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Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Monitor for lethargy, nasal discharge, ocular discharge or loss of appetite. See your vet if you notice any of these signs. Rule out allergies or respiratory infection if the symptoms worsen. This may require, blood work, chest xrays or advanced diagnostics such as a trans tracheal wash with culture or head CT/MRI.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

If your cat is sneezing a lot for several days or if she shows other signs of being sick, you should take her to the veterinarian to be examined. She may have developed a respiratory infection, which is quite common in cats. A round of antibiotics should help her get back to her usual self.
Coughing is often mistaken for choking. Cats may cough if they have hairballs, asthma, or heartworm disease. If your cat is coughing, you should have it checked out by your veterinarian. Choking, on the other hand, is a dire situation for which you should seek immediate veterinary care.
Ragdoll kitten sneezing is a common occurrence. Every Ragdoll kitten we have bought into our home goes through a short period of sneezing as they adjust to their new environment. However, if the sneezing continues longer than a few days there may be other reasons why your kitten is sneezing.
Cat coughing combined with sneezing may indicate an upper respiratory infection. Infection of the nasal passages leads to sneezing and a snotty nose, but some of the discharge flows back into the throat, producing a cough. Symptoms may include: Sneezing.
Ragdolls can also be affected by a lower respiratory tract problem known as feline asthma, which occurs when allergies and irritants cause the lower airways (bronchi) and lungs to become inflamed and sensitive. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing.
Sneezing is a common symptom of upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats. Often referred to as the “common cold” or the “cat flu”, upper respiratory infections can be viral, bacterial and even fungal, although that`s less common.
If your cat is coughing and nothing is coming out, it can indicate illness, allergies, or asthma. Pay attention to the other symptoms your cat has, including how often they`re coughing and the type of cough they have. Speak to your vet if you feel like your cat is getting worse.
What are the Symptoms of a Ragdoll with a Hairball? When a cat licks their fur, the hair goes through its digestive system and is then eliminated. Sometimes when there is too much fur in the cat`s stomach, they will vomit the hairball.
Like all cats, Ragdolls are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections such as panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and rabies, which are preventable through vaccination.
They`re friendly in an understated way, often gently greeting newcomers and familiar friends alike, and they`ll follow their people around the house with puppy-like curiosity. The Ragdoll is a relatively healthy breed with just a few known health issues: Obesity. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease.
Signs can include coughing, heavy breathing, wheezing, sneezing, poor appetite or anorexia, weight loss, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and ocular or nasal discharge. “Signs may be more pronounced in kittens due to their immature immune system.”
If you don`t notice any of these more severe symptoms but are still concerned, it never hurts for your cat to get a checkup and ease your mind! If the coughing or sneezing is frequent (more than once per week) or fits are severe or prolonged, it is time to call your vet.
Average Ragdoll Cat Lifespan

The lifespan range you may expect from a Ragdoll cat ranges anywhere from about 12 years up to 23 years of age. Cats living between 20-25 years of age is not unheard of.

The average Ragdoll cat will live between 12-15 years. Regular check-ups with a vet are essential for the health and longevity of any pedigree cat.
If your cat is sneezing more than normal, it`s more than likely that your feline friend has an upper respiratory infection or URI. The most widespread respiratory infection is Feline Herpesvirus or FHV. It`s estimated that as many as 80-90% of all cats are infected with FHV.
As a general rule, if your cat`s sneezing is prolonged or accompanied by other symptoms (greenish nasal discharge, watery eyes, lethargy, or loss of appetite), it`s best to make an appointment with your vet.
Ragdolls tend to have sensitive tummies, so it`s imperative to keep them on a healthy diet throughout their lifetime.
Hairballs usually occur either because cats are ingesting an excessive amount of hair or because their gastrointestinal tract is not moving hair through the body normally.
Lungworm is a parasite that infects your cat`s lungs. There are several types of parasites that cause infection, but the most common is Aelurostrongylus abstrusus. Others include Eucoleus aerophilus, also called Capillaria aerophila, and Troglostrongylus brevoir.
Hairballs may be a fact of cat life, but more than two a year can mean trouble. A cat`s digestive system should be able to handle a normal load of fur, most of the time. More than two hairballs a year, or any of the following symptoms are a cause for concern, and should be addressed by the veterinarian.
The general consensus is that cats should produce no more than one hairball per week, no matter their coat length. So, if your cat is vomiting hairballs more frequently, retching without any production, or not eating, schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.
Are Ragdoll cats good for allergies? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Some breeders advertise their Ragdolls as hypoallergenic, but all cats can cause an allergic reaction. Even though Ragdolls shed less, they still produce the Fel d 1 protein, which causes allergies in people.
How do I calculate a cat`s age in human years? According to the American Hospital Association (AAHA), the first year of a cat`s life can be considered the equivalent of 15 human years. What is this? The following year adds an additional 9 years to a cat`s life in human years.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart disease in cats and an important cause of morbidity and mortality.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. I have a cat that defecates in the litter box but always urinates outside the box. It is very annoying.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat will not stop going to the toilet on my carpet, bed, washing pile etc.. Also uses its litter box occasionally? I don’t understand why this is?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.
If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.
The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. Our cat of six years has on two separate occasions has defecated on the living room rug and recently pee’d on the skirt of the Christmas tree.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat started to pee outside the litter box. What should I do?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate bathroom use in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his defecating outside the box.

Once medical issues are ruled out, it’s time to take a look at other explanations. Has there been a lot of activity that wasn’t normal? Were you away and your cat was left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox located in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet, or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Have you changed the brand of litter or kind? Or is there something about the spot he has chosen to use that is attracting him in some way? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction.

The general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped at least daily, if not more often and changed completely on a weekly basis, and washed with soap and water.

You can also offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystal kind, since it makes a hissing sound when wet that can startle some cats and make them reluctant to use it again.

The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litterbox. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation.

Q. My cat is pooping outside of the litter bix. He is 2 1/2. He did this as a kitten. It stopped then started about 3 months ago. Litterbox is clean.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination or house soiling can be a frustrating problem but with a bit of detective work on your part, there is hope. First, before deciding that this is a behavioral issue, any medical problems (diarrhea, constipation, fecal incontinence, pain on defecation, etc.) need to be ruled out and/or treated. If your cat receives a clean bill of health from your vet but is still eliminating outside the litterbox, then we need to consider that something about the box itself might be aversive to your cat. Cats can be quite finicky about their litterbox and toileting habits. Below I have listed common recommendations and cat preferences for litterbox use. Review the list and make any changes that could account for your cat’s aversion to defecating in the litterbox:
* Soft, fine-grained clumping litter (vs, coarse-grained, non-clumping litter)
* Unscented
* 1 – 1 1/2 inch depth (especially older cats or cats with hip problems)
* Larger pans (especially for large cats) – want to get whole body inside – poop just outside the box might mean the box is too small
* Open, non-hooded
* At least one shallow side to get in and out easily
* Easy to get to – not hidden away, preferably in areas they spend time in or near – and not near appliances that make scary, unpredictable noises (washers, dryers, refrigerators)
* Scoop minimum 1X/day – preferably 2
* Clean the litterbox with soap and water and put in fresh scoopable litter at least once/month (instead of just continuously adding)
* Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in a separate box, so you may need 2 boxes even if you just have 1 cat. Multi-cat households should have 1 box/cat plus 1 extra.

Q. My cat seems to have lost control of her bowels and no longer uses her litter box even to urinate. She is 5 or 6 yrs and is in good health otherwise
ANSWER : A. If your cat has had a sudden change in litter box habits, it is always a good idea to rule out any underlying issues with a wellness check from your vet. Bringing in a urine and stool sample if possible can also help as tests can be run on these samples to check for common infections or parasites. If these are present, treating them usually helps resolve the problem of not using the box.

Loss of bowel control usually results in dribbling of feces or urine rather than complete accidents. If you are seeing this, it is possible that an injury to the hind end or problem with the nerves or muscles is happening and should be looked at by your vet.

If the accidents are complete (full amount of stool, big puddle of urine) your cat may be choosing not to use the litter box due to illness, a too-dirty litter, litter pans that are too tall (which may make older cats have a harder time getting in and out), or a litter substrate that was changed too suddenly. Sometimes, changing the environment your cat’s litter box is in by lowering the sides, moving food and water dishes away and returning back to a previously liked litter can help.

In any area of an accident, an enzymatic cleaner should be used. These break down urine and stool particles, making it so that your cat is less likely to be attracted to going there again. Moving stools to the litter box can also entice your cat to start going there again.

Q. Cat is deficating on rugs, not litter box. Has never done this until this year. We drove from NY to FL, could there be a connection?
ANSWER : A. Sudden changes in bowel or litter box behavior can be caused by both behavioral or medical reasons. Scheduling a wellness exam with your local vet to rule out any problems (and also to bring in a stool sample) is the best first step. Problems such as digestive upset, constipation, diarrhea or even arthritis in older cats making it harder to get into the box can all cause this problem.

If your cat checks out healthy, it is possible that stress such as another person or pet in the home, age, or environment are causing the problem. Make sure that the litter used is the same, and if it needs to be changed that it is done gradually- cats are very picky about what they like as litter. Making sure bedding, food and water are not too close to the litter can also help as cats do not like to potty near these objects usually. For arthritic cats, a step or lowered box can make getting in and out easier to allow for proper use of the box. Keeping the box clean is also a must for cats.

As for cleaning up accidents, using a product such as an enzymatic cleaner may be helpful. These products break down urine and stool particles left in the accident area, and may deter your cat from using the spot as a bathroom again.

Q. My cat continues to scratch on furniture and carpets. He has plenty of scratching posts around the house. Please help!
ANSWER : A. Scratching is a natural behavior in cats that can be frequently frustrating for pet owners who want to keep their furniture from being shredded on a constant basis. The texture of furniture and carpet is very appealing to cats and this why they frequently choose to spend their time on this activity as opposed to playing with their own cat toys. Here are some suggestions to help curb this unwanted behavior:

1. Purchase a cat scratching post or cat tree that is covered in carpeted or textured material. Place it in an appealing spot that your cat would be inclined to spend time (eg. in the sun). You can also place catnip on the scratching post or cat tree to make your cat even more interested in the new object.

2. You can utilize double sided tape on the ends of the furniture because you cat will not like the sticky feeling and will learn to not scratch in that region. Use the tape that has a lighter adhesive in order to prevent any permanent damage. Other materials, such as aluminum foil or bubble wrap can also be placed on the furniture to discourage the scratching.

3. Keep nails trimmed short by either learning to do this on your own at home or using a veterinary technician, or groomer. Nails can usually be trimmed every 6-8 weeks.

4. Redirect the unwanted behavior. If your cat begins scratching, use a favorite or new toy to distract the cat from the scratching. Give your cat positive praise for not scratching.

5. As a last resort you can use a spray bottle full of water to spritz your cat when he or she is scratching inappropriately at your furniture. Generally, cats do not like water and this will discourage them from continuing the behavior.

Have patience with your cat because it can takes time to understand this is an unwanted behavior and that furniture is not another toy for them to use. You can always consult your veterinary or veterinary behaviorist to help with ideas or further solutions to this problem.

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