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Fun Facts about Catnip

Catnip was brought to America by early colonists and was considered a commercial crop. Numerous medical properties have been ascribed to catnip, and it has been used in teas, soaks, and poultices. Today its uses are largely confined to feline entertainment as its active ingredient, cis-trans-nepetalactone, is a mild hallucinogen. Rubbing, rolling, and other merry-making are produced in your cat, though one should be careful as aggressive behavior is often made worse by catnip indulgence.

Response to catnip is inherited genetically as a dominant trait, which means that not all cats will be affected by it. In addition, kittens under 6-8 weeks of age are generally not able to respond to catnip.

Catnip is felt to be a safe and non-addictive treat for cats, but there have been some reports of catnip ‘overdoses’ causing seizures. For this reason, it should not be given to cats with a history of seizures. Aside from this concern, catnip is considered a safe treat for those cats able to respond to it.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Position Statement on Declawing of Domestic Cats

De-clawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a health risk for its owner(s).

The AVMA believes it is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with complete education and pet information in Brighton, CO, with regard to feline de-clawing. The following points are the foundation for full understanding and disclosure regarding de-clawing:

Scratching is a normal feline behavior, is a means for cats to mark their territory both visually and with scent, and is used for claw condition (‘husk’ removal) and stretching activity.

Owners must provide suitable implements for normal scratching behavior. Examples are scratching posts, cardboard boxes, lumber or logs, and carpet or fabric remnants affixed to stationary objects. Implements should be tall or long enough to allow full stretching and be firmly anchored to provide necessary resistance to scratching. Cats should be positively reinforced in the use of these implements.

Appropriate claw care (consisting of trimming the claws every 1 to 2 weeks) should be provided to prevent injury or damage to household items.

Surgical de-clawing is not a medically necessary procedure for the cat in most cases. While rare in occurrence, there are inherent risks and complications with any surgical procedure including, but not limited to, anesthetic complications, bleeding, infection, and pain. If de-claw is performed, appropriate use of safe and effective anesthetic agents and the use of safe pain medication for an appropriate length of time are imperative. The surgical alternative of tendonectomy is not recommended.

De-clawed cats should be housed indoors.

Scientific data do indicate the cats that have destructive clawing behavior are more likely to be euthanized, or more readily relinquished, released, or abandoned, thereby contributing to the homeless cat population. Where scratching behavior is an issue as to whether or not a particular cat can remain as an acceptable household pet in a particular home, a surgical de-claw may be considered.

There is no scientific evidence in pet information from Brighton, CO that de-clawing leads to behavioral problems when the behavior of de-clawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups.

Chocolate and Your Pet

Chocolate may be America’s favorite flavor. We like chocolate candy, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cakes . . . just about anything chocolate. You may be tempted to share your favorite treat with an eager pet, but it’s best to think twice and reach for the dog biscuits instead.

Why is chocolate bad for pets?

In some cases, the fat and sugar in chocolate create an unpleasant but temporary upset stomach. This is what happens in most chocolate ingestion cases. A sudden high fat meal (such as demolishing a box of chocolates after Valentine’s Day) may also create a serious metabolic disease called pancreatitis. The signs of this disorder include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, shock, and sometimes death. In the case of pancreatitis, it is the fat that causes the problem more than the chocolate itself.

Is it true that chocolate is toxic for pets?

What makes chocolate itself toxic to pets is a chemical called theobromine. Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine, so the toxicity of chocolate depends in part on what type of chocolate is eaten. Semi-sweet and dark chocolate contain more theobromine than milk chocolate, and unsweetened baking chocolate contains even more. Toxicity also depends on how much chocolate is consumed and how much your pet weighs. For example, the same amount of chocolate consumed by a Great Dane is much more dangerous if eaten by a Miniature Poodle.

What are the signs of chocolate toxicity?

The signs of chocolate toxicity usually occur within 1-4 hours of ingestion and include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, restlessness, tremors, and a racing heart rate and/or abnormal heart rhythms. In severe cases, toxicity can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.

How is chocolate toxicity treated?

Unfortunately, there is no specific antidote for theobromine. If the chocolate was only just eaten it may be possible to induce vomiting; otherwise, hospitalization and supportive care (such as intravenous fluids) may be needed until the chocolate has worked its way out of your pet’s system, which can take up to 4 days.

Chocolate is listed among the top 20 most commonly reported toxicities and is more common at holiday times, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween. So keep your candy for yourself, and don’t delay in contacting your veterinarian or the National Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) if your pet does decide to sample some of your chocolate.

Easter Lilies Can Be Deadly to Your Cat!

(Adapted from an article on

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in partnership with the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) is leading a nationwide campaign to warn cat owners about the dangers of Easter lilies and certain other types of lilies. “Easter lily, tiger lily, rubrum, Japanese show lily, some species of day lily, and certain other members of the Liliaceae family can cause kidney failure in cats,” says Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, Veterinary Toxicologist at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, “All parts of these lilies are considered toxic to cats and consuming even tiny amounts can be life threatening to your cat.”

Within only a few hours of ingestion of the lily plant, a cat may vomit, become lethargic or develop a lack of appetite. These signs continue and worsen as kidney damage progresses. Without prompt and proper treatment by a veterinarian, the cat may develop kidney failure in 36 to72 hours. Cat owners should remove lilies from their cat’s access and are encouraged to consider safer alternatives such as Easter orchids, Easter cactus, Easter daisies or violets.

To help educate cat owners with pet information in Brighton, CO about the dangers of lilies, and other plants, the CFA and the ASPCA have developed website information for cat owners at Among the site’s materials are photos of common types of dangerous lilies and a list of non-toxic plants. Cat owners are encouraged to visit this site to learn more about how they can keep their cat’s home poison safe.

Holiday Safety Tips for Your Pet

The holiday season is generally a time of celebration in which even our pets participate. However, there are some important seasonal hazards to be aware of in order to insure a happy holiday season for your four-legged family members.

Ribbons & Tinsel

These are of special interest to playful cats and kittens who see these materials as toys (or prey) to be chased, pounced upon, chewed or swallowed. While chasing and pouncing on these types of toys pose no health threats, chewing on and swallowing them do. These strings can catch in the digestive tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition requiring surgery for correction.

Electric Light Cords

These are also tempting to cats who like to play with string, as well as puppies who are teething and interested in chewing. Biting through an electrical cord can result in severe burns to the tongue and mouth. Such burns can sometimes trigger the development of pulmonary edema, causing the pet’s lungs to fill with fluid and resulting in respiratory distress. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.


Many people don’t realize that chocolate can be a poison. Unsweetened baking chocolate contains a much higher dose of the toxin theobromine than does milk chocolate, but even normal milk chocolate can be dangerous; a small dog sharing candy can wind up in big trouble. Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning include hyperexcitability, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes death. See above for more information on chocolate and pets.


Consuming this festive-looking plant can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, resulting in excessive salivation or vomiting. Contrary to popular belief, however, the poinsettia plant is not extremely toxic.


The fact that there are several types of mistletoe makes it difficult to predict the clinical signs of poisoning. Some mistletoes produce only stomach upset, while others may lead to liver failure or seizures. Consider mistletoe to be a hazardous substance and keep it inaccessible to pets and children.

Dietary Indiscretion

It may be tempting to share your special holiday meal with your pet, but keep in mind that sudden rich diet changes are likely to upset a pet’s stomach, causing vomiting and diarrhea. If leftovers are of an especially fatty nature, the pancreas may become severely inflamed. This condition, called pancreatitis, can be life-threatening and often requires hospitalization and more pet information in Brighton, CO.

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