What’s new at Cats at Home?

Nicholas’ internet debut:

Out hospital kitty, Nicholas has got his paws on his very own Instagram account! Follow him at @nicholascah for fun and photos from the point of view of a hospital cat!



Digital Radiography -update.  Latest system with best technology.

In September 2011, we installed a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly Digital X-ray unit in the Cats at Home hospital. The new equipment improved our radiology program with better contrasting radiographs (x-ray images) that are instantly viewable to the Doctor, and allows for electronic transfer of radiographs to our consultants.  Over the last 5 years there have been dramatic improvements in the equipment and in May 2016 we decided to install an up todate system.  The image quality is far superior and we still have the capacity to transfer images to other locations as well as now we can review our images in any location we choose.  Dr. Head has agreed that the quality is much better for diagnosing.

In Hospital Laboratory Equipment Update.  Cats at Home has been doing in-house testing for many years because we can have faster results in order to treat sick cats in a timely manner.  In May 2016 we decided to update our laboratory equipment.  Laboratory equipment has continued to improve over the last 5 years and improved accuracy, quality and enhanced diagnostics convinced Cats at Home to review and replace our Hematology and our chemistry analysers.  This will ensure more accurate information to allow our Doctors to treat appropriately and sooner than if we were to wait for outside labs to return their results.

Pekoe’s Television Debut

Our very own Pekoe was featured on CMT’s “Pet Heros” in October 2011. The episode tells his life story and talks about his contribution to saving other cats lives through his role as a blood donor. Also featured is our handsome feline client “Louie”, one of the recipients of Pekoe’s blood.

Click here to watch CMT’s “Pet Heroes” featuring a story about Pekoe.

Click here to read “Pekoe’s Story”.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Maine Coon and Ragdoll Cats

Heart disease is a common problem in cats of all ages. It usually occurs as a result of cardiomyopathy – a disease affecting heart muscle or endocardiosis – a disease affecting the valves between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. In both diseases cardiac muscle fibres are stretched. If a cat has suffered from heart disease for a prolonged period of time it can lead to congestive heart failure, a syndrome in which the heart muscle can no longer pump all the blood required by the body.

In cats, signs of heart disease include exercise intolerance, lethargy, fainting, cold limbs, weakness or paralysis in the hind limbs, and coughing or problems breathing. As with other medical problems, cats are very good at hiding these clinical signs and consequently heart disease is often not diagnosed until it is in an advanced stage. It is beneficial to diagnosis heart disease as early as possible in order to apply treatment. In the past, veterinarians have relied on physical examination and cardiac auscultation, chest x-rays and electrocardiograms (EKG/ECG) to detect heart disease followed up by an echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound) to confirm the diagnosis.

For more information please visit Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine web site at:

Did You Ever Wonder Why Cats Need To Go To The Veterinarian?

news1There are more cats in Canada as pets than there are dogs, however fewer cats visit Veterinarians. Some speculate that Cats are more independent and don’t need the same care and attention. Cats don’t like change and may create a big fuss if they are kenneled and driven to the hospital for an exam. The truth is they need medical care just like us and a significant issue is that Cats age faster than people. Cats age about 4-5 years to our one year so a 10 year old cat is actually 56 years old. Even though your cat may project a healthy life at home it is important to have the Veterinarian examine them as they are very good at hiding sickness. Obvious visits are for vaccines and boosters to help protect them from exposure to various viruses, but because they can hide symptoms, only the expertise of the Veterinarian will be able to detect issues they are not telling you about. Cats are predators and so they don’t want to show signs of weakness.

The Veterinary visit is also important for the welfare of your family. Cats can harbour parasites and some of these are transmittable to people. Young children, people with immune compromised health, and seniors are at risk if they pick up one of the parasites carried by cats.

Finally the visit to the hospital gives you the opportunity to ask questions about certain behaviours and health related issues like aging and food choices. Having your cat seen by the Vet regularly reduces their fear and makes the visit more enjoyable.

Ten Signs That Your Cat May Be Sick or in Pain

  1. Inappropriate elimination
  2. Change in interaction with people or other pets
  3. Change in activity level
  4. Change in sleeping habits
  5. Change in food or water consumption
  6. Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  7. Change in grooming habits
  8. Signs of stress
  9. Change in vocalization
  10. Bad breath

Check out for helpful information.

BOOK REVIEW by Dr. Susan Thompson Cats at Home Feline Hospital

TITLE: Complete and Balanced 101 Healthy Home-made Meals for Cats by Hilary Watson, B.Sc. Guelph Ontario.

This book is designed to be used with Hilary’s Blend for Cats Supplement produced by HW Veterinary Nutrition Inc., Guelph, Ontario. (

According to the author, she has worked as a pet nutritionist for over 20 years and used food formulation software to develop this supplement “the first and only vitamin mineral prebiotic supplement specifically designed to balance home-made recipes”.

I was initially quite skeptical not only about the supplement but also about home cooking for cats, given the cat’s requirement for a carnivorous diet containing essential amino acids and fatty acids that the cat is unable to make themselves. However, she found this book to be extremely informative and an easy interesting read.

The first 11 chapters address all the basic principles of feline nutrition with accuracy. Then Ms Watson follows up with 101 Feline Recipes based on different protein sources, senior vs kitten, low calorie, single antigen, and even low oxalate formulations. Each recipe is accompanied by a very complex nutritional analysis of protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and fibre as well as a feeding guide.

I would highly recommend this book for all cat caregivers even if you don’t plan on home-cooking. It will give you a much greater appreciation for the complexities of formulating commercial cat food and who knows, you may be inspired to try out a recipe rather than giving your cat cooked chicken which is not “complete and balanced.”

This book and the supplements are available at our hospital. Please call if you wish to purchase one. Dr. Susan Thompson

Does your cat have hairballs?

news2All cats groom, whether they be our pampered domestic housecats, or 600 pound tigers. BUT, hairballs are rare in zoo cats.

Adult housecats will groom an average of 3.6 hours per day, or approximately 25% of waking hours. Their barbed tongue removes loose hair, which is then swallowed.

If 25% of waking hours is the “normal” grooming time for cats, there are some cats who fall outside of this norm.

Cats may groom less if they suffer from pain or stiffness, such as arthritis, or if they are feeling “under the weather,” and like me when I’ve got the flu, they just don’t care how they look!

Cats may groom more than 3.6 hours per day if they suffer from parasites, allergies, illness, pain, or stress.

Normal groomers and undergroomers should not have hairballs, ever. Overgroomers MAY have hairballs.

Click here to read more

A Street Cat Named Bob Book Review

StreetCatBook Review by Dr. Susan Thompson

A Street Cat Named Bob

Bowen, James 2012. Hodder and Stoughton, Great Britain.

Most of us who love cats, love to read books about cats too. So when one of my staff told me I would really enjoy this book, she was right. However, there is something about this story that is truly heart warming and affirms for me the role a cat may have in a human’s life experience.

This is the true story of James, a street musician and young man very much down on his luck in London, England. In 2007 Bob, a ginger cat, adopts James and shows him that he can in fact find a better path through life.

This heart warming story has been released on screen.  Look for it at your local cinema.