Common Health Conditions Found in Cats

Guest Post

From dermatitis to serious heart diseases, there are certain health conditions that cats are particularly susceptible to, and knowing how to spot the symptoms and implement the best methods of treatment can help your cat to remain in good health and in some cases, preserve life.

It is worth noting that certain breeds of cats are more prone to particular health conditions due to hereditary predispositions, and this can give your an indicator as to what particular symptoms to be alert to. Looking out for health problems can often prove be a tricky process with cats, as they will often try to mask their pain; being able to effectively spot these cover ups and making sure that you take your cat for regular veterinary checkups can ensure prompt, efficient treatment.

Treating and preventing health conditions

Health conditions can be triggered by a number of factors, including congential conditions, physical injury or trauma, age, obesity, infections and an imbalance of nutrients. The best treatment for a health condition involves the right nutrition, plenty of exercise and in some cases, medication.

More often than not, even if the health problem is not dietary-related, your cats condition can be significantly improved through a balanced diet of vitamins, minerals and nutrition. Specially formulated pet food, available from companies such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition, can ensure a happy, healthy and active life for your cat.

Consulting your vet on a regular basis and taking your cat for regularly health checkups is the best way to ensure your pet’s health remains in optimum condition.


Arthritis is a common health condition that affects senior cats, although it can be found in cats of any age. The condition is caused by general wear and tear of the cartilage, leading to abnormal bone movement. The symptoms of arthritis include stiff, swollen joints, tentative movement, limping, mobility difficulties or even anti-social behavioural changes.

Unfortunately, the effects of arthritis are irreversible, meaning that early prevention is crucial to prevent the need for surgery. By providing your cat with a nutritionally balanced diet, you can help improve the overall health and wellbeing of your cat, as well as enhancing joint health and facilitating an active lifestyle.

Dental disease

As cats are unable to clean their own teeth, an excess buildup of tartar can lead to dental problems. Signs of bad oral hygiene include a plague or a film across the teeth, bad breath and red or swollen gums, known as gingivitis. Such symptoms can signal a more serious underlying periodontal disease, and if not checked, can cause a cat’s gums to completely decay.

In the majority of cases, dental disease is however, both preventable and treatable. Regular veterinary oral checkups and cleaning sessions can help improve your cats dental health, as can feeding your cat dry, crunchy pet food to help clean their teeth through chewing. For more serious dental problems, your dentist will be able to recommend special formulated cat food to help with oral hygiene.

Skin conditions

Skin problems, or dermatitis, in cats can be caused by a number of factors, including allergic reactions, parasites, hormonal imbalances or bacterial infections. Symptoms of dermatitis include inflamed or irritated skin, hair loss, flaking and an excess of oil or dryness. The majority of skin conditions can usually be treated promptly and efficiently, whilst some require long-term care.

A diet that is high in protein, fatty acids (such as omega 3) and antioxidants is beneficial for skin regeneration and can reduce the effects of food allergies or intolerances, prevent dryness and ensure a healthy immune system that will enhance skin condition.

Internal diseases

Cats can also develop diseases that are common in humans, such as heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease. Common causes of internal disease in cats include increasing age, obesity, breed, nutritional deficiencies, infections or cancer. Although may organ diseases are incurable, early detection and prevention can ensure a prolonged, healthier life for your cat.

Diseases in cats are often accompanied by the following common symptoms:  visible signs of sickness including vomiting or diarrhoea, respiratory problems, change in appetite, bad breath, excessive weight gain or weight loss and a decreased level of energy.

Damage to a cat’s essential organs can often be life-threatening, and if you begin to notice or suspect symptoms of a developing disease in your cat, it is important that you consult your vet immediately to determine the most suitable method of treatment.

Christmas buyers beware: Canadian women saying no to fur

VANCOUVER – Black Friday marks the start of Christmas shopping season in Canada – and a national animal advocacy group has an important reminder for shoppers.

“Our data is showing that the majority of Canadian women – 57 per cent – are saying that wearing real fur is unacceptable,” says Michael Howie, spokesperson for The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (APFA). “Further, 63 per cent of those polled have no fur at all in their homes, and of those who do, 49 per cent acquired the fur at least six years or more ago.”

The survey, conducted by Insights West, shows that as Black Friday shopping begins – ironically on international fur-free day – consumers should purchase humane clothing alternatives.

“As we launched our #MakeFurHistory campaign, which highlighted the inherently inhumane conditions of Canadian fur farms, we saw more and more people taking the fur-free pledge,” Howie adds. “It is clear to us that as people learn the truth about the fur industry, they are making the choice to go fur-free. With Christmas shopping getting underway, we want consumers to have this information so they make humane and appropriate gift decisions.”

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals also strongly recommends examining product descriptions and sewn-in tags to ensure that faux furs truly are synthetic or organic alternatives.

“We have, in the past, found products listed as faux-fur that were using real fur,” Howie notes. “With weak labelling laws in Canada, it is often best to just avoid fur altogether – particularly when buying a gift for a loved one who, statistically, has a strong chance of being opposed to fur.”

15 Staffies Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary is trying to find homes. Oxford Mail interactive graphic telling you about each dog

Oxford Mail:

Every dog has his day but staff at Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary are hoping their Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a special month.

The Stadhampton-based sanctuary is looking after 17 Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and this month has been running Happy Staffy Month in a bid to find them new homes…

Animal rights protesters in Nepal seek to stop Gadhimai festival sacrifice


Animal rights protesters in Nepal are making last-ditch efforts to disrupt the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of animals including buffaloes, sheep and goats in the name of a Hindu goddess on Friday.

Every five years, pilgrims flock to the temple of the goddess Gadhimai in the small Nepalese border town of Bariyarpur to behead vast quantities of livestock over two days, creating scenes of carnage that revolt opponents of the practice…

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Brighton & Hove City Council takes national lead on responsible pet selling

The Animal Protection Agency (APA) has today praised Brighton & Hove City Council for adopting measures to reduce impulse purchasing of pets. APA has encouraged councils to adopt an initiative to facilitate informed decision making when animals are purchased from pet shops, and Brighton & Hove Council is the first in Britain to take up the scheme.

Many exotic pets continue to be mis-marketed as ‘easy to keep’ and this ultimately leads to widespread animal suffering. The APA is promoting a user-friendly, scientific species assessment system, which categorises animals as ‘easy’, ‘moderate’, ‘difficult’ or ‘extreme’ according to how challenging they are to keep. The four categories form the acronym ‘EMODE’, which gives the system its name. By answering a few questions contained in the EMODE leaflet, shoppers can obtain a reliable gauge as to how much commitment will be required in taking on any new pet. From the start of the new licensing year on January 1st 2015, the Council will ask local pet shops to hand an EMODE leaflet to anyone thinking of buying a pet.

The EMODE scheme was comprehensively voted in at a Licensing Committee meeting on 20th November 2014 with cross-party support, and Green Party members took the lead in working closely with officers throughout. The APA has also praised the Environmental Health and Licensing Team for their commitment to promoting more responsible pet selling.

Says Elaine Toland, Director of the Animal Protection Agency:
“As a Brighton-based organization that helped to develop EMODE we are particularly proud that the initiative has been adopted on our doorstep and we are looking forward to pet shops taking this on. In my view, pet shops that hand out the EMODE leaflet signal their commitment to responsible pet selling and should inspire greater confidence in prospective purchasers. We are delighted that EMODE is rapidly gaining support and has also received the ‘thumbs up’ from UK central government.”

Says Stephanie Powell, Green Councillor and Licensing Committee Chair:
“Impulse buying of pets, especially exotic animals, is the root cause of a whole raft of animal welfare and environmental problems. It was therefore very important for the Greens to ensure Brighton & Hove City Council genuinely tackle this issue by adopting the EMODE initiative. This is the first Council in Britain to do so and I hope many more follow our lead.”

At the Licensing Committee Hearing, Jeane Lepper, Opposition Spokesperson for Labour, expressed her view that wild animals should not be traded as pets. She said that as long as there was a demand for exotic animals the Council would need to fully use its powers to regulate the trade as best it could. She hoped that this was an issue that would keep coming back to Committee.

The APA was also pleased that the Committee voted against adopting the recently published ‘Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing’, which has been severely criticized for being unscientific and too closely linked to vested pet trade organisations.

Celebrity guests set to turn out for multi-award winning action-documentary Lion Ark landing in London’s West End

Special guests including Bill Oddie, Alexei Sayle, Gillian McKeith, Celia Hammond and Bollywood actress Sofia Hayat are set to attend a glitzy gala screening and celebrity fundraiser in Leicester Square on Saturday December 6th for LION ARK, the multi-award winning critically-acclaimed documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from Bolivian circuses. Following sell out screenings at film festivals around the world, LION ARK is now screening in cinemas across the UK.

WHEN: Saturday December 6th, 6pm
WHERE: Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY

LION ARK Trailer:

More action adventure style than traditional documentary, feel-good movie LION ARK charts one of the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescues, as a team from Britain’s Animal Defenders International (ADI) swoops on eight illegal circuses spread across Bolivia following a ban.

The story begins when ADI secures a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia following a two-year undercover investigation across South America. The shocking findings lead to public outrage and calls for action across the continent. Bolivia is the first to act. Now ADI must help the government enforce the law. The team journey across a vast, hostile terrain to track down the illegal circuses defying the new law, save the animals and bring them to safety, and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom in the US.

LION ARK Producer and rescue leader Jan Creamer said: “People have been gripped by the way Lion Ark covers a serious issue about saving animals from circuses, but in a uniquely exciting and enjoyable way. The British public can be very proud that the seeds of this historic operation were sown at Animal Defenders International’s headquarters in London, which makes Lion Ark’s West End gala screening a very special event indeed.”

A smash hit on the international film festival circuit, LION ARK is told through live action interviews, in the moment, as events unfold. This is up close and personal, in the thick of the action; you are as close as you can get to these animals and to understanding their life in the circus and feel the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through their incredible mission.

LION ARK is receiving rave reviews from critics, including “Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability” (The New York Times); “Born Free with balls on… unmissable” (Britflicks); “Compelling cinema verité” (The Hollywood Reporter); “a story of passion and sensitivity; of liberation and determination” (The Telegraph); “this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent.” (ACED Magazine); “the feel-good movie of the year!” (Reel Talk); “One of your must–see films” (The Independent Critic); “A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary” (The Ecologist); “thoroughly rewarding” (TV and Film Review).

LION ARK Director Tim Phillips said: “The response to Lion Ark has been fantastic, receiving standing ovations, armfuls of awards and sell-out shows around the world and we are looking forward to welcoming so many celebrity supporters at the gala screening. This special event is open to the public so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the uplifting animal magic of Lion Ark on the big screen in London’s Leicester Square, and meet the rescue team directly from their latest mission in Peru.”

A similarly ambitious rescue operation – Spirit of Freedom – is now underway in Peru, where ADI is once again assisting authorities to enforce an animal circus ban, having successfully secured legislation. ADI currently has 30 lions, 9 primates and several other animals in its care, and audiences will hear the very latest news from rescue team leaders LION ARK Director Tim Phillips and Producer Jan Creamer, who have come straight from their latest mission to hold Q&A sessions following each screening across the UK.

The LION ARK rescue mission was backed by legendary and Emmy award-winning US TV ‘Price is Right’ game show host Bob Barker and CSI actress Jorja Fox (‘Sara Sidle’), whose company Seafox Productions is an Associate Producer and both appear in the film. Bob Barker’s support enabled the rescue team to empty Bolivia of its suffering circus animals and build new homes for them in the US.

LION ARK has recently been signed into distribution for television, video on demand, DVD / Blu Ray and in-flight entertainment with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, one of the world’s leading distribution companies which has its own channels in Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East, including flagship ITV broadcasting in 40 countries.

Since opening at Raindance, London and Mill Valley Film Festival, California, LION ARK has taken the film festival circuit by storm with sell out shows, six awards, official selections for 14 prestigious film festivals, and an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding International Motion Picture.

Tickets for LION ARK screenings at UK cinemas including the West End gala and celebrity fundraiser are on sale now. Tickets for the gala start at just £11:

Cruelty Free International win Sustainable Beauty Award in Paris for being a Sustainability Pioneer

Cruelty Free International has been declared a winner at the Sustainable Beauty Awards 2014 in the prestigious Sustainability Pioneer category. The award requires evidence of a positive social, economic and environmental impact and a significant contribution to sustainable development in the beauty industry.

Accepting the award in Paris last night, Karen Hoyland, Cruelty Free International’s Head of Development, talked briefly about its founding organisation, the BUAV, and its twenty year campaign for a cruelty-free Europe and the success it is now making campaigning to end animal testing for cosmetics in every country in the world.

Karen said: “We are so proud to be recognised as a pioneer for working towards the end of animal testing in the global beauty industry. And we’re pleased to see that one of our Leaping Bunny certified companies, Neal’s Yard Remedies, is joining us as a runner up!”

Cruelty Free International is the only global organization solely dedicated to ending the use of animals to test cosmetics and consumer products throughout the world. Working with governments, regulators, companies and partner organisations worldwide to achieve effective long-lasting change for animals. It continues the work of its founding organisation, the BUAV, which led the twenty year campaign with EU partners to achieve the European Union ban on animal testing for cosmetics.


Campaigners await high court decision on industry bid to overturn EU cosmetics animal testing ban

LONDON – (24 Nov. 2014) At the High Court today, animal protection group Humane Society International condemned an attempt by EFfCI, ingredient suppliers to the cosmetics industry, to undermine the EU’s historic cosmetics animal testing ban. The Court has deferred its judgment, expected in a few weeks.

HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign is the world’s leading initiative for a global end to animal testing for cosmetics, which was instrumental in securing implementation of the EU ban on sales of animal-tested cosmetics on 11 March 2013. The campaigners held a rabbit flash-mob outside the European Commission in Brussels to present nearly half a million petition signatures. #BeCrueltyFree is backed by stars such as Sir Paul McCartney, Leona Lewis and Melanie C.

The High Court action was brought by the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients, a trade association representing more than 100 specialty chemical producers who supply ingredients to cosmetics manufacturers. EFfCI’s legal challenge is seeking to allow EU cosmetics companies to use results from new animal testing conducted in non-EU countries to meet non-EU regulations. HSI says this would undermine EU legislation banning the sale of ingredients tested on animals after 11 March 2013, and would mean that almost no animal testing would actually be prohibited.

Emily McIvor, Policy Director for HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign, said from the High Court: “The cosmetics industry’s legal challenge on the EU’s historic cosmetics animal testing ban, is self-serving and greedy. Consumers will be outraged that industry is trying to undermine this world-leading ban that says subjecting rabbits and other animals to painful and lethal testing for cosmetics is unacceptable, no matter where in the world it takes place. We urge the Court to reject industry’s case and uphold the EU ban on cosmetics cruelty.”

It is unknown whether EFfCI was acting alone, or whether its member chemical or cosmetics companies benefiting from the anonymity of their trade association membership are behind the legal challenge. EFfCI’s Associate Members include the UK’s BACS Personal Care Group representing around 120 members including Marks & Spencer and The Co-operative Group – both certified as cruelty-free by the international Leaping Bunny standard.

HSI’s Emily McIvor said: “As this legal action has been fronted by a trade association, it’s impossible to know which companies are really behind it. If cruelty-free company associate members were unaware that their trade association has been attempting to undermine the EU’s cosmetics animal testing ban, we would expect them to be very alarmed indeed.”

HSI estimates that between 100,000 – 200,000 rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other animals suffer each year in cosmetics tests globally. These involve rabbits being restrained and having chemicals dripped in their eyes, guinea pigs having raw chemicals applied to their shaved skin, and rodents having chemicals pumped directly into their stomach in huge and even lethal doses. Such animal testing, and the sale of cosmetics so tested, is now outlawed throughout the 28 countries of the EU, EFTA States, Israel and India. #BeCrueltyFree campaigning has also resulted in legislative proposals for similar bans in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Taiwan and the United States.


  • #BeCrueltyFree is the largest campaign in the world to end cosmetics animal testing, supported by stars such as Leona Lewis, Rick Gervais and Melanie C
  • More than 1 million #BeCrueltyFree pledges have been signed so far for a worldwide end to cosmetics cruelty
  • There are more than 600 cosmetics companies certified as cruelty-free under the international Leaping Bunny scheme
  • An estimated 8,000 or more cosmetic ingredients are already available and in widespread global use. Companies can manufacture cosmetics without animal testing by combining existing ingredients with histories of safe use — for which no new testing is required — with state-of-the-art non-animal tests
  • An ever-growing number of non-animal tests are available and accepted by regulatory authorities worldwide, including the human reconstructed skin models EpiDerm™ and EPISKIN™ for skin irritation, the Fluroescein Leakage test for eye irritation, and the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake test for sunlight-induced phototoxicity.

BUAV condemns rise in animal experiments in Northern Ireland

The BUAV has today criticised a 7% increase in the number of animals used in experiments in Northern Ireland during 2013. Statistics published recently by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland have shown that a total of 18,638 animals were used in 19,860 experiments in 2013.

The 2013 figures also reveal increases in the number of experiments using genetically modified animals (5% to 6,869 experiments ) and animals bred with a harmful genetic defect (7% to 664 experiments).

There were also other increases in experiments using mice (12,211 experiments, a 0.5% increase), hamsters (20 experiments, a 900% increase), rabbits (92 experiments, a 33% increase), pigs (1,007 experiments, a 125% increase), birds (2,095 experiments, a 106% increase), amphibians (18 experiments, a 200% increase) and fish (521 experiments, a 479% increase).

The BUAV is additionally concerned about the re-use of an unknown number of cats and dogs who had been used in previous years. In 2013, the cats were subjected to 87 new experiments and the dogs were subjected to 73 new experiments.

The majority of experiments in Northern Ireland took place within universities (66%) and constituted fundamental biological research (80% of experiments). According to requests made by the BUAV under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000, the University of Ulster stated it had used 1,389 animals and Queen’s University Belfast stated it had used 11,772 animals in research during 2013.

Dr Katy Taylor Head of Science at the BUAV, said: “It is very disappointing, that after all the Government’s promises to reduce animal experiments, there should be this rise in Northern Ireland. We have seen that recent published work by universities includes harmful experiments on animals to study obesity, pain and anxiety, which the BUAV believes can be studied more ethically and realistically using human volunteers. These universities should be pioneering humane alternatives instead of relying on outdated and cruel animal experiments.”


Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Northern Ireland 2013: