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Welcome to our common “Ask the Cat Doc With Dr. Lynn Bahr” section! As soon as a month, Dr. Bahr solutions as lots of your questions as she will be able to, and you’ll depart new questions for her in a remark.
Dr. Bahr is a 1991 graduate of the College of Georgia’s School of Veterinary Medication and founding father of Dezi & Roo, an organization that designs, manufactures, and sells solution-based merchandise that improve the lives of cats and their house owners. She volunteers at quite a few animal-related charities and causes and serves on the Worry Free Advisory Board, the Parliamentarian of the Society of Veterinary Medical Ethics, the Cat Committee of the Pet Skilled Guild, and the Alley Cat Allies’ Feline Ahead Process Pressure.
Dr. Bahr is co-author of Indoor Cat: The best way to Enrich Their Lives and Broaden Their World, obtainable from Amazon.
For extra details about Dezi & Roo and their distinctive and revolutionary cat toys, please go to Dezi and Roo on Etsy.
We solely had one query final month, a few kitty with cerebellar hypoplasia, additionally know as wobbly cat syndrome. When you’re not accustomed to this situation, it’s a neurological dysfunction that causes sudden jerky actions, uncoordinated movement and lack of stability. In a CH cat, the mind doesn’t develop correctly. This could occur when the pregnant mom has the feline panleukopenia virus (feline distemper) and passes it alongside to her unborn offspring. CH is neither contagious nor painful, and with some lodging, cats with this situation can have full and joyful lives.
The best way to encourage a kitty with CH to play
Hello Dr Bahr,
I’m a first-time cat mother to my all-black humane society buddy and I simply love him to items! I ended ingesting on February 12, 2021 and accomplished 3 months of inpatient rehab. I needed a companion pet, however I knew a canine was out of the query. I made a decision on a cat and had no concept of what was in retailer for me! I fell in love together with his pic and knew I needed to undertake him! The individuals on the adoption place didn’t know precisely how previous he was as a result of he was discovered together with his mother and siblings in a barn. I picked him out once I acquired there after which went to attend within the room for us to be launched. The girl put him on the ground so he might discover, and I noticed straight away that his stroll was off. They girl defined that the little man picked up an an infection from his mother known as Cerebellar Hypoplasia, which makes him stroll humorous. So, I’m trying down at this fuzzy, feisty little fur ball take just a few steps, his legs would give out a little bit, however that didn’t cease him in any respect! He was shifting as quick as these little legs would carry him, he’d stumble over a bit, then get proper again up! My coronary heart melted! I picked him up and thought he would possibly get upset as a result of he needed to play, but it surely was nearly as if we knew one another already! He put his head on my chest and began purring and he hasn’t stopped! I informed the girl that as quickly as he began strolling, I used to be offered! It’s okay that he doesn’t transfer as effectively different cats; I used to be going to ensure he lives his finest life! He jogs my memory of mindset I had once I first acquired dwelling from rehab; it doesn’t matter what knocks you down, it solely wins in the event you don’t get again up. So, get again up! I’ll have had him for 1 yr on October 1 and he’s doing very well! What I’m questioning is, what sorts of issues can I let him do that can make up for that indisputable fact that he can’t go exterior unattended? The climate is getting higher and that i need to let him go exterior, however together with his strolling and coordination points, he gained’t be capable to get himself out of a foul state of affairs or defend himself. He doesn’t actually get pleasure from toys for very lengthy, if he pays consideration to them in any respect! I need him to be to get pleasure from being a cat and likewise be energetic as potential. Thanks a lot and I’m excited to seek out out some methods to maintain my buddy joyful and wholesome! His title? Effectively, I had a reputation all picked out as a result of he'[s technically MY buddy. I got home and told my husband “This is my new buddy.” I was gonna tell my husband the name, but he watched him walk and he says “Wobbles. His name is Wobbles.” Perfect! – Angela Fulghum
Who rescued who? It sounds like you and your wobbly boy are a match made in heaven and I am so happy for you both. I appreciate you wanting to find more ways to play with him and have a few suggestions.
Since mobility is an issue, you may want to try games that involve scent. Using materials like silvervine, catnip, and even food or treats, hidden around the house or in food puzzles is an easy way to encourage him to use his nose to seek and find things that taste or feel good. There is even an online course teaching Nosework and you can learn more about it here. Bringing scents from the outdoors, like branches, leaves, and safe plants inside for him to smell and play with is another way to appeal to his sense of smell and give him a fun activity to engage in.
Opening windows for enrichment will allow Wobbles to experience a bit of the outdoors and I encourage you to do so frequently. And, if possible, take him outside for supervised, short periods of exploration. You may even consider building an enclosure (catio). In my book, Indoor Cat: How to Enrich Their Lives and Expand Their World there is a simple tutorial on how to construct a quick and inexpensive window unit that anyone can assemble.
Have you tried wand toys to encourage your boy to play? If not, I recommend you try a few to see which ones catch his attention best. My favorites include the Wiggly Wand by Dezi & Roo, Da Bird by Go Cat, Bamboozler by Boinks, or Purrfect Leather Bouncer by Vee Enterprises. Make sure that you and Wobbler play with these safely on a carpeted surface to help him keep his balance and avoid injuries.
How to properly play with wand toys
A common mistake people make when trying to get their cat to play with a wand attachment is to dangle it in front of their cat’s face. In the wild a mouse, bird, or bug would never run up to a cat and say “hi” or tease them by jumping in front of their face. Prey run away and cats chase them. The best way to entice Wobbles to play is to move the wand around gently until it catches his attention. Then stop all movement until he locks eyes on it, assumes the crouched position, and begins to pounce. Then you can move it around to entice him to chase it. Once he catches the attachment, let him proudly carry it away.
Play rugs, like the Magic Carpet, are wonderful for entertaining cats like Wobbles. You can throw it over a chair or table to create a fun tent for him to hide in or use it to encourage foraging by placing treats or toys underneath for him to uncover. He might enjoy it rooting around in it when simply placed on the floor or sleeping in it squished up in a corner.
Building forts out of boxes is another way to encourage him to play. Or, letting him play with a box filled with leaves from outside could be a fun activity for him too. Most cats enjoy romping in brown paper packing and Wobbles might like that too.
Hopefully, I have given you some ideas as to how to keep Wobbles happy and healthy playing. If you are looking for more ways in which to play with him, I encourage you to check out my book. It is chock full of valuable ideas and information.
Thank you for writing in and I hope you and Wobbles have fun playing together more.
Do you have a question for Dr. Bahr? Leave it in a comment and she’ll answer it in next month’s column.
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Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.