8 Things To Know About Cats Before You Adopt

Becoming a cat confidant?! Dive into the facts about cats before you make the final adoption step.

  If you’re on a journey to meet your new feline friend through a cat adoption, a local shelter or even a local vet act as a great resource. Cat adoption is so rewarding as there are many kittens and adult cats who need a forever home, but it’s important, before becoming a pet parent, to think through your decision and ensure you can care for your cat through its whole life.    Cats of Carroll Gardens have it made with a vet clinic such as The Vet Set! Learn more about cats and what it takes to care for them in today’s post!

But first, are you ready to adopt a cat?

  We know — cats are so cute and cuddly, all while being independent and having a personality like no other! And while it’s easy to be in a pet store or around your friend’s cat and want to decide right then and there that you’re getting a cat, it’s important to take pause because really this is a life-changing decision.    We’ve explored in other posts what it really takes to become a pet parent but let’s consider a few things before you take the leap!  

What are your cat adoption intentions?

  If you’re wanting to get a cat just so you can plaster their picture all over Instagram and cross your fingers that they’ll make you insta-famous, maybe you should rethink pet ownership.   

Where are you at in life?

  While we never want to say that a pet isn’t a good idea, caring for one and liking the idea of one are two totally different things — especially in the stage of life you’re in.   Rescue kitties and all adopted pets need stability, so if you’re in a band or live a lifestyle where you aren’t home a lot, it may not be an ideal time. Cats are more independent and like doing things on their own schedule, but they still crave connections with their human!    

Where are you living?

  It’s important to consider where you’re living and what kind of living situation you’re in because this can greatly affect the quality of life for your cat.    Are you living alone in a city like Brooklyn? Great! Cats are the perfect brownstone pet! It is important that you’re diligent about keeping them as indoor cats because the city isn’t a great place for cats to get loose!  

Do you have roommates? 

  This is one factor that a lot of people look past when it comes to adopting a cat. While sharing space with working professionals or another person you know and trust is one thing, but if you’re in a college house with six other people, this puts your cat at risk — not everyone will love and care for your cat like you. Plus, there are the horror stories of people feeding cats beer or drugs or playing party music late into the night. This is just not safe for cats.     If you’re in a partnership, you also have to consider if you would be able to manage a cat should you break up — it’s maybe something you think would never happen but it happens and you need to have a plan for all your pets.    At the end of the day, it’s not talking anyone out of cat adoption, it’s creating an awareness and a reality that rescue cats, and all cats in general, need a safe, nurturing place to live and its a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Now that we’ve gotten the wheels turning a bit, let’s look more closely at some things to know about cats before adopting!  

Rescues and animal shelters are overflowing with cats.

  We all are impartial to our favorite breeds of cat’s — hello Maine Coons — but it’s important to know that shelters are overflowing with cats who need loving, forever homes. So, finding a cat that you vibe with won’t be hard. Go down to your local pet shelter today and play with some kitties!  

Cats are known for their nine lives!

  The average life expectancy of a cat is 13 to 17 but cats have been known to live well into their 20s, so it’s important to understand this before adopting a cat. Will you be able to care for your cat and everything that comes with it — vet visits, potential illness, food, etc — throughout their whole life?    If this seems like forever, perhaps rescue a senior kitty or wait until you’re more ready.  

Cat overpopulation is a reality. 

  Because there are feral cats and cats who don’t have a home and are living on the streets for a variety of reasons, the cat population gets out of hand because a majority of them aren’t spayed or neutered. And, since cats can breed up to three times a year, it is vital to get them fixed. So, do the responsible thing and get your feline spayed or neutered.   

All indoor cats need a litter box. 

  Yes, this seems like common sense and it’s not only important to provide your cat with a litter box, but that you keep it in an accessible area in a place where your cat can always find it.   With that in mind, remember: Cats will not use a dirty litter box so as a part of being a cat parent you’ll need to tend to the litter box daily to keep it tidy and disinfect it weekly.   

Cats like to keep a consistent schedule.

  If you’ve ever had cats before, you know that if you sleep one minute past their morning feeding time, they’ll be pacing, pawing, and crying out for you until you decide to get up and feed them — cats know!    Try and keep things as consistent as possible to provide structure to their day and stability to their lives.     

Be wary of the plants you keep. 

  Many times, plant people are also cat people so it’s important to know that there are a lot of plants that are harmful and toxic to your cat. Some common plants include:  
  • Aloe  
  • Holly
  • Asparagus fern
  • Calla lily
  • Corn plant
  • Jade
  • Devil’s ivy
  • Areca palm
  • Money plant
  • Spider plant
  Before adopting a cat, check your plants and remove any that are toxic.   

Cats love to evoke their prey instincts!

  Cats love, more than anything, to stalk and pounce — whether it’s with another cat or even an inatimate object! It’s important that this kind of play is encouraged and fostered with toys and cat stands that let them play! Cats cost money.   Again, this is so elementary but all the little things add up! The ASPCA estimates that the average yearly costs for caring for a cat are $600 — this doesn’t include any emergency vet services. So, the best course of action — invest in pet insurance or save money in case your cat requires emergency vet care.  Adopting a cat is great for the cat and for you, however, it’s important to be ready to care for a cat for the rest of its life. Sometimes we can get a little ahead of ourselves and not see the full scope of adopting a pet.    Once you’ve taken a little time and have learned more about cats, our Carroll Gardens vet clinic is here for you every step of the way!  

To learn more about our cat vet services, connect with us today!

             

Cat Health Tips: Applying Eye Drops

Learn the best tips to apply eye drops to your cat like a champ!

  It’s never fun when our cats get sick, especially when it’s an eye infection. Not only is it in a delicate, sensitive area, but a place that your cat does not want you near! The struggle is real when it comes to giving your cat eye drops, but with some patience and tried and true tips from vets, it can be done!   If your cat is being treated for an eye infection, the Vet Set has solutions for administering eye drops for you! Follow along in today’s post for all the best tips!

The Eye Drop Dilemma

  If your cat has an eye infection, giving them the proper amount of an eye drop medication is imperative, but what happens when they get fussy and don’t allow you to put the drops in? You want to help your cat quickly recover, but the task is daunting.    Fear not, we can help! Let’s explore best practices and tips for applying cat eye medication.   

Eye Drop Best Practices And Considerations

 
  • Always wash your hands before applying the drops.
  • If your cat is skittish, help them relax by giving them cat CBD or hanging out with them a little beforehand.
  • Gently clean your cat's eye beforehand, a warm compress is perfect.
  • Keep the applicator clean and avoid touching it directly to the eye.
  • If the applicator tip does touch the infected eye, ensure you disinfect it immediately after. 
  • If your cat’s infection is painful and they don’t want you touching it, call in for back up and have someone help restrain your cat. 
 

Tried And True Tips For Applying Eye Drops To Cats

  Now that we have the best practices down, let’s move into tips that will help you help your cat!  

Help your cat get comfortable.

  We mentioned giving your cat CBD or cuddling a little extra with them beforehand to help make them more comfortable. Even the warm compress and cleaning their eyes can be relaxing. So, whatever it is that helps them calm down and get comfortable, do that.   If you have to administer the eye medication solo, you may want to place your cat in your lap and wrap them in a towel or blanket keeping their head exposed. This way they are contained and can’t move around and potentially injure themselves or you.  Once you have them in a secure position you can begin administering the drops.   

Applying The Drops

 
  • The best way we’ve found to apply eye drops is by holding the bottle in between your thumb and index finger in your dominant hand with the tip pointed downwards and in the direction of your cat’s eye. 
  • Some people find that holding your hand on top of your cat's head helps stabilize both your arm and your cat. 
  • You can then use the free fingers in that hand to pull open your cat’s eyelid and hold their jaw to keep them from moving. 
  • The lower eyelid creates a pouch to hold the eye drops, so it is the perfect place to place the medication. 
  • Hold the bottle close to your cat’s eye, but again, do not touch the applicator to the eye.
  • Place the drops into the center of the eye and then release your cat’s head. Your cat should be able to blink, spreading the eye medication. 
  • Your cat will likely try to rub and paw the medication and this is normal. Continue with the other eye, with the same process if prescribed. 
  An eye infection is never fun — for you or the cat — but in order for them to recover, the proper administration of eye drops is necessary. And while they may be uncooperative or you may not want to hurt them, they need the drops! By taking the proper steps and following our tips, you’ll be an eye drop pro by the end! Remember to keep calm yourself and help your cat relax beforehand, and then work through our steps for the best eye drop application.   

Got questions concerning giving your cat eye drops? Call our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today! 

 

Stop Cat Scratching With These Helpful 4 Tips! (Part 2)

Destructive scratching from your cat is frustrating and can destroy many of your belongings. Learn how to better prevent it today!

  In part one, we discovered why cats scratch and began to look at ways to better combat destructive cat scratching.   At The Vet Set, we’re here to tell you that cat scratching is totally normal, and when you work with your space and create a scratching area that your cat loves, it can help prevent damage. Join us to learn more about what you can do. 

Stop the Damage From Destructive Cat Scratching!

  In our last post, we mentioned how cats love textures, so while they’re not trying to damage anything, the texture of your couch is so appealing. You can combat the damage by setting up a space just for them! Get more ideas below.      Attract your cat - It’s important to make their scratching post both fun and relaxing, and not a place they’re forced into. To make it more appealing, leave catnip toys and toys they can bat at, at in the area. This way, they’re more likely to play, take a cat nap, and scratch — it’s an all-in-one play place for your cat!     Keep your cat busy - Like any pet, when your cat gets bored, they’re more likely to be destructive through scratching. So, keep your cat happy and entertained where they can play and express their innate behaviors. Not only are scratching areas crucial, but providing them with stimulation whether that be from chasing a toy mouse for predatory play or letting them patrol the yard and engage in a hunt.    Trim their nails - The reason for scratching has a lot to do with keeping their nails trimmed, so when they don't have the opportunity to do it regularly, their nails may get long. You can help address the issue by trimming their nails or taking them to the groomers to clip them.    Now that we know the importance of the perfect cat scratching environment, there are ways to help keep them off the couch!   To get them off the couch and onto the scratch post, consider the following: Apply a citrus scent around the area - Cats have a natural aversion to citrus scents so keep them at bay by diffusing citrus near your couch or even placing cotton balls with essential oils in the corners of the cushions.    Place a barrier on your couch - Texture is huge for cats, especially when it comes to scratching. So, if they love your leather or fabric couch, tuck a sheet over the couch or place aluminum foil in the places they are known for scratching.      Block them with furniture - If your cat routinely scratches the side or back of your couch, try using furniture to detract them. Side tables are perfect to place at the side and a long chest or storage piece of furniture works great at the back. The best case scenario? Finding a place where you can move your couch to the wall so less of it is exposed and tempting to your cat.    

Why Declawing is Not An Option

  For some, declawing your cat seems like the perfect solution, but for whom? Yes, it keeps them from destroying your belongings, but at what cost? Cats claws don’t grow from skin — they’re actually an extension of their bones in their paws.    Declawing is a major surgery that is an amputation of this bone where nerves, tendons, and ligaments are severed. Not only does this put your cat at risk for post-surgery complications, but it puts a huge damper on their physical and emotional health.    They no longer can defend themselves nor climb, in addition to relieving stress and anxiety. Declawing your cat disrupts every part of their life and how they interact in the world.    Claws and scratching are an integral part in which cats are able to interact with their world, and though it can be frustrating for us, it’s what comes naturally to them.    If you have a cat who repeatedly scratches your furniture, the best course of action is to create an area or multiple areas that allow them to stretch and scratch in freedom.    

Keep your cat happy and healthy and learn more about the vet services we offer! Call today. 

            

Stop Cat Scratching With These Helpful 4 Tips! (Part One)

Ruined furniture and household belongings? It’s time to stop destructive cat scratching in its tracks!

  We love our feline friends, but what we don’t love is the destruction they do with their claws! How many times have you come into the living room and found a long, running claw mark down the side of your couch slashing the fabric, or small puncture holes in the cushions on your leather couch? This is real damage and it’s never cheap to replace.    At The Vet Set, we understand how destructive cat scratching can put a damper on your relationship with your cat and your wallet! Get the best tips to prevent cat scratching to keep your belongings safe and protected!

First things first, why do cats scratch things in the first place?

  Although cats can be fussy and have an attitude towards you at times, they don’t scratch to spite you! Scratching is an innate behavior that you’ll see in both wild and domestic cats and they do it for both mental and physical reasons.       Stretching - We all need a good stretch from time to time, right?! So do cats! It just happens that when they get a long, cathartic stretch in, they have razor-like claws at the end that can rip and shred whatever they’re on.    Maintaining their predatory instincts - Cats are notorious for two things when they’re outdoors — hunting prey and climbing, and, both rely on cat’s claws. They need to scratch to capture and kill prey and they need sharp claws that can climb trees to catch the prey!    Protection - If your cat roams the streets, they need to have the protection to defend themselves from any pesky dogs that try and attack or other felines trying to pick a fight.    Marking their territory - When cat’s scratch, their paws secrete a scent that marks their territory. This is a valuable piece of information in the cat world because it communicates to other cat’s and helps maintain a social hierarchy.    Nail care - It’s important that cats keep their nails trim and healthy so they can hunt, climb, and do other behaviors with ease, and this involves scratching to for nail care and maintenance.     Emotional relief - Cats need to release stress too! Not only does scratching help cats release any stress and frustration, but they also do it when they’re excited. Cats need to scratch to help maintain a healthy emotional balance!   Movement - Scratching is a natural movement, almost like yoga, where they can root their claws and stretch their muscles and also extend and retract their nails, giving their paws good exercise!    Now that we have a better understanding of why cat’s scatch, let’s explore how we can prevent them from ruining our belongings!   It’s not about preventing the itch to scratch, it’s more about finding better outlets that are less destructive to your belongings!  

Preventing The Destructive Scratching

  Scratching is innate and it’s something that you can’t prevent or stop in a cat, you can, however, offer them a better solution than your couch!   Scratching is personal for your cat! - Every cat has their own personal preferences on the type of texture and material they like to scratch, so it’s vital that you figure this out. Start by investing or making a couple of different scratching areas that vary in size, material, and style. Common scratching posts are made from rope, carpet, cardboard, and wood and are available in both horizontal and verticle surfaces.    Create the perfect scratching space - Cats like to be social and in the same room as us, so create a scratching area where you are. Even better, put a couple of scratching posts around the house to keep the area and variety fresh for your cat! It’s also important when you’re making a scratching area to ensure that the posts are strong and sturdy. Your cat will be scratching and stretching with all the bodyweight and a wobbly surface can be dangerous and it can easily deter your cat.    What we’ve learned so far is that cat scratching is natural and it’s not something that can be stopped. You can, however, remove the temptation by creating a scratching space just for them!   There are a lot more things to cover on destructive cat scratching, so look for part two soon!  

To schedule an appointment for your cat, reach out to our Carroll Gardens cat clinic today! 

   

8 Health Issues You Can Get From Your Furry Friend! (Part One)

It’s important that everyone stays happy and healthy in your home — learn all about the diseases our pets can give us.

  When your pet is under the weather — they’ve stopped eating, they’re sleeping a lot, or perhaps you can just sense an illness — your heart aches and you would do anything to help them feel better.   And then you notice, you’re not feeling so great either. Is your empathy on overdrive or did your pet just give you something?   At The Vet Set, we’re your local vet in Carroll Gardens and we encourage you to give us a call when your pet is under the weather, this way we can identify and diagnose what they have, preventing them from getting sicker or spreading what they have to you. Learn about common diseases your pet can spread in today’s post.

8 Diseases Your Pet Can Spread To Humans

  No, your empathy is not on overdrive, and yes, your pet just got you sick! Below are the most common diseases you can get from your pet — learn them, know them, and prevent them from spreading!  

Pet-to-Human Diseases

  When a pet spreads their illness and you contract it, this is what’s known as a zoonotic disease. This type of disease can be spread through direct or indirect contact with animals either through pests such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes, while others can be foodborne.   Older, younger, and pregnant people or those with compromised immune systems are the most at risk for zoonotic diseases. The best prevention is through keeping a clean home, washing your hands after pet snuggles, and avoiding any pet bites or scratches, in addition to always washing your raw fruits and veggies and thoroughly cooking your food.  

Giardia

  Giardia is a cluster of parasites that affect many animals such as dogs and cats, and also rodents and humans. These organisms can survive in the harshest of conditions. Giardia is ingested and causes severe GI issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.   Because many animals are exposed to the outdoors and the host of germs and bacteria present in the soil and water, they can easily lick or drink in the parasite.   While it’s more uncommon for humans to get giardia, it can be contracted from your cat walking in contaminated soil and then walking on your kitchen counters or even just petting an infected animal and not washing your hands afterward.   If you notice abnormal symptoms in your pet, it’s vital to take them to the vet and quarantine them at home. Always wash your hands after handling an infected animal and bathe them daily to reduce the risk of spreading the parasite.  

Salmonella

  When you think of salmonella, you think of food poisoning from eating undercooked meat, not from cuddling your cat. Similar to giardia, salmonella can be contracted through rolling around in feces or soil outside and then you petting them and not washing your hands. Again, washing your hands is critical in preventing the spread of germs and bacteria.     

Cat Scratch

  You’ve likely heard of cat scratch fever and this is a real disease caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae. Cats contract cat scratch disease from blood-sucking parasites such as fleas, ticks, biting flies, and lice. And the kicker, this disease doesn’t typically affect the host!   Humans get cat scratch fever from a cat bite or scratch that breaks the skin, it is also contracted when a cat licks an open wound on a human, so keep those wounds protected and covered!   The symptoms of cat scratch disease are swelling at the affected site, fever, headache, and fatigue. If it appears you have an infected area from a bite or scratch, seek medical attention.   We’ve covered three of the eight zoonotic diseases that can impact both the health of your pet and you! It’s always important to know the signs and symptoms so you can better prevent and recognize these health issues.   There are five more diseases we have yet to explore! Stay tuned for part two as we examine Lyme disease, ringworm, and more!  

Concerned that your pet may have a zoonotic disease? Bring them in right away and schedule your appointment in our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!

 

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