Ask The Expert (7)

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In the case of a serious health problem, please consult your own veterinarian.

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Topics Include:

  • Cat Chews My Hair
  • Milkweed Poisoning
  • No Papers and the cats died of FIP
  • Kitten with a sucking habit
  • What Color Kittens Will I Get?
  • Yellow Vomit
  • Flagyl for a Nursing Mom?
  • Older addition to the cat family
  • Exotic LH or SH?
  • Undescended Testicle
  • Unicorn Head
  • Male Breeding Age
  • Slow Delivery of Kittens
  • Overdose of Baytril
  • Choking

Topic: Cat Chews My Hair
My cat eats my hair and grooms me at night when I sleep, what can I do to stop this? I have tried spraying bitter apple in my hair before bed, but he still eats it. What can I do? Is he lacking in some nutrition? Heidi

Answer: Your cats chewing on your hair probably has little to do with a nutritional requirment. It may be an attraction to the scent of the shampoo or other hair products you use. Or it may be he is demonstrating mis-placed stud cat behavior. Or it may simply be a bad habit. You could lock him out of your room to avoid the problem. If that isn't an option you like, try blowing in his face (Hard) every time he comes on the bed up and walks up on your pillows. Most cats will get the idea quite quickly that they are allowed on the bed but not on the pillows.
Topic: Milkweed Poisoning
I believe my cat has chewed on a Milkweed leaf. He definately is ill. He is drinking the water I am giving him, that is basically all he will do. He is very lethargic, complete opposite from his normal behavior. If it wasn't for the breathing you would think that he was dead. What should I do to treat this? Donna
Answer: Donna, you need to take you cat to the vet ASAP. It is an emergency situation anytime a cat is so unresponsive as to seem to be dead except for the rise and fall of the sides when breathing. Milkweed is bad for your cat, yet the symptoms you describe seem more serious than what might be expected from eating Milkweed alone.

Topic: No Papers and the cats died of FIP
I have purchased cats from a breeder of ragdoll cats. She is claiming that her litters are TICA registered. Upon my calling TICA I discovered that she has not registered a litter since 1998. We have no way of knowing if these cats are pedigreed or not. These cats have all died from FIP a condition that she claims she never had in her cattery even though all three of us bought cats from her that died from it. Let me know what you think I should do. Wendy

Answer: It is difficult to pursue a person regarding health problems unless you have a signed contract stating there is some sort of guarantee. However you certainly can contact TICA and file a complaint regarding lack of papers. Then take her to small claims court. You may never get papers or your money back but you may get some satisfaction. Regarding all the cats in question dying of FIP, you may want to read the article FIP: Fact and Fiction. There is a lot of misinformation regarding FIP. FIP is NOT inherited. There may however a genetic predisposition to the development of FIP. Thus breeders are encouraged to select breeding stock showing resistance to infections of all kinds - especially fungal and viral infections. Cats with strong genetic resistance to infection will have a decreased risk of developing the mutation that leads to FIP.

Topic: Kitten with a sucking habit
I have a siamese kitten, we got her at 71/2 weeks, since I brought her home, she eats ok, but she has a desire to nurse on my arm, or any exposed skin. This concerns me because I am affraid I could contract something from this action, that apparently seems to give her much comfort. I am continually pushing her away and taking her to her food bowl. Is this an unsafe habit for humans to endure until she gets the idea? any suggestions to wean her from this? Linda

Answer: Oh Linda, I just cringe to hear that this little baby left her mom and littermates at such a young age. No reputable cat breeder would let a kitten go to its new home before the age of 12 weeks. Her nursing behavior is no doubt a response to her being removed from her mother and littermates at too young an age. She is mimicking the nursing behavior that was part of her life when she felt most secure and relaxed. You need to discourage her from the behavior while comforting her in a more appropriate manner such as cuddling, petting and playing. To learn more about when kitten should leave its breeder, read the article titled At What Age Should A Kitten Go To A New Home?

Topic: What Color Kittens Will I Get?
If you breed a shaded silver female to a blue/white male, what color kittens could you get? Edward

Answer: The answer could have some variables depending on whether the shaded silver and the blue/white have tabby behind them, and whether the shaded silver also carries dilute. So I will give all the colour possibilities, including the tabby and dilute possibilities.

Shaded Silver (also with white)
Blue Shaded Silver (also with white)
Black Smoke (also with white)
Blue Smoke (also with white)
Silver Tabby (also with white)
Blue Silver Tabby (also with white)
Brown Tabby (also with white)
Golden Tabby (also with white)

Topic: Yellow Vomit
I have just acquired a Himalayan cat but find it keeps on bringing up thick yellow sick every other day. I have changed his food so many times. Could you give me any advice please.

Answer: Albert, have you had your cat examined by a veterinarian and had some blood tests run? Yellow vomit is usually bile secretions and can be indicative of many conditions.

Topic: Flagyl for a Nursing Mom?
My vet has told me to give Metronidazole (Flagyl) to my cat who still has 4 week old kittens who are nursing on her. Both my cat books say it is not safe. Can you advise me? Deb

Answer: Generally I prefer not to use any drug in a pregnant or nursing queen unless absolutely necessary, such as giving an antibiotic to save the life of the queen. Metronidazole given during pregnancy causes fetal birth defects. Young kittens can suffer neurological problems if overdosed with Metronidazole. While it has not been proven yet that Metronidazole given to a queen is excreted in the her milk, it is possible and not a risk I would want to take.

Topic: Older addition to the cat family
I have 2 cats, a male 5 years old, and a female 2 years old. Both are fixed and they are indoor cats. They get along ok, sometimes the male attacks the female while playing but, he gets rough and sometimes hurts her, why I don't know. My mother has a 11 year old male who is an indoor cat and is declawed. He just recently has been sick so, he is on medication for a thyroid problem. My problem is that my mom is getting old and doesn't want to take care of him anymore. So, she wants me to take him. I want to but, I am very nervous on how my cats will react to him. And how is he going to adjust to a whole new enviroment? He was only used to living alone with just my mother and now he will have to move in with me and my family and my 2 cats who have claws! I really want to take him for her but, I was just wondering what to expect of the whole new change for him. Will he adjust to the move being so old? How will he adjust to my cats? And will they hurt him with their claws since he doesn't
. Heidi

Answer: Even older cats adjust to new homes, although it may take them a bit longer than it would with a young kitten. Introduce him slowly by keeping him in one room at first and allowing him to "visit" with your other cats by smelling each other underneath the door. Then give them supervised visits together. You may even find that vring the third cat personality into your home will change the dynamic between your other two cats and everyone will end up happier :-).

Topic: Exotic LH or SH?
What is the difference between an exotic "shorthair" and an exotic "longhair" cat..Is the longhair the same as a persian? Geri

Answer: The Exotic Shorthair has a short, plush coat while the Exotic Longhair is the same breed but with longhair just like a Persian. In fact, in most cat registries around the world an Exotic Longhair is considered to be a Persian and is registered, shown and bred as a Persian. In CFA, however, this is not so. The Exotic Longhair is a "version" of the shorthair and may not be shown in the Persian classes. If an Exotic Longhair is bred to a Persian, all offspring are considered Exotics.

Topic: Undescended Testicle
I beed T.I.C.A. registered RAGDOLLS. Before my kittens are ready to go, at aroun 12 weeks old, I take them to my Vet for a thorough check-up. He prints out a Veterinary Health Certificate. Twice in the last 3 years, a low grade heart murmur was found and it was noted on the Health Certificate. Recently, my Vet examined a 12 week old Ragdoll male. He was the largest in the litter, and my Vet spent extra time playing and looking at him. The new owners came to pick him up a few days after the check up. Today (two weeks since the kitten left my house), I was notified by the new owners that the kitten has one undescended testicle. Apparently they went on vacation and left the kitten with THEIR Vet. Their Vet has now put the fear into them by talking about possible testicular cancer and hugely expensive surgery to try to "find" the testicle and remove it. Naturally, now they are very alarmed, as they have bonded with the kitten. I sold him with a 3 year health guarantee for genetic defects. My question is, is this common in male kittens? I never had the problem before in ten years of breeding? Are RAGDOLLS males more likely to have undescended testicles (due to their slow and gradual growth rate)? What do I do now? Do I ask my Vet to perform the surgery at nominal charge as he did not spot the problem? This could cost me many hundreds of dollars! The Sire is young (4 years old), and his testicles are FINE! Please answer with any info you can give and perhaps advice on how to diplomatically approach the topic with my Vet. Everyone makes mistakes, but this one could end up costing me a fortune! Thanks. S.

Answer: Don't panic. My suggestion is first to calm down :-).

Young kittens (just like baby boys) can still pull their testicles up and down ... and some testicles are slow to come down. 12 weeks is still young... so wait a while. A tendency to undescended testicles can be hereditary (though not always) but if you are guaranteeing against hereditary defects it does fall under that.

You should not blame your vet as the kitten may have had both testicles down when he examined it. While an undescended testicle in dogs does have an increased incidence of cancer, the same has not been proven for cats. You would want to have it removed however to avoid the sex characteristics of a male developing in the kitten :-)).

Next, speak to your vet and let him know the situation. Then speak to their vet personally and also have your own vet speak to their vet. Communication is important. Their vet may have just presented the info in a way that scared the new owners (Some vets do do that).

Next, speak to the owners and tell them you will pay the difference between the charge for normal neutering and the more complex surgery for removing the undescended testicle (since you guarantee against genetic defects, it is your responsibility)... so tell them to not panic either and go ahead and love their kitten.

I would however ask that the surgery not be performed until the kitten is 6 months old and have it done by your own vet.

The cost of surgery cannot be estimated until the vet actually goes in and sees where the testicle is (if it has not come down by 6 months, which it well may). If it is nearly descended... then it is only as complicated as a spay operation. If they have to go looking for the testicle, then it can be more difficult... and more costly. But it certainly won't cost a fortune.

Topic: Unicorn Head
I have purchased a Persian kitten with "unicorn "head. I am unfamilar with this and concerned. Can you give me some information on this. I would appreciate it very much. Lenore

Answer: The term "unicorn" is used to refer to a cat with a very prominant bump in the center of its forehead, much like a unicorn has although the unicorn's is on a much larger scale :-). While breeders try to produce a Persian cat with as smooth a forehead and doming as possible in order to fulfill the definition of "roundness" in the breed standard, cat heads can have ridges and bumps and grooves that you can feel with your fingers. In recent years, it has become fashionable to place great emphasis on smoothness of the head, but it is important to keep in mind the whole cat when evaluating a single "part" of a cat. If the rest of the cat is outstanding, you may want accept the bump on its head into your breeding program.

Topic: Male Breeding Age
At what age can a male Persian begin breeding? Pat

Answer: The average Persian male begins breeding somewhere between 8 and 16 months of age. Males have been known to sire litters as young as 5 months. Some Persians have not sired until their 2nd or 3rd year of age.

Topic: Slow Delivery of Kittens
I am a Maine Coon breeder. I have a 4 year old Maine Coon that just delivered a litter. The first two were born uneventful around noon. I thought I saw another kitten moving but wasn't sure. She wasn't pushing and didn't seem to have labor pains. Around 3 pm she began pushing occasionally, but not straining and delivered a dead kitten that was quite large. The next day I went into her room and there were 2 more kittens there that were dead. Her first litter since I have had her, she had 1 kitten. Her second she had three. Since she has had small litters I thought she was done after the third kitten was delivered. The kittens were large and appeared normal. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening again. Mary

Answer: One of the things I personally do routinely is take my pregnant girls in for an x-ray at 8 weeks. We can then count heads and I know exactly how many kittens to expect.

At least that way, when you knew your girl still had babies and had stopped labor, you could have considered either oxytocin shots or a c-section.

X-rays are an added expense but they give me great peace of mind - both for knowing when more kittens are coming and also to know when the girl is finished and I can safely go to bed :-))).

Topic: Overdose of Baytril
I accidentally gave my cat 30mg Baytril instead of 15mg today! Now I read that more than 5mg/kg/day can cause damages! What now ?!?! Jutta
Answer: You should contact your vet however, a single overdose is not likely to be a problem. Simply skip your next dose.

Topic: Choking
We had a healthy 8 month old Persian that died suddenly of choking. She walked into the kitchen,
appeared to be getting sick, but could not open her mouth. We both tried to "force" her mouth open with no luck. She did not survive the 2 minute ride to the vet, and her jaw was still locked shut even after death. We are crushed, and would like any info you may have to explain this before getting another Persian. Todd

Answer: I'm so sorry to hear you lost your cat, It must have been devastating. Choking/not opening the jaw is odd and may have been indicative of a seisure. She would need to have been examined by a vet to determine what if anything it might have been. It certainly has nothing to do with her being a Persian, so you are safe to go looking for another kitten to be part of the family.
More Expert Questions & Answers

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