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Hampshire Veterinary Hospital

Additional Useful Information
 
Feeding cats: The largest animal eaten by these carnivores is a rabbit. This is light meat. Most other animals eaten by a cat are also light meat. Chicken, therefore, best simulates the cat's natural diet. Since a good day's hunting might be 3 chipmunks, the best quantity of chicken (chicken dinner for cats) to feed a cat is about 2 tablespoons 3 times per day. Chicken dinner for cats is meant for feeding to cats and is a nutritionally sound diet.
Constipation in animals is the product of their civilized living. Most pets do not work for a living and therefore tend to not exercise as much as they were born into this world to do. A "dab" (1/4 the volume of a raisin) of vaseline on the tongue of a cat or 1/3 tsp on the tongue of the average 40 lb dog will help move the feces through the bowel. Vaseline, since it doesn't mix with food, will not cause malabsorbtion of fat-soluble vitamins and other substances as is commonly feared by many people.  Objects that are slow moving in the digestive tract are often surrounded by fibrin by the bowel which further slows flow of ingesta through the bowel.  Vaseline decreases fibrin formation and, therefore, allows better propulsion of, especially foreign objects, through the bowel.  The stool is a special problem when the animal is shedding (when they are ingesting a lot of hair) and of course this is more of a problem in long haired or heavy coated animals.  Also in the winter, when animals snuggle up to heat sources, the gut movement decreases, adding to the slowing of ingesta through the bowel.  This often causes "hair ball" cough in the cat and "reverse sneezing" in the dog. It is best to allow your pet to be outdoors to shiver which increases abdominal tone and, consequently, gastrointestinal motility. This also changes yellow fat to brown fat which is used as a ready source of energy.
Spaying of female dogs and, probably cats is best performed after the first heat. This will be at a young enough age to allow them to be less likely to become overweight and be more like a puppy or kitten. But it is old enough to allow maturation of the immune system, which occurs during adolescence. It has been shown by investigators at the University of California Veterinary College at Davis that spaying or castrating at more than a year of age decrease the incidence of a few types of cancer and joint diseases.
Castration of males is best performed at more than a year of age. Waiting this amount of time will be favorable with regard to cancer and joint diseases as outlined above under spaying of females. This is a time when the epiphyses of the bones have fused and the growth of the bony structure of the body has reached its peak. The castrated male dog will still lift his leg to urinate but the castrated male cat will be much less likely to spray.
Fat Supplementation:
Dogs and cats have hairy coats so that they can have fun outdoors naked. They cannot do this in the cold weather, however, without shivering. Animals do not mind shivering and in fact, in the case of a cat who hunts standing still, shivering is an important part of the metabolic processes. During the act of shivering they mobilize fat from their fat depots. The resulting high concentration of fat in the blood is used, among other things, as fuel for the energy processes in the rapidly regenerating winter skin. The average civilized pet is not shivering much at all in the winter. If possible it would be best to put your cat outdoors even to shiver on the doorstep or in the cold garage for a few hours each day in the winter.