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    Dr. Jason Nicholas (Dr. J)

    dr jason nicholas
    As President and Chief Medical Officer of Preventive Vet, Dr. J is a man on a mission. He’s a dog-and-cat lover, husband, father of two and former ER and general practice veterinarian obsessed with keeping your pets safe, healthy and out of harm’s way. Just like Preventive Vet, the pet-expert collective he founded in 2011, Dr. J strives for a world where all pet owners are empowered to keep their pets happy, healthy and free from preventable suffering.
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    Recent Posts

    Car Travel — How to Road Trip and Move With Cats


    When many people think of cats and riding in cars, it’s typically not a very serene picture that’s painted in their mind. However, if a cat is properly acclimated and conditioned to riding in a car, they can actually really learn to love it. And so can you!

    This should come as great news if you’ve got an upcoming road trip or long-distance move planned with your cat(s)!

    Ideally you’re reading this article while your cat is still young or, at least, before they’ve had a traumatic experience in the car and well in advance of your upcoming car travel with them. Don’t despair though if none of those are the case, as even “old cats” can be taught new “car riding tricks” and at the end of this article, there are plenty of tips and products that can provide you some relief and piece-of-mind with last-minute car travel with kitty. 

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    Topics: Pet Travel Safety, Carriers, Traveling with your cat

    Is Xylitol Toxic to Cats?


    While many more people are (thankfully) now aware of the dangers that xylitol poses to dogs, people often wonder if xylitol  — an increasingly common sugar substitute —can have the same devastating effects should their cats ever get a hold of something with xylitol in it. It’s a great and important question… and one that it looks like we finally have an answer to!

    It was previously assumed that xylitol wasn’t toxic to cats

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    Topics: pet safety tips, Is Xylitol Safe, Xylitol, toxicity in cats, Foods that aren't good for cats

    Cat Spraying: Why They Do it and Ways to Tackle it


    You notice a wet spot on the side of the sofa, or the drapes, or maybe running down the front door. Hmmm, is that . . . ? Yep, it looks — and smells — like cat pee. Uh oh. What’s going on? Is your cat trying to tell you something?

    Actually, when your cat sprays, they are trying to send you (or another cat in or around your home) a message! It’s usually either, “I was here”/"this is my home,” or “I’m stressed out.”

    You see, spraying (or “marking”) is all about communication for cats. It’s different from fully peeing or pooping outside the litter box (a.k.a. “inappropriate toileting” or "inappropriate elimination") — which, though could also be due to stress or problems between the pets in your home, is most often related to a problem with your cat’s litter boxes (e.g., the type of litter used, the location or number of boxes available, or another of the common problems with litter box setup and maintenance). And, just to keep things interesting, both “spraying” and “inappropriate elimination” can also be brought on by, or worsened by, an underlying medical problem (e.g., arthritis, urinary tract inflammation (“cystitis”) or infection (“UTI”), kidney failure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or a host of other problems). This article is going to focus on helping you with a cat that’s spraying or “marking.” Read on to see if that might be your cat, and what you can do about it.

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    Topics: Cat Aggression, Cat behavior problems, Cat urine, Litter Box, Urine marking in cats

    How to Easily Put Together a First-Aid Kit for Your Cat


    What to put in your cat first-aid kit and why


    When your cat suffers an illness, injury, or poisoning, knowing what first aid to do (and not do) can have a big impact on their recovery, safety, and comfort. It can also help your emotional stress, because you'll have a plan of action to follow whenever a problem arises. For these, and many other reasons, I always recommend that cat owners take a pet first-aid class. But that's not the end of the story.

    Regardless of whether you've taken (or are planning to take) a first-aid class, you still need to have the supplies and gear to be able to administer first aid to your cat. And that's where having a good pet first-aid kit (or two) comes in.

    Make Your Own Cat First-Aid Kit

    To make it easy for you to put together (or check) your pet first-aid kit, we have a shopping list (for mobile or printable) for you to take to your nearest pharmacy to grab your cat's first-aid supplies.

    Each item on this list has been vetted to ensure that you're getting the right products and brands that will be most effective, practical, and safe for your cat's first-aid kit.

    Have a dog? Check out this first-aid shopping list for dogs.

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    Topics: Cat Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, First Aid, Pet First Aid Kits, cat first aid, Pet First Aid, Pet First Aid Supplies, Pet First Aid Kit

    What Cats Do When They’re Out at Night

     
    Cats are a mystery (that’s part of what we love about them). This cat mystery is even more intriguing at night, when they wander neighborhoods and our homes doing… whatever it is they do.

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    Topics: Cat Predators, Cats outdoors at night, Cat Behavior, Cat bite abcess, Cat Bite

    Where to Put Your Cat After Surgery and How to Care for Them


    Depending on the procedure, it can be quite trying to have a cat go through surgery. Often, the “trying” part doesn’t end once your cat has left the hospital, as their post-operative recovery period at home can often be equally difficult. This article will help to make it easier… on you both.
     

    Whether your cat’s just been spayed/neutered, had a cat bite abscess, had a broken bone surgically repaired, or had abdominal surgery of their digestive tract or urinary bladder, it’s important that they’re given the time, space, and environment to rest and heal.

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    Topics: Surgery, Pet Proofing, Recommended cat litter

    Finding a Boarding Facility or Pet Sitter for Cats: Where to Start and What to Ask


    Because of the reputation cats have as "loners" and "self-sufficient" pets, many people assume that all will be OK if they fill a bowl full of food and leave their cats home alone for a few days when they head out of town. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case.

    This is in large part because most cats actually aren't "loners" and "self-sufficient." And it's also because a lot can go wrong (and has gone wrong!) with unsupervised cats in as few as 24–48 hours, including:

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    Topics: Vaccination, pet sitter, Travel

    Feeders for Multi-Cat Households and Tips for Feeding Multiple Cats


    If you have more than one cat, feedings can get rather interesting. You might even say it feels like… herding cats (*ba dum tsss*).

    Some cats need to eat more, some less. Some might have a special diet. Some might be grazers, while others like to hoover their food up all at once. Regardless of your particular combination of kitty eating needs or styles, it’s important to know how to approach meal time with multiple cats so that every cat gets enough to eat, but not too much; and eats what they’re supposed to eat, but not what they’re not. If you’ve ever had to juggle different types of foods or quantities of food for multiple cats, you’ve probably felt the stress that comes with it.

    Good news though! You’re not alone, and the trials and tribulations we here at Preventive Vet, as well as other cat owners, have endured means that we’ve got some good tips and even different feeding and “feeder” options that can help you de-complicate your multi-kitty meal time. Won’t that be nice!

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    Topics: Feeding Bowls, Cat food, Cat Aggression

    Fatty Liver Disease in Cats — What It Is and How to Protect Your Cat


    Hepatic lipidosis, a.k.a. “fatty liver disease,” is a serious and debilitating condition in cats. It’s caused by an overabundance of fat being moved to and deposited within a cat’s liver, which will happen when their body is otherwise “starved” for energy.

    Read on to learn more about what hepatic lipidosis is, the signs to watch for, and how you can prevent your cat from suffering from fatty liver disease.

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    Topics: Liver Failure, Obesity, Diabetes in Cats, Pancreatitis, Loss of appetite

    How to Walk Your Cat on a Leash... Safely

     
    If you are going to walk your cat, don’t go about it like this writer from the New York Post. 

    “I procured a cat leash and harness… from a friend, who had attempted, unsuccessfully, to walk her own cats. Hoping to have a better go of it, I strapped my 7-year-old tabby, Jameson, in and headed out on a recent sunny Saturday.”

    As you might imagine, she soon realized that walking a cat is not exactly like walking a dog! First of all, cats don't always take to leashes and walks as readily as dogs (at least not initially). Second, being cats, they're not exacly, shall we say, "naturally inclined" to being led around by a leash. Third, many of the places you’d likely take your dog typically aren’t as well-suited for a cat (but fear not, there are often plenty of great alternatives!).

    These differences don’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t try taking your cat for leash walks. After all, many cats can really enjoy and benefit from them! But they do mean that you really do first need to train and prepare your cat — and yourself — for these new outdoor adventures! 

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    Topics: Outdoor cats, Capturing Behavior, Cat Behavior, Clicker Training

    Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

    Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

    Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.