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  • A Tail Of The Twin Orange Cats

    A collection of poems about orange colored cats featuring a picture of my cats! Their name is ‘steve’. Just for clarification, yes both are named ‘steve’. Because when I say ‘steve come here’, they don’t move.

    Happy Orange Cat

    There is no creature quite as happy
    As the smiling, purring tabby
    Who sits upon the ginger mat
    And acts like he is king of cats
    While soaking up the amber rays
    Of the summer sun by day
    Then, by night, he does retire
    By the glowing orange fire.
    Whenever life seems gray or dull
    This tabby makes it colorful.

    Little Orange Cat

    Little orange cat,
    you prowl
    like a small tiger
    (stalking what?)
    in the field
    of white daisies
    and shining
    from Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 2014, Candlewick


    Just an ol’ Tom Cat
    dirty orange in color,
    Rummaging like a rat
    through filth and squalor

    Painfully moving with an obvious limp
    and a single eye from which to glimpse.
    Orange cat advanced with a hesitant skimp;
    so sorrowful a cat I haven’t seen since.

    Confused and frightened
    I could sense his pain.
    Sorrowful and disheartened
    He began to fain.

    Without value or worth,
    abandoned and alone,
    he searched from birth
    trying to find a home.

    Such a dreadful place
    to see suffering like that,
    in the trash and waste
    where I found orange cat.

    He struggled with broken limb
    and to not ease his strain
    would have been a sin
    for anyone who could help him.

    Giving him worth and value
    I cuddled him in my lap,
    providing affection anew,
    he loved me for that.

    After a hard fought struggle
    he died that night.
    In the warmth of a cuddle
    he ended his plight.

    Copyright © Ed Coet | Year Posted 2009

  • Cats and Ear Infections

    Pic logo CCC - Animal Health ServicesToday you are going to learn about your cat’s ear infection.  Most pet owners don’t think much about this unassuming piece of anatomy until there is a problem. You may see one or both ears being scratched.  Black discharge may be oozing out of an ear canal.  Redness and inflammation could be present. Do you see head shaking? How about trauma to the skin around the ears?  Is the skin now bleeding?  Allergies, ear mites or infections can cause any or all of these symptoms. Let’s look at some simple ways to tell which problem your cat may be What to do when your cat scratches at her ears. having.

    What to do when your cat scratches at her ears.

    • Ears mites are blamed for the majority of ear problems in cats.  The reality is that indoor cats will rarely get ear mites unless a cat with them is brought into the house. Otodectes cynotis is the scientific name for the mite. The mite or its eggs are easily visualized under a microscope.  The discharge you will see in the ear will be fairly dry and granular. These infections cause severe itching that may lead to the skin being traumatized.
    • Bacterial and yeast infections are much more commonly with indoor cats.   You will also see discharge but it will have a more waxy consistency.  Some infections can alternatively produce a yellow colored discharge.  The level of itchiness is generally less than that caused by mites.  Looking at a sample under a microscope yields a quick and easy diagnosis.
    • Last but not least is allergies. Allergies can be caused by food or environmental.  You may see itching directed at the ears, redness in the opening of the canals, ear twitching and secondary infections. Secondary bacterial or yeast infections are not uncommon.  If the itching is seasonal then environmental allergies, known as atopy, is likely the cause.  Non-seasonal itching is more commonly caused by food allergies.

    You can see that there are many similarities with each of these ear problems.  The good news is there are simple methods to determine the root of the problem. A swab of the ear and a look under the microscope is often all that is needed for getting the right diagnosis.  The correct diagnosis means a fast track to comfort for your kitty.

    I would love to hear from you. Tell me how this information helped you with your cat.

    Brian Ashmore, DVM

  • Avoiding Cat Scratches

    As I started writing this post I glanced at the scratches on my hands that cats have cat jumping wearing bow tieplaced over the years. If you have spent any time working with cats, you will invariably be scratched. Scratches will happen out of malice, irritation and sometimes by accident. I will share with you a few steps to help avoid being scratched. If you do fall prey to those claws you will need to know what to do.

    You can determine your cat’s mood.

    Knowing the body language of a cat is the first place to start. As the old adage says… the best defense is a good offense. Your offense is knowledge. Let’s cover the basics.  A cat will give you signals when it is safe to enter their space and give affection. He might be lying with his front feet tucked underneath him or strutting around with his tail up and the tip pointing forward. You will also notice that his ears are in a relaxed position. His tail will be still and not swishing around. Confirm your cat is ready to accept you by extending your hand close to his face. If he is feeling comfortable with you he will initiate contact with a sniff or a little cheek rub. This means ‘you’re in!’

    He will initiate contact with a sniff or a little cheek rub.

    What do you look for with a not-so-nice kitty? Again, know your body language. A cat will have a swishing tail with her ears pressed flat against her head. She is crouched down and definitely does not have her paws tucked under her chest. This position means she is ready to pounce. The more severely stressed cat will hiss or spit but do not rely on that sign to tell if you need to proceed with caution.

    What do you do if you do get scratched? If the scratch is superficial and doesn’t bleed then simply wash it off with soap and water and it should heal well. A deeper scratch that draws blood should also be washed in the same manner. Apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage to reduce the chances of it getting infected. This will also decrease the scarring. If the skin around the scratch becomes reddened or swollen you should see a doctor. One last thought is about cat scratch fever. This is caused by a bacteria transferred at the time of a scratch that can cause lymph node swelling, fever and lethargy. See your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

    You are now armed with some basic information to better communicate with your cat. Share with us how your cat communicates with you.


    Brian Ashmore, DVM

  • Keep Your Cat Safe

    How Safe Is Your Cat?

    We have all witnessed a cat fall and invariably land on its paws. She might have been climbing on a book shelf and taken a tumble. Maybe she found her way to a high shelf or like my Lilly where she enjoys a stroll along the top of our kitchen cabinets at night. Cats are quite agile but sometimes it gets them in trouble. Check out this crazy story of a cat who fell 26 floors and walked away from the scene!

    The scene was a quiet Sunday night. I was in the other room winding down my evening. The house was quiet when suddenly a loud crash followed by breaking glass rang through the house. I ran to the kitchen and saw shattered glass and two picture frames lying on the ground. The frames housed two portraits of special pets who had passed away. Amazingly enough, both portraits survived the perilous fall. Lilly.cabinet

    We immediately knew that Lilly was the cause of the clamor. Lilly could not be found and I don’t blame her. She eventually emerged unharmed from under our bed. For most of the night she was convinced there was something evil in the kitchen but she has since returned to her old ways of exploration. Luckily no cats, portraits or humans were harmed in this true tale.

    Take precautions for your cat’s safety

    I shared this story not just for fun but as a reminder to take precautions for your cat’s safety. The domesticated cat have an amazing ability to fit into and climb onto places that you never thought possible. We had recently moved into a new house and had not had time to hang the frames on the wall. Desperate for a space to put them until our next project day, we leaned them against the wall above our cabinets. This was not the smartest idea. We knew that Lilly liked to patrol from up there but never considered the possibility of her knocking them over. Cats are supposed to be nimble and stealthy, right?

    Take some time today to look at those high places on which your trapeze artist chooses to perch.
    Do you need to do some rearranging? How safe is your house? I would love to hear about your favorite cat daredevil story in the comment section below.

    Make sure to enjoy your precious cat today!
    Brian Ashmore, DVM

  • My Fat Cat

    How you can keep fat away from your cat’s belly.

    The memory is still fresh in my mind. It the first time meeting my wife’s family. We took a long flight into the Philadelphia airport from Phoenix and the commuted into New Jersey. Her sister was an animal lover and had several cats as part of her mix. I was anticipating meeting them but was not anticipating what I saw. There were a house of very friendly cats who were ‘happy’, according to my wife. I was unaware but happy is code word for fat! There was the one outlier who had a young kitty’s svelte waistline, otherwise they all had that something extra under their bellies that swayed from side to side as they walked.

    Overweight and obese cats are something that I see all too often in practice. This makes me sad because there are ways to keep your kitty slim and trim even if you have multiple cats in your home. It will be helpful if we first cite the reasons for cats needing to stay at an ideal body weight. Excess fat makes a cat’s heart work harder and increases their risk for diabetes. The excess weight wears down joints more quickly leading to arthritis. Cats love to perch and climb but how is that possible while carrying too much weight.

    How's my weight doc?

    How’s my weight doc?

    How do we get results? The starting point is believing that weight loss is important to the health and longevity of your cat. Second is determining the root cause of the obesity. I’m not talking about too many calories or not enough exercise. People overfeed their pets due to a lack of knowledge of what is appropriate, a sign of love or not wanting to take the time to make a plan. It really is that basic.

    Look at your overweight cat. Recognize and own the cause. Now get some professional help. Let’s start here with some basics. Your cat needs a specific number of calories each day. This will not be accomplished through free-feeding. Caloric requirements can be calculated. Once the calories have been determined then we put your kitty to work on a treadmill! Ok, so that will not work. We can increase activity by putting multiple small bowls of food around the house leading to exploring(in single cat households). Try tossing individual kibbles down the hall so she will have to retrieve the food. Feed your cats separately so that only the allotted amount is consumed by the appropriate cat. Don’t forget the benefit of a prescription food that helps your cat’s metabolism work more efficiently to burn calories.

    The task of achieving weight loss in a cat may seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Seek out help if you’re struggling. Above all know that there are solutions to a healthier cat.

    Leave a comment about your cat’s successful weight loss. Who will claim the biggest looser ‘cat style!’


    ~Brian Ashmore, DVM