Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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Cat Enrichment Tools that You Can Make at Home: Food Puzzles

Indoor cats need enrichment and mental stimulation. Enrichment can increase activity (which can help with weight control) and prevent many behavioural issues related to low mental stimulation (things like inappropriate litter box usage, anxiety, aggression and attention-seeking).

Enrichment can come in a variety of forms; from food puzzles to scratching posts, and toys to catios. Over the next few weeks, we will give you ideas for how to use items you have at home, how to build projects from scratch and what to look for if you’d rather just buy something.

The first category is FOOD PUZZLES. These are a great way to provide mental stimulation for cats, especially the food-motivated ones! Food puzzles allow cats to feel as though they are working for their food as they would if they were hunting outdoors. It is also a great way to slow down those kitties that tend to puke after eating too quickly!

Homemade treat ball    

TREAT BALLS are a great way to increase activity, slow eating and increase mental stimulation. They can be purchased online, here at the clinic or in many pet stores. You can also make them at home from things like empty plastic water bottles – just cut small holes in the sides (large enough for the kibbles to fall out) and voila: a home-made treat ball!

   

LICK MATS are perfect for cats that enjoy wet food. It’s great for cats that regurgitate or vomit if they eat too fast, as they allow cats to eat at a slower pace. I also love them for keeping fast-eating cats from stealing other cats’ food. Lick mats can be purchased online or in some pet stores (you may need to look in the dog sections). You can also use things you have at home, such as ice-cube trays, ridged placemats, or boot mats

   

DIGGERS are a fun way for cats to work for their dry food and treats. Using their paws is challenging and mentally stimulating. There are many options for diggers online, in our clinic and in pet stores. You can use items around the house like egg cartons and ice cube trays. Diggers are also really easy to make; for example, collect toilet paper rolls and stuff them in an empty Kleenex box.

   

SCAVENGER HUNTS are ideal ways to allow normal hunting behaviour to be carried out in a safe manner. Hiding small meals around the house spreads feeding time out, gets cats to work for their food, and allows them to play with their food. There are a few products that were created specifically for this function (ex. the purple treat fish below) but scavenger hunts can be done just by hiding kibbles around the house. You can incorporate toys to increase the fun and decrease the mess.

   

ACTIVITY BOARDS combine many different types of puzzle feeders. Some allow for both hard food and wet food (ex. Trixie’s 5-in-1 Activity Center on the right). They tend to be large enough that multiple cats can use the same board (for cats that are not on weight-loss programs). Activity boards are typically more expensive than some of the simpler food puzzles so if you’re looking for a cheaper option, try a DIY board! I made the one below with items from my recycle bin: toilet paper rolls, cardboard, popsicle sticks and yogurt containers.

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The Importance of Microchips

A microchip is a small chip that is placed under the skin between the shoulders. The needle we use is larger than a typical blood collection needle, though other than the initial poke does not cause any ongoing pain. Each microchip has a unique number that is retrievable with a special scanner that all veterinary clinics and rescue associations have. When a found cat is brought to a clinic or rescue facility, it is checked for a microchip by running the scanner over the body. The number populates off the scanner which can then be put into a search system which will tell us which company it is registered with. There are many different microchip companies out there, so it is important to know which one your cat has so you can keep your contact information up to date. We can then call the company linked to the chip, who can then give us the contact information that you provided when it was registered so we can get in contact with you! The companies are instructed to only provide your contact information to an animal professional or to the owner. Microchips are NOT tracking devices; they need to be scanned in order for your furry family member to get home to you. There is a small fee to get your cat microchipped but no monthly cost afterwards. However, some microchip companies do charge a small fee to update addresses and other contact information. What is the difference between a microchip and tattoo? Tattoos are slowly becoming a less common form of identification. Tattoo quality can decrease over time due to aging, quality of the tattoo to start, and other environmental changes that can affect the skin of the ear. What this means is that a well-done tattoo 10 years later can be difficult to read due to the blurring of the letters and numbers over time. This change can make it nearly impossible sometimes to identify the collection of digits which is a big problem since that combination is unique to a clinic and cat! A microchip does not age over time but in rare instances can travel from the shoulders, which is why we scan the entire cat for a chip before determining that they do not have one. Additionally, tattoo information is often kept on paper, while microchips are all digital. It is very important to microchip your cat! We often get comments about how indoor only cats do not require them and if anything, it’s actually the opposite! Indoor cats accidentally getting out are where most of our phone calls about missing cats come from. This is because they’re not supposed to be outside and are likely not equipped to hunt and fend for themselves. So, when a neighbour sees an unfamiliar neighbourhood cat and takes it to a clinic to have scanned, it now has no form of identification to get home to you and is taken to the city in the hopes of an owner coming forward and claiming them.

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Last updated: May 25, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

4. NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

5. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday to Friday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sunday: CLOSED

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Killarney Cat Hospital