Summer News : 5 Steps for Battling Fleas

Warm sun. A nice breeze blowing. Ah the sites and smells of summer! Unfortunately summer is flea season (yikes!) even for indoor kitties, which is why we've compiled a list of 5 Steps for Battling Fleas.

Specials for July:

We have partnered with Elanco to bring you a discount on Cheristin,  our favorite flea control! Buy a 6 pack, and get 2 free tubes free! 

"A cat can purr its way out of anything."      - Donna McCrohan

1. Indoor Cats Get Fleas Too!

This year we've noticed a lot of our beloved indoor cats getting fleas! Fleas are sneaky little buggers, and they are tiny enough to fit through screens and cracks in your apartment. Also, fleas sometimes hitch a ride on our clothing to sneak inside. So if you haven't already, now is the time to start your kitty on a monthly preventative.

2. Beware of Generic Flea Medications

Many of the generic flea medications at Costco, WalMart etc... use older techniques for flea control. Unfortunately, many flea populations have developed resistance to these once powerful products. Others use pesticides that aren't the safest for cats. We have used Revolution and Cheristan for years, and found the safe and effective on our own cats.

3. Fleas Reproduce and Spread Like Crazy!

It's important to handle a flea problem the second you notice it! Fleas multiply at an alarming rate, and the fleas you see on your cat represent only about 5-10% of the fleas in the environment. Best way to tackle the problem? We'll help with the kitty, you handle the house! Drop off your kitty in the morning for a Premium Flea Treatment, then spend the day cleaning the house (what fun!) 1. Run the bedding/curtains/towels through a wash and dryer cycle 2. Vacuum carpets and couches - a cheap flea collar can be placed in the vacuum cleaner's bag / container to take care of any eggs that might be sucked up! 3. Mop down wood floors.  We also recommend purchasing a treatment or premise spray to get all the nooks and crannies.

4. Flea Cause More Than Discomfort

Flea can also cause skin allergies, tapeworms (intestinal parasites passed to your kitty through flea larvae) and anemia (because fleas feed off your cat's blood supply it's possible, if the flea infestation is severe enough, for your cat to become anemic).

5. Become a Flea Detective.

Is your kitty scratching? Scratching is the most obvious sign your kitty may have fleas, but you can also look for flea dirt, which is actually dried blood discarded from the flea - flea poop essentially (yeah we went there). It usually looks like black pepper and can be found in your kitty's coat or on a couch or blanket. Another tool, used by the most advanced flea detectives, is a flea comb, which is much finer than a regular brush. Even the most inconspicuous flea won't stand a chance.  

* Our 3 Step Premium Flea Treatment includes a Capstar to kill live fleas, an All-Natural Oatmeal Bath to clean up, and a Cheristan application (a month long preventative)

Grow These Plants to Make Your Cat Happy

April showers bring May flowers, and California has already seen quite a lot of rain this year. Now is the time to plan your garden. Even if you only have access to a balcony, don’t let that stop you. Potted plants and railing planters can turn a bare balcony into a forest retreat. But we’re not going to talk about boring strawberries and overdone succulents. Instead, here are three plants that will make your cats purr with happiness:

Catnip: Crush its stems and leaves to release an aroma that will drive your cat crazy. Not every cat is susceptible to this euphoria inducing plant but if you’re lucky enough to have a cat who is, a tiny sprinkle will go a long way. Once harvested and dried, catnip can be stored in the freezer to make it last year round.

Catmint: It’s related to catnip but it’s not the same. Since catmint is a pretty hardy plant, it does well in both pots and backyards. You can drink it as a tea while your cat enjoys the aroma released from a freshly cut sprig. Keep in mind that while the plant may be safe for cats, mint-flavored products like toothpastes or candies are not.

Cat Grass: You can buy a small pot at most pet stores or you can grow your own from wheat, barley, or oat seeds. Cats are instinctively drawn to it but we’re not entirely sure why. Many animal behaviorists believe it’s a source of fiber to help with hairballs. Cat grass also contains various minerals and vitamins that can be beneficial for kitty’s health. It must be pretty tasty too.

San Francisco Cat News Roundup

San Francisco's board of supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores. People can still purchase from responsible breeders or adopt from a rescue group. District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang explains in the SF Examiner that "the ordinance is designed to bring attention to and halt the inhumane and deceptive practices of large-scale breeding operations that supply animals to pet stores and directly to consumers online." Way to go, San Francisco!

The Pet Food Express on Market Street just adopted out its 900th cat! The adoption center inside the store was first opened six years ago by San Francisco Animal Care & Control. Over in Walnut Creek, the Pet Food Express there is also celebrating its 1,500th cat adoption thanks to their partnership with the Contra Costa County Animal Services. Michael Levy, president and founder of Pet Food Express, told Pet Age that the idea of putting adoption centers inside his stores started when he discovered how hard it was for shelter pets to find good homes.

According to Bay City News, Oakland's cat café and adoption center received a $162,500 grant from Maddie's Fund. The plan is to use the money to expand so as many as 30 to 40 cats can be housed on site. Cat Town Café works closely with the Oakland animal shelter, giving their skittish and stressed cats a place to feel safe and be themselves. They currently adopt out an average of 3 to 5 cats a week.

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle listed several new words that had been added to Oxford Dictionaries. Of particular interest is the following definition: Cat lady. Noun. An older woman who lives alone with a large number of cats, to which she is thought to be obsessively devoted.

Valentine's Day Cards for Cat Lovers!

Fall in love this Valentine's Day with these paw-dorable cards from Etsy. Trying to woo a crazy cat lady or lad? Tell the special cat lovers in your life how much you love them with one of these cards. They'll simply puuurrrr with appreciation.

I love you this much by CharmArtStudio





I <3 you by MishkaMarie


Boop by Wonderflies



How to Walk Your Cat (Part 2)

If you haven't read the first part, do it now! It should take at least two weeks to get your kitty (and you!) comfortable enough to move on to part two.

By now, your cat (hopefully) should be wearing his or her harness like it's nothing. In addition, you want your cat to come running to you whenever you hold up his or her harness. This means Kitty is now associating HARNESS with HAPPINESS. Good job.

Let's work on leash training. While there are some very special cats who will happily follow you while on a leash, others won't. A cat's natural inclination is to walk and/or dash in seven different directions at once. Even worse, if they feel any pullback from their leash, they will either crouch down in misery or flail around like the ground has suddenly turned into ice, fire, or water!

Step 6: Put your cat's harness on and attach the leash. Don't go outside yet. The two of you are going to practice the art of walking straight. Hold the leash loosely in one hand and plenty of yummy treats in the other. Take one step forward and hold out a treat to get Kitty to walk forward too. Keep doing this one step at a time until you run out of treats. Eventually, progress to two or three or even more steps.

Step 7: When your cat veers to the side, don't jerk back on the leash. Just stay still and let the leash grow taut on its own. Coax Kitty back to your side with a treat without pulling on the leash. You want Kitty to learn that the leash will tighten only if he or she wanders away from you and it will slacken as long as he or she remains by your side. You want to keep working on this until Kitty gets used to being attached to a big, awkward human and will (reluctantly) follow you around the house while on leash.

Step 8: Take a deep breath. It's time to go outside. If you have a backyard, start there. Pick a time when it's quiet. Evenings are great because cats feel safer when it's darker but it's not so dark that you can't see what's happening. Get Kitty all harnessed up like usual then walk him to the door. That first step out into the big world can be really scary so go slow. You might have to spend this training session just staring through an open door, and that's perfectly fine.

Step 9: You're outside. Okay. The outside world is filled with distractions, most of which you can't even see or hear but your cat can. In the beginning, let Kitty explore to his or her heart's content but always with you holding onto the leash. If he or she starts wandering into an area you'd like to avoid, just let the leash grow taut like in Step 7. Slacken the leash as soon as Kitty switches direction. If you've got a stubborn one, pick him or her up and place back down in a more appropriate location.

Step 10: Once the novelty starts to subside and Kitty starts paying attention to you again, repeat Steps 6 and 7 while outside. Eventually, you'll be leash walking your cat around the neighborhood like a pro!

Remember: Not all cats will be able to make it to Step 10, and that's OK. Your cat will tell you when he or she has had enough. While leash training a cat requires a lot of patience, the process should ultimately be rewarding for the both of you. It's great if you can get to the point where Kitty runs to the door whenever you say, "Let's go for a walk!" but it's also great if Kitty prefers to stay inside the house. The reward is getting to spend quality time with each other. You're strengthening your bond and learning something new together. I guarantee your cat will be happier because of that—even if Kitty never sets a single paw outside.

How to Walk Your Cat (Part 1)

Happy 2017, fellow cat lovers! January is when people make healthy resolutions, but it's also National Walk Your Pet Month. That's right. You can teach your indoor-only cat to go for a leashed walk.

Note: Not all cats should be walked outside. Some don't have the temperament (or health) to do it safely. Also, take a look around your neighborhood. If you live on a busy street with a lot of noise, consider investing in a cat stroller instead. Or simply place a cat tree beside a window so Kitty can observe the great outdoors while remaining safely inside.

In 2015, research conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention stated that about 58% of cats are overweight or obese. Yikes! Too much food and not enough exercise is a bad recipe for humans and cats alike. In addition to feeding a high-quality diet and introducing more playtime into your cat's routine, consider taking him or her out for a walk.

To help make the process as stress free as possible, remember to go slow and be patient. Since January is National Walk Your Pet Month, we're releasing a two-part blog post on how to walk your cat. The second post will be published in about two weeks since it may take at least that long to get to the latter half of the training. 

Step 1: Safety's first! Check in with us to make sure your cat's vaccines are up to date. Does your cat have a breakaway collar? Is he or she microchipped and fixed? We want to make sure Kitty is as safe as can be before he embarks on his great adventure.

Step 2: Invest in a harness designed for cats. You'll want one that looks more like a vest or jacket (instead of thin straps) so kitty is secure and comfortable. Avoid retractable leashes. Once you find the right one and it's sized correctly for your cat, you're ready to move on.

Step 3: Leave the harness near your cat and let him or her get used to it for several days. You can even drape the harness over his back without attaching any of the buckles. Wait until mealtime (when he or she is getting hungry) then slip the harness on. Your cat may act like you've just placed the weight of the entire world on his shoulders or he'll tear through the house in a blind panic. Stay calm. Give lots of treats. If Kitty continues to struggle and remains scared, take the harness off and try again later. You'll just have to go even slower next time.

Step 4: For the first several training session, keep the harness on for only a short while. If your cat will eat his dinner while wearing his harness, great! If not, take it off then feed immediately after. Repeat every day. Since most cats are food motivated, your job is to convince Kitty that Harness = Delicious Treats. Your goals are to: One, get your cat to comfortably walk around while wearing a harness. Two, get your cat to come running whenever you hold up the harness.

Step 5: If you're lucky enough to have a cat who takes to wearing a harness right away, try attaching the leash to acclimatize Kitty to the extra weight. Don't just drop the leash, hold it in your hand first. You can let Kitty drag the leash around but only when you're around to supervise. Just like the above steps with the harness, the point is get Kitty to start associating leash + harness with yummy treats and praise.

Remember: Training sessions should be short and positive. Keep it up for a couple of weeks until you're both comfortable with the whole process of putting on, wearing, and taking off the harness (and leash). Don't go outside just yet! Our next post will talk about how to get your cat to take his or her first step into the outside world.

 

Do You Buy Holiday Gifts for Your Cats?

If you buy holiday gifts for your cats, you're not alone!

Last year, Vetstreet surveyed 767 cat-owning readers to find out whether or not they purchase holiday gifts for their animals. Out of those in a cat-only household, 54% responded with a resounding, "Always!" and another 36% said they sometimes do. That's 90% of you cat lovers who give holiday gifts to your pets!

The survey also discovered that when kitty wakes up on Christmas morning, he or she will most likely find treats and toys under the tree, followed by new beds, scratching posts, and even holiday-themed costumes. Santa Claws is pretty generous too. 50% of gifts cost between $10 to $25, and a lucky 2% surpass $100!

Of course, none of this surprises us at all. Our cats are family, right? Everyone here at NHCC loves to spoil our kitties way too much. So, whatever your plans for the holidays, we hope it will involve a lot of snuggling with your favorite felines — because that's what we'll be doing! 

From all of us at NHCC, best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a new year filled with good health and pawsitivity. Have a Merry Catmas!

Cat Holiday Events in San Francisco

Happy "Paw"lidays to you and your four-legged family! We've rounded up a bunch of festive San Francisco events for cats and/or cat lovers.

Macy’s Cats and Dogs Holiday Windows

November 18, 2016 - January 1, 2017
Macy's Union Square, 170 O'Farrell St
Press your nose up against Macy’s Holiday Windows featuring adoptable animals from the San Francisco SPCA this holiday season. Take home your own bundle of joy from the SF SPCA adoption pop-up on Macy’s Main Floor. Please note that animals are not kept in the Windows overnight. [More Info]

12 Days of Kittens Holiday Party

November 28, 2016 – December 9, 2016
9:30am - 5:00pm
Supervisor Katy Tang’s Office, SF City Hall, Room 264, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl.
For the 4th year, Sup. Tang is welcoming ACC adoptable cats to her office at SF City Hall (aka “Kitty Hall” to encourage adoption, and spread cat joy and awareness about ACC shelter services. Visit her office for a kitten fix through Dec. 9, 9:30-5:00pm  and enter a raffle to win a cat-themed goodie basket filled with Greenies, catnip, toys, and more! [More Info]

Kitten Cuddle Experience

December 1, 2016 - January 1, 2017
Noon - 2pm & 5pm - 7pm
Macy's Union Square, 170 O'Farrell Street
Do not miss the one and only Cuddle Experience, brought to you by Tidy Cats® and the SF SPCA. Step inside the Cuddle Experience and let the holiday madness melt away! Each cuddle session is 10 minutes with a $20 donation. [More Info]

Santa Paws at the SF SPCA

December 3, 2016
11am - 2pm
SF SPCA Pacific Heights Campus, 2343 Fillmore Street
Santa Paws is coming to the SF SPCA Pacific Heights campus! Bring the entire family, including the four-legged furry ones, to get your holiday photo with Santa while helping out a good cause. Suggested donation $25. Digital photo provided on a keepsake flash drive. No RSVP or reservation required. [More Info]

PetSmart Pets with Santa

December 10, 2016 - December 11, 2016
12pm - 4pm
PetSmart, 315 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA (and other locations)
Back by popular demand! Join us in store & get a FREE photo of your pet with Santa! Stop by your local PetSmart on Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11 between 12-4pm (local time) to celebrate with Santa. [More Info]

Thursday Mewvie Nights

December 15, 2016: "Scrooged"
December 29, 2016: "When Harry Met Sally"
Starting 7:30pm
KitTea Cat Cafe, 96 Gough St
Hang out with cuddly cats while watching a holiday movie. KitTea Cat Cafe organizes a mewvie night on select Thursdays throughout the year. $26 includes tea, dessert, and all-you-can cuddles with 10+ adoptable cats. [More Info]

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

According to the Animal Cancer Foundation 1 in 5 cats will develop cancer throughout their lifetime. National Pet Cancer month is dedicated to spreading awareness so these are the 5 things we’d like to share with you:

1. Fighting cancer takes a dedicated owner.
With cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, there are good days and bad days. It takes a dedicated owner to support their kitty through the process, and also monitor closely the quality of life. We’ve seen some really amazing owners go above and beyond, and we’re always impressed by how patient and supportive they are.

2. Chemotherapy is becoming more affordable to pet owners.
Yes, cancer treatment can be expensive, but the cost for these treatments is going down. Some chemotherapy’s are now between $50-60/month. Pet insurance and Care Credit are also options when dealing with cancer treatment.

3. As your veterinarian we play an important role.
During your kitty’s wellness exam the doctor will check for lumps and bumps and measure their growth. The doctor may also run diagnostics such as blood work and urinalysis. These tests alone cannot diagnose cancer, but they can be the first hint something may be going on. Early detection makes a huge difference as feline cancers can be fast growing and extremely aggressive.

4. As a pet owner you play an important role by noticing symptoms.
What to look for? Any abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow, weight loss, offensive odor, persistent lameness or stiffness, or difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating.

5. We’re all in this together.
There are many connections between animal and human cancers and now is an exciting time because research is being shared openly between the two fields. Your cat’s cancer treatment may be leading the way to helping human treatments, or vice versa.

Movember: Male Cat Health

In support of Movember, we’re raising awareness on male cat health! If you have a special little man in your life listen up! You need to know this!

Male cats are at high risk of developing urinary obstruction. Obstructions are caused from crystals, inflammatory material, mucus or small stones that travel down from the kidneys. (Female cats can also suffer from urinary issues or obstruction but it is less common.)

Because male cats have a low narrow urethra it’s easy for build up to lead to complete blockage, which can be a very serious, life-threatening condition. Complete obstruction can cause death in 3-6 days. We don’t mean to scare you, but we do want to spread awareness about the seriousness of this condition.

Signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Urinating outside the box
  • Taking frequent trips to the litter box
  • Straining to urinate

It’s important to note some cats will not show symptoms of urinary crystals forming, therefore it’s important for your kitty to get a urinalysis bi-annually once they become seniors (when they are at a higher risk).

If your kitty has had urinary issues in the past:

  • Pick up a urinary maintenance diet. (It can be difficult to change your cat’s food so we recommend changing the diet gradually.)
  • Bring your cat in for a recheck urinalysis every 6 months to make sure no crystals are present.

Additional risk factors for cats who:

  • Eat only dry food
  • Are indoor only (which is most of our San Francisco kitties!)
  • Are prone to being nervous or stressed
  • Live in a multi-cat household
  • Have a history of urinary issues