Ask The Expert (9)

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

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  • Vaccinating a Pregnant Female
  • Breathing Problems
  • Fleas
  • Hair Loss on Ears
  • Cream Tabbies?
  • Registration Papers
  • Nursing Kitten is Vomiting
  • Silent Meow
  • Shy Stray
  • Messy drinker

Topic: Vaccinating a Pregnant Female
Can I vaccinate my queen if she is pregnant? Lois

Answer: There are risks involved in vaccinating a female when she is pregnant, depending on the circumstances. You may wish to wait until she delivers before vaccinating.

If your queen is at risk, such as when your other cats are experiencing an URI outbreak, you can vaccinate relatively safely using a three way killed vaccine in the last trimester. Never vaccinate a queen with modified live Panleukemia as the risk of her actually developing the disease is high.

Topic: Breathing Problems
I have noticed that when my cat is laying around he seems to be breathing in quick shallow breaths even when he is relaxed (not your normal long easy breaths). When he starts playing with my other cat he sometimes stops after a few minutes and is breathing heavily and
sometimes pant. He eats fine and is for the most part your *normal* young, active cat. I am worried that this shallow breathing and could be due to a heart condition . What do you think?

Answer: Your cat is displaying a condition known as exercise intolerance - difficulty breathing and tiring easily when active. It can be indicative of a heart problem or lung disease. Your vet needs to examine him, and take X-rays and do an ultrasound. Many primary diseases of the lung cause secondary heart disease, because the heart has to push harder to get blood through diseased lungs.

Topic: Fleas
Help! I just discovered fleas on my mother cat and she is nursing a litter of 6 kittens. What do I do? Linda

Answer: Fleas can seriously debilitate and weaken small kittens, so you need to treat all the animals in your household immediately. Bath the mother and kittens in Dawn dish washing fluid to drown and remove as many of the fleas as possible. While they cat and kittens are drying, remove all bedding and spray the area with a flea killer safe for use around animals. Air the area thoroughly before returning the mom and kittens. Treat the mom and all the other animals in your home with Frontline or Advantage. Do not treat the kittens. They will usually get enough protection from the chemical on their mom. In heavy flea infestations you may want to put a single drop of Frontline on each kitten, but it is not generally recommended for use on such young kittens.

Topic: Hair Loss on Ears
My 6 year old Siamese kitty picked up ringworm somehow after being a healthy indoor-only cat all these years. She was treated and cured but her ears lost all their hair and is not growing back well. Is there anything I can do to stimulate the hair to grow back faster? Brittany

Answer: I am afraid this is a case of patience :-).

Topic: Cream Tabbies?
I have kittens from my Persian girl Darcy. And the father is a blue lynx point, Buddy.
She has gave me the cutest little cream tabby male...with the bullseye on the side. I thought someone told me that cream tabbies won't throw tabby kittens...I don't know much about the agouti gene thing..I guess I better start learning! :-) But is this true..or am I just all messed up with my info? Thanks! Kim

Answer: Well, the answer is.... you won't really know until you boy starts siring whether he's a "real tabby", or not. With a lynx point parent, it's certainly possibly that he is - but because of the red factor, there's just no way to know for sure. Red and cream cats often show a tabby pattern even when there is no tabby gene there - and the intensity/definition of the pattern really aren't a clue. For instance, I have a friend with the most drop-dead gorgeous red tabby boy (GC, GP, NW Tanglebox's Sunnyside Up) He has a pattern and color that any shorthair would be proud of! Yet, he's out of a seal point father, and a tortoiseshell mother, so there's no chance at all that he's a "real tabby".

Also, if you happen to be a member of, there was a series about color inheritance posted there awhile back - the article that talks about the agouti gene is Simple Color Inheritance Part 3. Also check out Tabby Pattern Genetics.

Hope that helps... and doesn't just confuse the issue more... ;-)

Topic: Registration Papers
I had a question. I bought a Persian kitten from a breeder, and although the kitten is great, the breeder has given us some problems. The cat is suppose to be CFA, and have papers, but we haven't received any papers from her yet, and when we called her regarding the papers, she said it would take a long time. Could you let us know what the normal process is for getting the papers. Eve

Answer: How long it takes to receive papers from CFA can vary. If both parents were registered with CFA and the breeder sent the litter registration in immediately and had the individual kitten's papers ready to fill out when it was bought, it might take 2-4 weeks.

If however one of the parents was not yet registered (and some breeders do not register a cat until after it has had a litter), then registering the parent has to happen before the kittens can be registered.

CFA also charges less if you register all the kittens at the same time as you register the litter - so some breeders don't register the kittens until all the babies from a litter has been sold.

The best thing to try to do is reestablish communication with the breeder, ask if the litter has been registered yet, and just try make it a win-win proposition.

Topic: Nursing Kitten is Vomiting
My 5 week old kitten is vomiting what looks like curdled milk or cottage cheese. Is this a serious problem? Dee

Answer: When a kitten nurses, the acid in their tummy will make the milk look curdled. So if they do upchuck for any reason, the vomit will always appear like lumpy, curdled milk. Like babies, kittens do occasionally throw up easily, and especially as they progress to weaning and their stomachs are adjusting to a new food. As long as the kitten is not vomiting constantly, seems lively and in good weight, don't be overly concerned.

Topic: Silent Meow
Our 14 week old Himalayan female seldom makes a sound. When she does it is a barely audible squeak. Strangely, she forms a "meow" with her mouth but no sound comes forth. What's going on with this little one?

Answer: If your kitten has NEVER meowed, it may not have yet learned how to do it. If it did meow at one time and now doesn't, it may have a problem with its throat and you may want to have it examined by your vet. If it recently has an URI, that can cause a kitten to be "hoarse".

Topic: Shy Stray
I have recently taken in a stray cat/kitten approx.. 6 mo. old. It doesn't appear to be hurt, or have any problems. He/she is eating just fine, and using the litter pan, which is great. I cannot figure out however how to get her/him to come to me, or let me pet her/him. Before I take him/her to the vet to get his/her shots, I would like to be able to have her/him trust me. Can you give me some tips? Since it was stray, I don't know if it will bite, or scratch so, I haven't attempted to go too close. Thanks, Sue

Answer: Congratulations for being this kitten's Guardian Angel. Feral cats are often shy of human contact. Try confining it in a bedroom then sitting on the floor with a favorite food and seeing if you can coax it to come to you in its own time. Never try to chase or grab at a shy kitty - that will just make things worse. Earning this kitten's trust may take a lot of time and patience, but it can be done (at least to some extent). Take your time and try to make it rewarding for the kitten to approach you.

Topic: Messy drinker
My cat has an extremely long coat. Every time she drinks water it gets all over her ruff and stomach area matting the hair and making it look greasy and awful. Is there a way to prevent this? She will be showing soon and look great right after her bath but then quickly spoiled when she goes to drink.

Answer: Nothing can make a faster mess of a Persian's bib than drinking from a bowl of water. The hair on the chest falls in the water and soaks it up like a sponge!

Your Persian needs to be trained to drink from a water bottle. Once she learns how to lick from the spout of a water bottle, she will no longer dip her ruff and chest hair into a bowl of water. To get her started on a water bottle read our article titled Tuna Water.

More Expert Questions & Answers

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