Show our Vets some love – PLEASE :-)

Show our Vets some love – PLEASE :-)

Today, we’re going to be talking about an often overlooked aspect of the cat community: the mental health and wellbeing of those wonderful Veterinarians out there that care for our fur babies.

Let me first start off by saying that As a pet owner its so very important to have a good relationship with your vet. As a breeder it is absolutely vital

I have recently been very concerned over the lack of respect that this group of professionals have had, especially around the treatment of some diseases. You should only ever take advice from a vet. If you don’t feel that the advice you are getting is correct, or if you have information that is different to what you are being told then talk with your vet or find a vet that specialises in your area of concern. Not every vet is going to know everything about everything. They are human just like us. And this just demonstrates the importance of a good relationship with your vet.

As a pet owner, having a good relationship with your veterinarian is essential for the health and well-being of your pet. A veterinarian is your pet’s primary healthcare provider and will play a critical role in their ongoing care. Building a strong and trusting relationship with your veterinarian can lead to improved health outcomes for your pet, as well as peace of mind for you as the owner.

One of the key benefits of a good relationship with your veterinarian is that they can provide comprehensive and proactive care for your pet. This includes regular check-ups, preventive care measures such as vaccines and parasite control, and prompt diagnosis and treatment of any health problems that may arise. By working closely with your veterinarian, you can ensure that your pet receives the best possible care and attention, improving their overall quality of life.

Another important aspect of a good relationship with your veterinarian is open and honest communication. As a pet owner, you may have questions or concerns about your pet’s health, behavior, or nutrition. Your veterinarian can provide expert advice and guidance, helping you make informed decisions about your pet’s care. In addition, they can also provide support and reassurance during difficult times, such as when your pet is sick or facing a health crisis.

A good relationship with your veterinarian can also provide peace of mind for you as a pet owner. Knowing that you have a trusted and experienced professional available to provide care for your pet can help you feel confident and secure in your role as a pet owner.

It’s no secret that being a veterinarian is a challenging and demanding job. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and empathy, not just for their patients but also for their owners. But, as with any profession that involves dealing with emotional and physically challenging cases on a daily basis, it can also take a toll on a veterinarian’s mental health.

Veterinarians face a unique set of challenges that can impact their mental health and wellbeing. The job requires a constant balance between their own emotions and the emotional state of their patients and their patients’ owners. Additionally, they must make difficult decisions every day, such as when to euthanize a pet or whether a pet’s suffering is beyond treatment. All of these things can take an emotional toll on a veterinarian.

A common issue is compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is a condition that affects individuals who work in helping professions, such as veterinarians, and is characterized by a gradual loss of empathy, compassion, and sense of personal accomplishment in response to exposure to traumatic events and suffering. It is a result of the cumulative effects of prolonged exposure to traumatic and stressful situations, leading to feelings of burnout, exhaustion, and depression.

For veterinarians, compassion fatigue can have a significant impact on their personal and professional lives. Constant exposure to the suffering of animals, combined with the stress of making life and death decisions, can lead to feelings of overwhelm, hopelessness, and decreased job satisfaction. This can result in decreased job performance, higher rates of absenteeism, and an increased risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

One example of a veterinary scenario where compassion fatigue may arise is in the case of an animal rescue operation. Veterinarians that work in this area or volunteer to help as part of their practice may be required to work long hours in high-stress situations, caring for animals that are injured, sick, or traumatized. This type of work can take a significant emotional toll on a veterinarian, leading to feelings of exhaustion, hopelessness, and a loss of the sense of purpose and fulfillment that initially drew them to the profession.

Compassion fatigue is not limited to veterinarians, however. It can also affect individuals who work in fields such as social work, healthcare, and emergency services. In these professions, individuals may be exposed to traumatic events and suffering on a regular basis, leading to feelings of burnout, depression, and a loss of empathy for those they are trying to help.

It’s important for veterinary practices to have a culture of openness and support where mental health is concerned. This means creating an environment where veterinarians feel comfortable discussing their feelings and concerns, and where there is no stigma attached to seeking help. It’s also important for practices to provide access to resources such as counseling, support groups, and stress management training. Additionally, it’s crucial for the veterinary community to prioritize self-care, such as taking time for themselves, engaging in physical activity, and seeking out hobbies and interests outside of work.

This gets me to what we can do as pet owners to support their veterinarians and help maintain their mental health and wellbeing.

We can play a big role in supporting our veterinarians by being understanding and patient. Be respectful of your veterinarian’s time and acknowledge the stress and emotions that come with the job. Additionally, pet owners can offer words of appreciation and gratitude to their veterinarians, who do so much to help their furry friends.

It is important to remember that the relationship between a pet owner and their veterinarian is a partnership, and working together is the best way to ensure the health and well-being of your pet. If you are not satisfied with the advice you receive from your veterinarian, it is important to take steps to address your concerns and find a solution that works for you and your pet.

 

If you are not satisfied with the advice you receive from your veterinarian, there are several steps you can take to address your concerns:

  1. Schedule a follow-up appointment: If you have concerns or questions about your pet’s health or treatment plan, schedule a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian. They may be able to provide additional information, clarification, or recommendations that can help address your concerns.
  2. Seek a second opinion: If you are still not satisfied with the advice you have received, you may consider seeking a second opinion from another veterinarian. This can provide you with additional perspective and help ensure that you are making informed decisions about your pet’s care.
  3. Ask for a referral: If your concerns are beyond the scope of your veterinarian’s expertise, they may be able to provide you with a referral to a specialist who can provide more specialized care and advice.
  4. Communicate openly: It is important to communicate openly and honestly with your veterinarian. Be clear about your concerns and ask questions to make sure you understand their recommendations. Good communication can help you and your veterinarian make informed decisions about your pet’s care.
  5. Seek support: If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about your pet’s care, seek support from friends, family, or a support group. Talking to others who are experiencing similar challenges can provide comfort and a sense of community.

 

 

 

Not everyone is as smart as Charlie the Nepalese Street cat who’s story you can ready here!

Its always a good idea to talk to your vet if the problem not solved. Think of it as a quest! It might take some time and patience, but you will work it out eventually. And if you need some help send me an email at meow@melissaneumann.com.au and I will see what I can suggest.

Charlie the nepalese street cat who can use a human litter box!

I do my best thinking inside the box!

The perfect card for the perfect perfectionist. Check it out at the Cat Mumma Shop!

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Food: Find out what brand of food they have been eating and get some. If you change their diet straight away it can upset their stomach so stick to what they have been on when they first come home.

Water: Cats are funny creatures and can be fussy when it comes to where they drink from. They don’t like their whiskers to touch the side of their water bowls and they need water in more than one spot. So wide opening water bowls are the best. Near their food and in at least one other place in the house is a great idea.

Litter box, litter and scooper: Every cat needs a litter box. If you have multiple cats then the best rule is to have one for each and one spare. Litter is a whole subject on its own. Use what you feel works for you. I like environmentally friendly litter that can be flushed or put in the green waste bin. (Check out the litter episode on my YouTube channel if you need more info)

Collar and ID tag: This is optional. If your cat is contained to your property you might feel you don’t need one. It’s more for if it escapes and someone finds them. Exactly the same for a dog.

Cat carrier: You will need a carrier to pick up your kitty and also to take to the vet from time to time. The hard plastic ones are the easiest to keep clean if you leave it out in the shed. Its important that the carrier not be bought into the house just when going to the vet. Cats are smart and if they see the carrier come inside then they know they will be going in it. So if you can leave the carrier somewhere inside the house, even let the cats sleep in it.

 

Grooming Products: this will depend on the type of cat you have so talk with your vet or breeder or rescuer as to what will be appropriate.

Enzymatic odour neutralizer: cats can have accidents and its important if they do that the area is cleaned with a enzymatic cleaner. These cleaners use enzymes to break down the uric acid into carbon dioxide and ammonia. These gasses easily evaporate removing the smell entirely. Soap, vinegar, baking soda, ammonia, chlorine, and hydrogen peroxide (to name the most common cleaners) simply are not chemically capable of breaking down the uric acid in cat pee. Just as a side note, if you use an ammonia based cleaning product in your home, cats think someone else has been peeing in their house and can pee to remark their territory. There is no point in telling your cat off if they don’t use the litter box. You need to work out why its not working for them and try to make the litter box more appealing. Perhaps they don’t like the litter your using. It might have been cleaned with something that they don’t like the smell of. So many reasons. If they keep peeing in an area, then put a litter box there and slowly move it to where you want them to do their business.

Cat tree and Cat Scratchers: Cats stretch and sharpen their claws. It’s a natural part of who they are. We need to give them a variety of alternatives to our carpets and furniture for them to use. A good solid cat tree is a must. There are many available on the market and some are great furniture pieces so its up to you how elaborate you go with this one. more than one is even better. Cardboard scratchers are also a great investment as they can be used then recycled once they get tatty. Again, its giving a cat an alternative place to scratch.

Toys and Cat Enrichment: working out what toys your cat likes will depend on the breed and personality of your cat. They might be stimulated by playing in a box or paper bag. They might need to run and jump so fishing rod style teasers might be needed. Talk with your breeder or rescuer as to what they like to play with.

Nail Clippers: This is optional but something that I feel will make your life with your cat so much more enjoyable. You can have your vet clip your cats nails but if you can become confident to do it and you do it from a young age you will find this a great way to avoid unintentional cat scratches. Cats claws get super sharp and if they jump up and dig the claws in it can hurt. It doesn’t hurt as much if those claws are blunt. If you’re not sure how to do it, get your vet to help you the first few times. Even the vet nurses can be helpful in showing you how. If a cat scratches you it is usually your fault. Cats hiss and scratch out of fear so don’t blame them if they lash out.

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  • Do you have a safe enclosed outside space for your cat, or do you live in a small space and your cat will live indoors?
  • Do you have a busy lifestyle?
  • Will you need a cat that is more independent and happier to be on its own?
  • If you’re short on time, then also consider choosing a breed with less grooming requirements.
  • Do you already have pets? How will this impact on them and on the new family member?
  • If you have a young family, then looking for an outgoing confident cat that loves the attention is a must. If you have a quieter lifestyle then a more reserved, shy or reclusive cat might be better.

Understanding the answers to all of these questions will help you to decide on what kind of cat is best for you.

 

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Adopt and shop responsibly

Adopt and shop responsibly

If you want to add a cat to your family there are many different ways that this can happen. But do your homework and make sure you are doing the right thing for the animal that you are about to bring into your home.

There is no right or wrong answers when it come to the question of where should I get my cat from. If you decide to go down the rescue path then awesome. Look for a cat that appeals to you. consider an older cat as they often have a harder time finding a home. But kittens need homes too. Don’t expect to get a rescue cat for no money outlay. These rescue programs are not cheap to run and are often staffed by volunteers so be prepared to pay for a rescue.

If you decide that you really love a particular kind of breed, then do your homework and find the right breeder for you. Don’t go looking for a cheap option. You have no idea how much that cheap option might cost you in the long run. A good reputable breeder will charge a fair and reasonable price dependant on the breed. Have a good look around and get to know the breeder before you jump into buying a kitten from them. Check out this blog post for more info on how to find a great breeder

Do you want to do your part to help stop all the rescue kitten and cats out there? Its simple. Shop smarter. When looking for a pet make sure you don’t just do it on the spur of the moment. Take the time to really understand what you are doing and your motive behind it. Buy from the right people as that will not feed the kitten farm industry. Understand the laws around good pet ownership in your area. If you are not a registered breeder then get your pets desexed and make sure they are microchipped just incase they do manage to get out and go for a wander.

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8 Myths you need to know about desexing your cat

8 Myths you need to know about desexing your cat

Just the other day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. She was telling me about a stray cat that seems to be unowned that returns every xmas to have kittens in her mother in laws shed. Every year they try to catch her, every year she is to sly to get caught. She sneaks in when they go away with their caravan for the holiday break and when they come back there is often kittens running around in their back yard. They have set traps and had family try to catch her while they are away but she moves the kittens as soon as they return and they escape getting caught and handed in.

This has been happening for around 10 years and every year the cat has around 5 7 kittens. That’s 50-70 kittens unowned going back into the population, not desexed, not microchipped, not loved.

 Now its not the property owners responsibility to try to catch this cat, even thought they have tried. They often even forget about her until they return home and realise its time to try and catch her again. But she is way to smart and quick for that. This cat may have been the offspring to another unowned cat that also had 50-70 kittens over a 10 year period. And that cat might have started at the age of 6 months having kittens. So you can see that it is very easy for cats to populate. They are very good at it.

 

Not all of these kittens will survive. Some will be picked off by large prey birds. Some will be attacked by dogs. And some will simply starve to death once mum stops feeding them. Its not much fun out there on the street for a cat. And lets not even get started on how many cats are run over by cars every year.

Then we also need to look at the issues around wildlife. Cats are great for keeping mice and rats down but they also take out native flora and fauna. We want cats to do their job but we also need to respect the environment and do our part to keep those animals safe and sound to.

This is why it is so important to desex all cats unless we are deliberately letting them breed. Its very unfair to allow more unwanted kittens to be born to then have terrible lives and often die young.

There are many myths around desexing cats. Let’s look at some of those and lets look at the scientific evidence around them.

Neutering will cause behavioural changes.

This is not a myth. But its not what you think. The behaviours that change are marking their territory and being aggressive, more so for males than females. The fluctuation in hormones means they are less likely to go in search of a mate and roam.

My pet is to young.

Female cats can come into their first season as early as four months of age, and males can father kittens from 6 months old. Neutering you cat before they become sexually mature will ensure thre is not ooppsy litters. There is always risks to any surgery but trained professionals can easily neuter cats from 12-16 weeks of age. Your cat is given a general anaesthetic and will feel no pain. Some mild discomfort afterwards but most cats recover very quickly. Males in particular are less likely to develop habits of marking and spraying if neutered early as it doesn’t become a behaviour they know.

My cat will get fat.

Weight gain has nothing to do with neutering and everything to do with exercise and overeating. Cats can be lazy if they have nothing to do. Encouraging exercise and keeping an eye on how much and what they are eating will help keep them at a healthy weight.

Its best for animals to have one litter first.

Cats don’t experience parenthood like we do. They done yearn for it like we do. Their hormones take over and they do what nature intended. I have heard that people love the idea of kids seeing the miracle of childbirth, but how about you teach your kids responsible pet ownership instead.

I love my pet and I want another just like them.

Sorry, each cat is different. You will never replicate your loved pet. This is about you and your fear of loosing your best buddy. Its not thinking in their best interests

My cat is a purebred so I should breed him.

Leave that to those that have a special interest in breeding. Breeding is much more than putting a couple of cats together. Check out this blog to find out how much work it really is (http://thecatmumma.com/how-to-find-a-reputable-cat-breeder/)

I don’t let my cat out so it shouldn’t matter

If they are not neutered, they will get out if they feel that urge. If they are indoors then you will find you will have a much better house mate if they are neutered.

I don’t want my male cat to feel less of a man.

Sorry guys and girls, cats don’t understand sexual identity or ego. That’s your own feelings about what humans think about loosing the family jewels. Unless you are going to be a responsible cat breeder, do your cat a favour, get him neutered.

So, what exactly do they do when they de-sexed a cat?

There are many names used to talk about desexing your cat. de-sexed, fixed, altered, sterilized or un-sexed and of course neuter and spaying. Both spaying and neutering are safe and permanent surgeries. Spaying refers to female pets and is a major surgical procedure in which both ovaries and the uterus are surgically removed from your pet. Neutering, which is also called castration, refers to male pets, and is a minor surgical procedure in which both of the testicles are removed.

Don’t add to the problem, be part of the solution.

 

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Pedigree vs Rescue. What kind of cat is right for me?

Pedigree vs Rescue. What kind of cat is right for me?

With all the cats that need a rescue home, why do we still have pedigree cats? There is so much shame put on people who choose to have a pedigree cat and its just silly. The anthem of “adopt don’t shop” is becoming a catch phrase that I just don’t agree with.

I do agree that there are cat farms out there that are just producing animals for profit and I don’t believe that pet shops should be selling cats and kittens. Not that long ago I saw a birmilla x ragdoll for sale in a pet shop. I’m sorry but you cant have a crossbreed cat breeds for starters. More often than not these “pedigree” cats sold in pet shops are sold under false pretences and don’t come with pedigree papers and sometimes are not desexed.

But before we get on to the pedigree discussion lets talk a bit about rescues. If you want a cat then it’s a great thing to rescue a cat or kitten. If you are going to go down this path consider rescuing an older cat as these guys have a much harder time of finding their forever home. But find the right pet for you. For instance, if you have a loud household with little kids then don’t adopt a scaredy cat that has been through a hard time and needs lots of quite space to get to know you and your family. Or if you are an older person, don’t get an overly overt kitten that will need lots of attention and cleaning up after.

While we are on the subject of rescues, a big shout out to all those amazing individuals that spend their nights and weekends transporting and collecting cats from all sorts of dire conditions and coordinate foster families, and so on. Your efforts are truly commendable. The enegry that you put into saving the lives of these unwanted furr people is just heroic in my book.

Getting a rescue is a wonderfully generous thing to do. You are giving a cat that didn’t have a home a place to be loved and safe and that is awesome. The down side is that you never know what kind of personality a rescue might be. Nor do you know what kind of life they had before coming into your care. But why are there so many rescues? Its because humans who have a cat but cannot afford to get it desexed (or cant be bothered or think its a mean thing to do to a cat) allow their cat to roam and breed. And I say this without judgement. We have a cat that got out of the house at 4 months of age and got “serviced” by the local Tom. We still have her and 2 of her kittens as part of our family and found homes for her other 3 kittens before getting her desexed. She is now over 10yrs old and back then you could not have a kitten desexed before 6 months old. It happens. Cats are breeding machines. But all the more reason to ensure they are contained and desexed as soon as possible.

So lets talk about Breeders. When looking at pedigree pets its important that you decide on the breed and do your homework. We breed Abyssinian and Somali cats. My pet peeve is when someone says that breeders should stop breeding because the shelters and rescues are full. Cat breeders spend hours ensuring bloodlines and linage. They look for cats to breed that stick to a standard and have the right personality traits. They spend weekends showing their cats and competing for the best of breed awards. Only the best specimens of the breed are kept for breeding purposes. They spend on genetic testing and medical testing to ensure no genetic abnormalities or ongoing medical issues are in their lines. Before a litter is conceived thousands of dollars has been spent on ensuring the king and queen are top cats. Breeders are like midwives at the birth of a litter ensuring that each kitten is healthy, feeding and thriving. Breeders will have you sign a contract and all will include a clause that if for any reason the family can no longer keep the cat, it can be returned to the breeder for rehoming. By the time you purchase a kitten from a breeder, the price will never come close to the amount of time, hours and money invested into the kitten. Breeders are breeders because they want to ensure the integrity of their breed and continue to keep the breed strong and healthy. Even if every single one of them stopped breeding, there would still be a problem with dumped kittens. Many breeders donate their time and money to helping the rescue of those that need it. They often foster rescues and have rescues as part of the family. Like all things in life, some breeders are better than others and there is an entire blog post here that you can find out more about what to look for in a responsible breeder.

So why should you buy a pedigree over a rescue? Probably the most obvious is that you will know what you are getting. Different breeds will suit different people and different situations. Just like if you are looking for a pedigree dog, with cats, you are looking at not just what the cat looks like but the personality traits that will suit your lifestyle. With pedigrees you will also know what medical issues you might have to look out for as well.

And I hate to say it, but if you are going to spend a few thousand dollars on a pedigree cat, your going to look after it a little better than if a friend gives you a kitten that cost you $0. Its awful that we have to put a price on a life to make it valuable and ensure that it is looked after well but I think that will need its own blog post.

Tell me what you think about this topic! Do you agree with me or do you have a different take on things? Comment below and let me know.

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