CatsWalk Newsletter – April 2009

by Dr. Jean Hofve & Jackson Galaxy
Library of Congress ISSN #1550-0764
Volume 7, No. 2  — April 2009

In this issue:

1. News Bites
2. Urinary Tract Disorders in Cats
3. Take Action for Cats

Dr. Jean and Jackson will be in Boulder, CO, on Monday, April 13, 2009, from 5-7 p.m., at the Only Natural Pet Store at 2100-28th St. (28th & Pearl St., in the northwest corner of the Whole Foods Market shopping center.) We’ll be focusing on cat and dog behavior problems, and how to use positive training (including essences, treats, nutrition, and toys) to improve your pet’s behavior and well-being, but other questions are welcome (time permitting). There is no charge for this event. We hope to see many of our Colorado friends there!

1. News Bites:

Bad Vitamins…A recent Consumer Lab report found only half the label guarantee of two nutrients in a popular holistic pet vitamin product, and lead contamination in a pet vitamin product commonly sold by veterinarians. is well worth joining, and as a member you can read the full report (including brand names and specific problems) on multivitamins and many other products.

But No Bad Germs?
Research done by a veterinarian at Kansas State University found that dog owners who sleep with their pets or allow face-licking are no more likely to share the same strains of bacteria with their pets than are other dog owners. The finding that these human-animal bonding behaviors aren’t more likely to spread germs is good news for the many physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership. We believe the same is true for cats.

Pet Supplement Regulations “In Disarray.” A new National Research Council report, commissioned by the Center for Veterinary Medicine of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), concluded that current regulations addressing animal dietary supplements are in “disarray.” The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 does not apply to supplements for animals.  As such, animal dietary supplements are typically regulated as “food,” placing them within the guidelines of the Association of American Feed Cnascseal_4c_smontrol Officials and FDA.

The report stresses that clear and precise regulations need to be established so “only safe  animal dietary supplements are allowed on the market.” Fortunately, many of the NRC’s “new” recommendations were already put into place in 2001 by the National Animal Supplement Council, a non-profit organization, promotes voluntary compliance with recommendations to protect companion animals and horses. When buying supplements for your pets, look for the NASC seal, which indicates conformance with strict quality and safety guidelines.

Save the Whales–Keep Cats Indoors! As if we didn’t have enough reasons to keep cats indoors, recent findings of the feline parasite Toxoplasma in the world’s oceans gives us one more. Outdoor deposits of cyst-containing cat feces have apparently gotten into groundwater and been swept out to sea. The organism is now infecting whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions from the Arctic to Australia; and is a major cause of death in California sea otters.

2. Urinary Tract Disorders in Cats

Few conditions strike greater fear into the heart of a cat guardian than “urinary tract problems.” Myths and misinformation abound, and many people know at least one other person who has a cat with this problem–or who has lost a cat because of it. It’s especially common in spring, as well as autumn and after holidays such as Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (fireworks, parties, houseguests, and other unusual activities can be stressful to cats).

“Feline lower urinary tract disorders” (commonly referred to as FLUTD, LUTD, or FUS–feline urologic syndrome) come in at least three distinct varieties. All of them put together affect less than 3% of cats, but for those who are affected, it can be a major problem. Bladder diseases occur in both male and female cats, although males have a higher risk of life-threatening blockage of the urethra. It is usually first seen in cats between 2 and 7 years of age (though some very young and very old cats may develop signs). Episodes of FLUTD are usually triggered by stress, such as home remodeling, severe weather, or loss or addition of a family member.

The clinical signs of all the FLUTDs are very similar. Cats may go to the litterbox frequently, strain to urinate, pass very small amounts at a time, lick their genitals more frequently or more intensely than usual, or have blood in the urine. The cat may associate the burning sensation of cystitis (bladder inflammation) with the litterbox itself, and look for another place to go where it won’t hurt. This leads to squatting in corners, in sinks or tubs, on rugs, laundry piles, or beds. Read more….

3. Take Action for Cats

A new bill has been introduced in the California State Senators, supported by the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) to prevent cities from banning declawing of cats, among other cruel procedures that veterinarians perform legally. This bill is similar to one that  was introduced (but failed) last year.

This bill is a response to the City of West Hollywood, which banned declawing within its city limits several years ago. The CVMA sued to get the law overturned, and lost. It appealed all the way to the California Supreme Court, but West Hollywood’s ban was upheld. Now the CVMA wants to prevent any other municipality from infringing on its “rights” to perform cruel procedures on animals.

The language and scope of the bill would allow all acts of animal cruelty that are against the policy of the American Veterinary Medical Association, yet are still “legal” in the state of California, including ear-cropping, tail-docking, devocalization (de-barking or de-meowing– cutting the vocal cords), defanging (removal of teeth from aggressive animals), body-gripping traps, snares, and more. Even the stodgy U.S. Department of Agriculture condemns declawing as cruel, and banned the declawing of all exotic carnivores, including big cats, bears, and wolves. Yet the CVMA is violently opposed to any restriction on its members’ “rights” to keep on performing cruel procedures.

This “if it’s legal we will do it” attitude demonstrates the arrogance of the CVMA. Last year, the CVMA gave Assembly and Senate members $169,000 to vote their way. To combat their deep pockets, we need you!

Please help us stop this bill. Please take action yourself, and forward this information to all your cat-loving friends and family. California residents can contact their own representatives, but even non-residents can have a voice: a note to California legislators, stating that you will keep your travel and tourism dollars out of California if the bill passes, is a powerful way to get their attention.

UPDATE: This bill passed and was signed by the Governor; it went into effect January 1, 2010. However, before the law kicked in, The Paw Project and friends were able to legally ban declawing in 7 more California cities, including Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Monica.



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