Four Things to Watch for Your Cat’s Dental Health

Veterinarian brushing cat's teeth with toothbrush in animal clinic

Your feline friend’s stinky breath may be the running joke in your family, but it could be a sign of a deeper issue. It’s time to get serious about your pet’s dental health because, just like you, cats require regular dental exams and cleanings. Left unchecked, cats can develop a dental disease or even suffer from mouth pain that they’re unable to communicate to you. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your vet for a dental checkup, but there are things you can do along the way to monitor your pet’s dental health.

Between dental check up visits to the vet, pay special attention to these four things:

  • Breath – Chances are your cat’s breath won’t be minty fresh but it shouldn’t be foul either. “If your kitty’s mouth has an abnormally strong odor, he may have digestive problems or a gum condition such as gingivitis, and should be examined by a vet.” (Pets.WebMD.com)
  • Gums – The appearance of red, inflamed gums is a sign that it’s time to call the vet. Inflammation can be an indicator of infections or ailments even beyond those related to your pet’s dental health, such as kidney disease. Advancing stages of gum disease can lead to tooth loss, pain, or being unable to eat. When you check your cat’s gums, they should appear firm and pink.
  • Teeth – Monitor your cat’s teeth for any changes. His teeth should be white, without signs of browning or tartar buildup. Also, take this opportunity to check for any broken or loose teeth. If your dentist recommends beginning an oral hygiene routine for your cat, remember to ease into it. “Unlike dogs, cats are very individualistic in their acceptance of home oral hygiene. Try several options (brushing, finger-brushing, dental rinses or gels, dental diets) to find those techniques and products that your cat best tolerates. Some cats are very particular about new flavors. Patience and a gentle approach will yield the best results.” (AVDC.org)
  • Behavioral Changes – Unfortunately, our pets can’t communicate with us directly if something is wrong so it’s up to use to pay attention to what their behavior is telling us. Sudden changes in your cat’s eating habits, pawing at the mouth, or excessive drooling are all signs that your cat may be experiencing some pain.

    Dental health is a major factor in the overall quality of life for your cat. Pain or discomfort in the mouth is not only unpleasant, it can lead to your furry friend avoiding eating which, in turn, leads to additional complications. A little monitoring and maintenance can go a long way in preventing more serious developments down the road. At your next dental checkup, talk to your vet about what you can do to improve or maintain your cat’s pearly whites at home.







    Dos and Don’ts of Feline Friendly Thanksgivings

    Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to gather around a festive meal and share their gratitude. There may be one family member, you haven’t thought to invite to the festivities! If you’re like most people, you consider your cat to be part of the family. Show your gratitude for your feline friend with a special Thanksgiving meal just for them.
    There seems to be no shortage of foods, spices, and herbs that are toxic to cats, but rarely do you see cat-friendly holiday foods. If you’re not familiar with the foods that cats should avoid, we’ve included some sources below.
    Invite your family cat to a special, cat-friendly Thanksgiving dinner with these helpful Dos and Don’ts:
    Do: Check the ingredients. Popular additions like garlic, onions, and spices can be toxic to cats. Don’t: Give your cat foods with excess fat like butter, bacon, and fatty cuts of meat.
    Do: Give your cat plain turkey or other plain lean cuts of meat.
    Don’t: Serve up hefty portions to your pet or encourage guests to give treats.
    Do: Check any meat for bones and remove the skin before you treat your pet.
    Don’t: Treat your cat to pumpkin pie from the dessert
    Do: Surprise your cat with plain canned pumpkin. As a bonus, it can also aids digestion.
    Don’t: Give your pets sugar free desserts. These items often have xylitol which is toxic to pets.
    Do: Make plain mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes for your cat.
    Don’t: Leave flowers unattended. Many flowers are toxic to cats.
    Keep your feline friend happy and healthy while they indulge in Thanksgiving Day treats with the rest of the family. If you believe that your cat has ingested a bone or something toxic, please reach out to your vet or emergency vet as soon as possible.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Fancy Paws Cat Clinic Staff

    Tips for Pets: Keep Your Cat Safe this Halloween

    Halloween is a festive time for many of us. There are costumed guests and candy galore! Unfortunately, the same things that make this holiday so much fun can be things that present a danger to your pet. But with a little precaution and a few tweaks, you can keep your furry friends safe and sound and keep the festive day a joyous occasion.

    halloween cat img


    Mind the Door
    Throughout the day and night, you’re sure to have many trick-or-treaters coming to your door. The constant opening and closing of the door gives your cat plenty of opportunity to make a great escape! Keep your cat away from the door so he can avoid temptation. Even if your cat is an indoor cat, make sure he’s wearing a collar and ID tag just in case he breaks free.

    No Treats for Tricks
    The biggest appeal of Halloween can also be its biggest drawback when it comes to keeping your kitties safe. Not only does the candy itself pose a threat, but candy wrappers can also be dangerous if ingested. Keep your candy bowl covered and make sure candy wrappers go straight into the bin to discourage cats from ingesting their new “toys”.

    Mind the Decor
    Decorating is part of the fun, but a curious cat may get tangled in your Halloween decor or even ingest tassels, ribbons, and strings. If you think your cat may have ingested any of your decorations it’s important to get in touch with your vet or emergency vet immediately. Depending on your level of enthusiasm in Halloween decorations, you may also have extra electronics and wires hanging around. It’s best to keep these out of reach, especially if your cat is prone to scratching and nibbling.

    Costumes for Cats?
    Dressing your cat up for the festivities may seem like a good idea, but the simple truth is – your cat may just not like it. If your cat is hesitant to don that witch’s hat, it might be best to let him be. Many cats are intimidated or stressed by clothing and accessories. If your cat is skittish around new people or noises (ie. constant doorbell rings) he’ll already be a bit nervous. Adding strange clothing to the mix may not be the best idea.

    There’s room for joy for everyone in the family on Halloween! Keep this day of tricks and treats fun for all with these tips to keep your pets safe and sound.


    It Takes a Village: Donating to a Shelter

    cat relax


    Visiting your local animal shelter to adopt a new cat is a very joyful experience, but for many animal lovers, it can be difficult to not to leave with every pet you see. While you can’t bring every kitten home with you, you can bring the comforts of home to them! Most, if not all, animal shelters and humane societies rely on monetary, material, and time donations to keep day-to-day operations running smoothly. Before you run out to get a cart full of goodies there are a few things to keep in mind. Many shelters have rules or strong preferences about what can or cannot be accepted as a donation. You can avoid having donations refused by calling ahead or checking the shelter’s website to view their wish list. If your local shelter has set up an Amazon Wish List, you don’t even need to leave your home to donate their most needed items.


    For many shelters, food tops the donation wish list. Canned cat food, dry cat food, kitten food, and kitten formula are all welcome donations. Some shelters ask that only certain brands of food be donated. Though it may sound strange that they may refuse a food donation, sudden changes in diet can cause digestive troubles for cats. It’s also important to keep in mind that shelters are unable to accept food donations that are open or expired. If you’d like to donate an unopened bag of food that isn’t a brand your local shelter accepts, they may have a rescue partner or a family in-need program that will accept it.


    Bring the comforts of a loving home to the shelter with goodies to keep cats comfortable and happy. Shelters love donations of blankets, towels, scratching posts and cardboard scratching boards, cat beds, carriers, catnip, and cat toys. Your donated items should be clean and in good condition. Though shelter staff members and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure the comfort and happiness of all the animals, some cats may not adjust as well as others. Having a soft, cozy space and a fun toy can do wonders to cheer up shelter animals. As always, please check with the shelter to see what items they need the most.


    Beyond traditional volunteering and donations, you can donate your services to the shelter. Love taking photos or creating videos? Perhaps your local shelter or humane society would be interested in having you take portraits or videos of pets to be featured on their website. Are you a natural-born rallier? Use your skills of persuasion to help your shelter raise funds. There’s no end to the joy and usefulness that your natural skills can bring with a little creativity.


    A huge part of keeping animals happy is keeping them clean and well-groomed. Shelters can always use unscented clumping and non-clumping cat litter, litter boxes, metal flea combs, and grooming supplies like electric clippers. Of course, needs vary from shelter to shelter so please check your local shelter’s wish list. You can help your fluffy friends stay picture perfect and ready for adoption day.

    There are so many ways to contribute to the happiness and comfort of shelter animals: from food and photography services to grooming supplies and kitty litter. Even if you don’t have spare cash to donate material goods, shelters and humane societies are always looking for dedicated animal lovers that can spare some time. Without your love, donations, and volunteering shelters would have a difficult time caring for all of the animals that walk through their doors. It really does take a village.








    New Rules and Regulations for Prescriptions



    Virginia has updated their regulations in regards to controlled medication and opioid prescriptions.  If your pet is taking one of the following medications: Tramadol, Lomotil or Buprenex, please note the following changes in procedure.

    • Patients who are prescribed a controlled drug will require an exam every 6 months.
    • For acute pain (post-surgical or trauma) prescription cannot exceed 7 days. Additional medication can be prescribed but only after a follow-up examination.
    • For chronic conditions opioids may be prescribed beyond 14 days (excluding Buprenex) but cannot exceed a 30 day supply and the patient must be re-examined every 6 months. Buprenex can only be prescribed for up to 7 days without a follow-up examination.
    • Proper disposal of controlled drugs:  Improper disposal of prescribed opioids and other medications is harmful to humans and animals. To learn more about safe disposal of medications, visit http://www.VaAware.com.
    • We recommend controlled drugs be stored securely in a locked cabinet or container to help avoid accidental exposure or unauthorized use.

    Did you know that the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends vet visits every 6 months for your senior pet? Some medications that help your cat with pain and joint issues occasionally need to be adjusted and recheck appointments are important to ensure your cat is still benefiting from treatment.

    Noticing pain in your senior cat for the first time? Schedule an appointment with us today to discuss ways to help your cat age gracefully and comfortably.

    We thank you for your understanding as we uphold these new Virginia laws. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.


    The Team at Fancy Paws Cat Clinic


    Summertime Frozen Treats for Your Cat to Eat


    As the summer months march on, you may notice that your cat seems to get a little less interested in food. Whet your feline friend’s appetite with a homemade ice cold treat. You can prep these simple catsicles recipes at home in moments, pop them in the freezer overnight, and voila! A tasty way to combat the heat.

    Tuna Pops

    Have a can of tuna on hand? You can turn that odd can of tuna into a gourmet treat with the help of a blender and a little time. Simply place the tuna in the blender along with the water it was packed in and blend. You can use an ice cube tray or even dixie cups to hold the mixture.

    Cat-Friendly Ice Cream

    Feeling a little more ambitious? Treat your kitty to this feline-friendly ice cream recipe. With the milk and sugar, traditional ice cream isn’t good for kitties. This recipe uses Cat-sure, a specially formulated milk for adult cats. If your cat has a sensitive tummy and you have any questions about what kind of milk product you can use, ask your vet for recommendations at the next visit. Remember making ice cream in a Ziploc bag as a child? It’s the same fun, easy process.


    Don’t discount simplicity when making your cat a cool treat. Create a gourmet shaved ice treat by tossing in a bit of canned tuna, salmon, or wet cat food. Similarly, you can always take a can of your cat’s favorite wet food, slice or dice it up, and put it in the freezer until solid. No matter what summertime catsicle recipe you choose, your cool cat is sure to reward you with a little extra loving.