Los Angeles on July 14, 2009. According to the Web site, the founders plan to expand to additional cities and include exotic animals as passengers in upcoming years.

Related Link:
Stressed Dog Chews Through Airline Wiring

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No Question, Microchipping Saves Lives

The Winn Feline Foundation announces that for the second consecutive year the HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service has pledged to donate $1 toward feline heath research for every new cat microchipped and enrolled in HomeAgain from June through August, 2009.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), less than 5 percent of lost cats are reunited with their owners once they're taken into a shelter, largely because there's no way to determine who they belong to.

"No question, microchipping saves lives, ensuring far more lost cats are reunited with their families," says Dr. Susan Little, president of the Winn Feline Foundation. "Most cats don't wear collars, and even for those who do, collars and ID tags may fall off or be removed. Microchipping and enrollment into a national database is the only permanent form of identification."

Last summer, through the tandem promotional efforts of the Winn Feline Foundation and HomeAgain, an astoundingly impressive 51,984 cats were microchipped.

"I'm absolutely convinced many lives were saved as a result of being microchipped, not to mention the cats that benefited from HomeAgain's generous donation to the Winn Feline Foundation," Little says.

"The statistics we are able to derive from the HomeAgain database confirm that cats are significantly underserved with regard to microchipping when compared with dogs," says Gary MacPhee, director and general manager of HomeAgain. "Indoor cats, in particular, are often not microchipped, which is unfortunate because they can get lost. Since most cats are also not well identified with collars and tags, they are at an extraordinarily high risk of not being reunited with their owners once lost. We are extremely pleased to partner with Winn to raise awareness of the importance of permanent identification for all cats while supporting important veterinary research to enhance the health and longevity of our feline family members."

Little and MacPhee agree that there is no better time than right now to visit your veterinarian and request a microchip and enrollment for your cat. Savvy cat owners who have already taken this important step are encouraged to ensure their microchip is registered with a national database like HomeAgain and that contact information is current.

About Winn Feline Foundation
The Winn Feline Foundation is a non-profit organization established 41 years ago to promote the health and welfare of cats through education and research. Veterinarians and cat owners benefit every day from research funded by Winn. For more on cat health, visit

About HomeAgain
HomeAgain is a national pet recovery service, offered by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, which goes beyond microchipping. Once enrolled, a pet's microchip will be registered in the HomeAgain National Pet Recovery Database for its lifetime. In addition, the annual HomeAgain membership includes:

  • Live Pet Recovery Specialists always available at 1-888-HomeAgain
  • Lost Pet Alerts with a Lost Pet Poster sent to veterinary clinics, shelters and PetRescuers
  • 24/7 Emergency Medical Telephone Assistance
  • Medical Insurance for Lost Dogs or Cats, up to $3,000 (less a $50 deductible) offered by PetFirst Healthcare
  • Travel expenses of up to $500 for dogs or cats found more than 500 miles from home
The Scottsdale Cat Clinic offers the HomeAgain microchip and handles the registration on your behalf. Please call us for more information or visit HomeAgain's website at

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stop, Drop and Roll Over? Fire Safety for Pets

Stop, Drop and Roll Over? Fire Safety for Pets.

Each year in the United States, thousands of people lose their lives to fire. Tens of thousands are injured and the financial costs can reach into the billions of dollars. Almost forgotten in these tragedies are the hundreds of thousands of family pets who suffer death or injury as well.

Fire is a very scary thing! We use controlled fires to heat our water, cook our meals and power our cities, but for most people, fire is a wild, ravaging beast. And, despite educational programs that start in pre-school, every year more than three thousand people die in house fires. Sadly, those who survive a house fire often lose cherished four-legged family members to the smoke and flames.

According to the US Fire Administration’s website (, more than 1.7 million uncontrolled fires occur annually in the US. The Fire Administration does not keep tally, but other groups have estimated that more than 500,000 pets are killed by house fires each year. Why are we so good at saving human lives, but our pets seem to perish?

One potential answer is the presence of smoke alarms in our homes. For more than 30 years, laws have required the presence of these life-saving devices in any home or apartment. In fact, the Public/Private Fire Safety Council has called for an elimination of residential fire deaths by the year 2020 and smoke alarms figure prominently in their plan. But the high pitched alarm that saves so many human lives is not helpful for saving our pets.

We all realize that it’s time to evacuate when the alarm sounds, but our pets don’t know that. Worse yet, the unknown sound could scare a pet into hiding, increasing our own risk for harm as we search for the missing kitty or pup.

And, the sad fact is that many pets will die in house fires because they are unable to get out of the home. This often happens when the family is away. Rescue personnel are frequently unaware of pets needing help.

The heroic efforts of firefighters may save some pets from the flames, but damage from smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation can overwhelm many. Life-saving equipment, such as oxygen masks, is usually designed for people meaning some animals may die enroute to the veterinarian.

Fortunately, many diverse groups are working to improve the survival chances of pets caught in fires. Many concerned groups, from alarm monitoring companies, like ADT Security, to local veterinarians and humane organizations are looking to save the half a million pets lost each year.

As with many tragedies, preventing the occurrence is the best first step. Pet owners are urged to “pet proof” their home and look for potential fire hazards. Always extinguish open flames before leaving your home and consider keeping younger puppies and kittens confined to prevent them from accidently starting a fire.

Firefighters are trained to look for window alert signs and make attempts to save pets. The Scottsdale Cat Clinic highly recommends having one of these pet decals in your window. The “window clings” are often available from the American Kennel Club or visit ADT’s website ( to obtain a free one. Beyond using the signs, you should always update them as new pets arrive in your family!

If you return home to a burning building, you should not attempt to enter, trying to save your pets! This is difficult but you need to let the professionals do their job and rescue your animals.

As mentioned, working smoke alarms are helpful to the humans, but if you aren’t there to hear the alarm, your pets could be trapped inside. According to Bob Tucker, PR Director of ADT Security, pet owners should consider monitored smoke detection services as an extra precaution. By alerting the fire department more quickly, these services increase the chances that your pets will get out safely.

Finally, due to the efforts of local veterinarians and animal volunteers, many rescue services across the nation now have access to “animal-appropriate” oxygen masks. These devices help deliver life-saving oxygen more effectively and will increase the chance of your pet’s survival. Other veterinarians teach courses on effective animal CPR techniques to first responders.

Saving pets from the horrors of fire will be easier thanks to dedicated fire fighting professionals, alarm companies, veterinarians and humane organizations all working together.

By: Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Catwellness News from the Scottsdale Cat Clinic

Each year, more cats and kittens are being relinquished to shelters. Because every cat deserves a loving home, the American Humane Association has created Adopt-A-Cat Month as part of their mission to promote cat and kitten adoption.

Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Cat

1. Cats will keep you entertained with their playful antics.
2. Cats are very affectionate and love to cuddle with you.
3. Having a cat can reduce your blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
4. Cats are very clean -- they bathe themselves!
5. Cats are independent and can be left alone while you are at work.
6. Cats do not need to be housebroken - using the litter box comes naturally to them.
7. Cats do not need a lot of space. They are perfect pets for apartments and smaller homes.
8. Taking care of a cat can help teach a child responsibility and humane values.
9. Cats get plenty of exercise living indoors. Just 15 minutes of playtime each day will satisfy a cat.
10. Approximately 4 million homeless cats end up in animal shelters every year in the United States. By adopting, you'll be saving a life.

Summer is here! Summer is the most popular time for vacationing and travel. Traveling can be hard on cats and owners alike. If you plan to travel with your cat this summer, click here to read the ASPCA's Top 10
Tips for Safe Air Travel with Your Pet.

Looking to spice up your fitness routine? A recent article suggests that pets can be great fitness partners. Bond with your cat while battling the bulge! It will not only improve your health and well-being, but your cat will see benefits too. To get more information on exercising with your cat, click here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Elvis, The Cat, Is Reunited With His Family After 3 Months

Today, what we thought would be a routine appointment at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic turned into nothing of the sort. A young boy and his father brought in their little kitty. They had named her Tabby. The name was fitting since she was an adorable young brown and black striped tabby cat.

Tracy, the veterinary technician, checked the three in for their appointment, and after asking a few routine questions, learned Tabby had been a stray they had recently invited into their home. Tabby had been living with them for a few weeks already. She scanned Tabby using our microchip scanner and sure enough, Tabby had been chipped. Microchips are injected, similar to a vaccine, under the skin and are about the size of a grain of rice.

After making just a few phone calls, we reached Tabby's original owners. They were shocked at the news they were receiving since Tabby had been missing for over 3 months AND was from Cave Creek. She was found in South Scottsdale!

Tabby's name turned out to be Elvis and she was a boy. Although Elvis was an indoor cat, his parents had been getting ready to leave on a trip and they think he snuck out the door. They searched for hours and even came home from their trip early to look. After so much time had passed and living in the desert, the odds were low and they'd given up hope.

Today was a joyous time and thanks to the microchip Elvis received years earlier, he was reunited with his loving family.

~ Studies say one in three pets will become lost during it's lifetime. According to the American Humane Association, only about 2% of lost cats ever find their way home again. Almost four million pets are euthanized every year because their owners cannot be found in time.

We urge you to microchip your pet today. Please contact us with any questions at (480) 970-1175 or email us at . We currently implant the HomeAgain microchip and can help you keep your pet safe.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Donate Food in the Month of June

Just a small food donation can help save a life....

With the current state of the economy, animal abandonment at an all time high, and kitten season upon us, we'd like to encourage you to bring any food donations you can spare to the Scottsdale Cat Clinic.

*Kitten formula, milk replacement and kitten food would be greatly appreciated, but any food donation will help.

We will donate all of the food to Lost Our Home Pet Foundation, a non-profit group of real estate professionals who rescue pets left behind due to foreclosures or other financial hardship. These wonderful people saw the rising demand for someone to step forward and take care of these animals left behind.

On top of rescuing abandoned animals, Lost Our Home Pet Foundation also provides the Pet Pantry to help families provide food for their pets when they can barely afford food for themselves.

Cyndy Bord is in charge of the pet pantry. The food bank helps keep pets with their families and out of over-crowded animal shelters.

"Whatever they might need to help keep their pet -- that's why we started the food bank," said Bord. "For a lot of people, pets are their family and they want to be able to keep them. But, when they can't afford to buy food for themselves what's the first thing they're going do? They're going to let their pets go or abandon them," added Bord.

Currently, Bord said the pet food bank helps between six and ten families a month and she expects the numbers to go up this summer. Hard times have hit some of us harder than others. If you are one of the more fortunate during this time, please consider helping out the pets of those who are struggling.