Tuesday 23 April 2024

Amir Anwary a TikTok veterinarian gives us three vital tips on cat caregiving

It is always nice to have a veterinarian provide cat caregivers with useful tips on how to improve cat ownership. There is always a need to improve it although I think we can argue that the Internet has been incredibly useful in educating millions of caregivers.

Amir. Screenshot.

Amir Anwary says that three important cat caregiving tips would be to (1) if you need to change your cat's diet do it slowly to avoid stomach upset and (2) watch out for your cat's changes in behaviour as it might point to a severe disease and (3) know the signs of kidney disease because this is a very common disease in older cats.

I will briefly touch on these three points.

Changing diet slowly

For me, this applies mostly to reducing your cat's food intake because they are obese. There is an obesity epidemic according to veterinarians amongst the cat population in the West and therefore a lot of cat caregivers will be considering reducing their cat's diet. It should be gradual in order to avoid hepatic lipidosis which is fatty liver disease, a serious disease. You can read about that disease and how it develops by clicking on this link.

As to changing a cat's diet by changing the wet cat food you provide them, I don't think that will cause upset. I am presuming that you buy decent or high quality commercially prepared wet cat food. They are very similar if they are balanced and complete. Your cat will like the food or possibly reject it. You are currently giving them a food they like. If you give them new cat food which they reject then there is no change in diet! Problem solved.

Changing from a good quality wet food diet to a full-time low quality dry food diet will probably cause stomach upsets and may well affect a cat's health detrimentally. There are strong arguments for not providing dry cat food as the sole diet for a domestic cat because it's too unnatural and cats don't compensate sufficiently by drinking more water. 

It's been argued that this kind of diet can lead to cystitis if the environment in which the cat's lives is also stressful. Stressing cats is probably more common than people think particularly in multi-cat homes. Cat caregivers should look out for signs of stress particularly in timid cats who might be prone to hide and are being bullied.

Changes in behaviour

If everything else has stayed as normal by which I mean the environment in which the cat lives, and the cat suddenly starts to behave differently by hiding or becomes lethargic and losses appetite (common signs of illness) then a caregiver might presume there cat is ill. It might be a serious illness. There would be a need to take him or her to a veterinarian for diagnosis.

These changes should be pretty apparent to an observant and reasonable cat owner. Amir Anwary is simply reminding cat caregivers to be aware of these changes in order to allow a veterinarian to tackle any underlying health problems promptly. That I think is the message he is trying to deliver in his TikTok video. A good one.

Kidney disease

As Amir Anwary states this is a very prevalent disease in elderly cats in the West and is probably due to cats living longer (as occurs in humans) and the environment in which they live which may contain pollutants which are hidden or unknown by the owner and thirdly the diet might predispose the cat to this particular health problem. More work needs to be done on this in my view. There may be an inherited genetic element too.

Diabetes can damage the kidneys and diabetes is a growing disease in our feline companions. The increase in kidney disease may be linked to the increase in feline diabetes. Diabetes in fact has a severe negative impact on health in various ways so it's important that caregivers ensure that their cat maintains a healthy weight.

The biggest sign of kidney disease in elderly cat would be drinking a lot more water and urinating more and more often. That's because the kidneys are malfunctioning and not processing the liquid and so it passes straight through them. This means they're more thirsty and so they drink more and then pee more. Watch out for that particular sign as it will pretty well certainly be kidney disease if your cat is elderly. There is no cure the kidney disease and it often leads, sadly, to humane euthanasia.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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