It's Kitten Season!

As we approach spring/summer, we enter "kitten season." Around April, May and June, veterinary service locations see an influx of cats in their infancy. Sadly, the world doesn't work the way we want it to, as hundreds to thousands of kittens are turned in to animal shelters all across the United States. And, while we do check for microchips and potential owners, most have no home to return to. Each season, shelters strive to adopt out a high volume of incoming kittens. Some offer promotions that encourage adopting out bonded siblings or a mother with her baby/babies.

Newborn kittens resemble a pink potato and are about as self-sufficient; they are born blind, hairless and with their ears closed.

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Kittens should stay with momma cat for as long as possible, so that the kittens receives colostrum after birth - the extra nutritious milk that helps make little kitty immune systems strong. Kittens should stay with momma cat until they have completed their socialization and weaning periods.

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If you do find yourself with a newborn kitten, an exam is recommended as soon as possible to make certain he or she is healthy. Although it may be tempting, don't rely too heavily on google-ing!! "Dr. Google" is not a valuable resource in most situations, as not all information on the internet is accurate or from reliable sources. A veterinarian is your best resource in the pursuit of a happy, healthy kitty.

Taking on a newborn cat is comparable to caring for a human infant and involves consistent feedings of specific amounts, daily weight management and more. Your veterinarian can provide feeding instructions and techniques, as well as offer advice regarding your new foster. Newborns must be fed every hour or so and require a proper environmental temperature. Kittens also must be stimulated in order to urinate and defecate. No one ever said taking on a baby kitten would be easy!

Kittens grow at an incredible rate-changes can be seen from day to day, as opposed to week to week like their canine counterparts. The first 5 weeks are crucial for building feline physical and social abilities, skills typically taught by momma cat. Unfortunately, human improvisation is sometimes required. Eyes open at two weeks, revealing the smoky, glassy blue eyes that help make infants so endearing. At one month, kittens gain the ability to hear, teeth grow in, and they learn how to walk! At this point, kittens should be eating every 4-6 hours. Kittens are typically fully weaned by 6-8 weeks and are able to eat commercial kitten food. Seven weeks in is where things get even trickier. At this point, you'll find you have quite the curious creature on your hands. And to a kitten…everything is a toy!

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Your kitten is now dedicated to exploring the world around it. It can be difficult to maintain a controlled, kitten-safe environment when your tiny creature has the whole world to discover! They will play with and chew on anything- that's one way they learn about the world. Provide multiple different toys for your little nugget, lest they turn your hand or foot into a toy!

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At six months, a kitten should be emerging from his or her teenager testing phase, in which kittens may push your limits and see how they can best manipulate you. Any age cat can bond with a new owner, but it's six months to one year of age when the bond truly cements and grows.

Kittens only have so much blood, so flea and tick control is crucial. Kittens are tiny-squishy-squishy, and as a result typical flea treatments are too concentrated to use on younger kitties. Your veterinarian can help you find the best flea regimen for your new fuzzy family.

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Taking on a kitten is hard but heavily rewarding. You watch this little creature grow and transform before your eyes day by day. If you are up to the challenge of raising a kitten or two, contact your local animal shelter and ask to foster kittens. Help is always needed at shelters and they greatly appreciate the public lending a hand. You may even have the option of keeping your newly bonded kitten!

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For any questions regarding kitten infancy care, 
please call us at 415.776.6122 for information and resources.

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.

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.

10 Things You Need to Know to Fight Fleas

Indoor Cats Get Fleas Too

This year we’ve noticed a lot of our beloved indoor cats getting fleas! Fleas are sneaky little buggers. They are tiny enough to fit through screens and cracks in your apartment. They also have no problem hitching on to your pant leg or jacket. It’s also possible your dog, or a dog in your building is bringing in fleas after their daily walk.

Beware of Generic Flea Medications

Many of the generic flea medications you may find at Costco, Wal-Mart etc are only EPA approved (Environmental Protection Agency). The EPA’s Office of Pesticides is working to improve safety for pet use, but there continues to be incidents (skin allergies, vomiting, diarrhea and even death) associated with over-the-counter flea medications. We strongly recommend looking for veterinarian and FDA approved products like ADVANTAGE, FRONTLINE, and REVOLUTION.

Remove Fleas from the Cat and the House

The only way to really get rid of fleas is to clean both your house and your cat.

FOR THE FELINE: Using a reputable flea-preventative year round is the most important thing you can do to get rid of fleas on your cat. If your cat is already infested, a bath can help to get rid of flea dirt. Give us a call if you have any questions on which flea preventative to use.

FOR YOUR HOME: We recommend washing bedding and any cloth items that may have been on the floor, if possible make sure to run them through a 30 min dryer cycle. Keep cleaned sheets in a plastic bag until the whole house is cleaned. Vacuum carpets and couches to suck up fleas, eggs and larvae. Mop down tile and wood floors. We also recommend purchasing Siphotrol Premise Spray to get to all the cracks and corners, just make sure to keep your cat out of the room your spraying until it dries.

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 5-10% of the fleas in the environment.

Just Grooming Won’t Help

Most cats are compulsive groomers, but in a case of a flea situation even the roughest tongue won’t do the trick. And while a bath may help clean off fleas momentarily, they’ll be ready to jump right back on the minute your cat gets out of the tub.

Become a Flea Detective

It’s important to treat a flea problem quickly. Here’s best how to spot them:

SCRATCHING: If your kitty is constantly scratching that’s definitely a sign he or she may have fleas

FLEA DIRT: Flea dirt is actually dried blood discarded from the flea. Flea poop essentially. (yeah we went there) It usually looks like black pepper or black dandruff. You can check your kitty’s coat or the couch or blanket your kitty sleeps on.

USE A FLEA COMB: Flea combs are finer than a regular cat brush. You can pick one up at a pet store or bring your kitty in here and we’ll do some investigating. Flea combs are able to finely search the coat for any hiding fleas.

Know the Life Cycle of Fleas

Stage One: FLEA EGGS – These eggs are not sticky, and therefore easily fall off your cat and only your carpet/rug/bedding. Yikes!

Stage Two: FLEA LARVAE – Tiny white worms, 6mm in length. They feed on organic material found on their host or in their environment.

Stage Three: FLEA PUPAE – The environment will dictate when a adult flea hatches from the pupae stage. The larvae can live dormant in this cocoon for a full year, and then hatch during the warmer, moister months. This is why in San Francisco we see flea infestations take over during the summer months. It’s possible the fleas have been in the home for a year, just not ready to hatch.

Stage Four: ADULT FLEA – At this stage the adult flea finds a host and begins feeding and reproducing.

Flea Bites Cause More Than Discomfort.

Flea bites can also cause:

SKIN ALLERGIES – Many cats are allergic to flea bites. Beyond the initial discomfort from the flea bite, some cats may develop a skin allergy.

TAPEWORMS – Tapeworms are intestinal parasites passed to your kitty through flea larvae. When your cat chews or licks at the flea bite area he or she may accidentally swallow the flea. If that flea is a host to a tapeworm egg, that tapeworm once ingested, with hatch and grow in your cats intestines.

ANEMIA – Because fleas feed of off your cat’s blood supply it is possible, if the flea infestation is sever enough, for your cat become anemic. This can seriously weaken your cat and in some serious cases can even lead to death.

Some Flea Medications are Based on Weight

While it may not seem like a big deal, it’s important your cat only receives a flea medication that corresponds with their weight. Most brands have a kitten, small cat (5-8lbs) and large cat (9lbs+). If you’re unsure about your cat’s weight feel free to bring him or her to Nob Hill Cat Clinic for a free weight check!

Yes! It's a Challenge But You Can Rid Your House of Fleas!

It is possible to fully rid your house of fleas. By keeping your house clean and your cat on a monthly preventative (even through the winter months!) is the only way to keep a flea infestation from starting.

12 Tips on How to Road Trip with Your Cat

Summer time is vacation time, and many of us like to include our furry family members in our vacation plans. If you’re planning a road trip with your cat this summer, we have some tips to make your journey safe and stress free.

  1. Get a healthy start! The last thing you want is to have to deal with a health issue in a strange place. Have your cat examined and be sure to have a copy of his/her vaccines. While San Francisco, CA does not require rabies for cats many other states do! Make sure to check ahead of time if you’re traveling to a state that requires rabies vaccination. If you are traveling into Canada or Mexico, you will also need a health certificate.
     
  2. Keep your cat in a sturdy, well-ventilated carrier big enough for them to stand up and turn around in comfortably. Line the carrier with a towel and a tiny litter tray, and secure the carrier to the seat with a seat belt. Hundreds of pets are injured or even killed in car accidents every year because they are not properly restrained. Not to mention a loose cat in the car is very distracting to the driver. It is also not unusual for a nervous cat to try and escape through a cracked window or an open door.
     
  3. Keep the carrier from wobbling by creating as flat a surface as possible. Many times you can use towels underneath the carrier to keep it balanced. Towels also protect the car from any unintentional bathroom accidents.
     
  4. Pad the carrier with something comfy to make travel easier and less bumpy.
     
  5. Talk to your cat as you go. If he or she complains always answer reassuringly.
     
  6. Be sure your cat is tagged, microchipped and registration is current, Have a photograph to show around in case he/she gets separated from you and be sure your cat is wearing a collar with an ID on it.
     
  7. Pack an ample supply of cat food (don’t depend on being able to buy your brand on the road), collapsible food & water bowls, bedding, litter & litter box, favorite toys, a pet first aid kit, medications, and plenty of clean water.
     
  8. Map out your itinerary ahead of time, and be sure you have reservations set up at pet friendly accommodations along the way.
     
  9. Make the ride as smooth as possible. Avoid lurching forward. Brake smoothly and take turns lightly.
     
  10. NEVER leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days the temperature can rise to 120 degrees in just minutes. Have a plan for how you will handle food breaks. Drive-thrus or picnics are great options!
     
  11. Keep feeding to a minimum during travel, and avoid “people” foods. Pets can get carsick just like people!
     
  12. When you arrive at your destination, let kitty scope out the new indoor setting from the sanctity of the carrier or smaller space (small room/bathroom); then offer food, water, and litter outside it. In strange surroundings, ensure that all doors and windows are shut as tight as can be before the kitty emerges from the carrier.

Happy and safe travels!

What Should I Do if My Cat is Missing?

Many adoption facilities set your cat up with a microchip (an identification chip placed under your cat’s skin) but did you know you need to register that microchip for it to be effective?

Spend 5 minutes to make sure your cat’s microchip is registered and up to date with your current contact info. We recommend a microchip even if your cat is indoors only (due to unforeseen circumstances some indoor kitties find their way outside!) A found cat will be scanned by a shelter or veterinary hospital and can be traced back to you via phone number and address.

Different microchips are attached to different companies. If you received a microchip through us you can register at the Home Again website, otherwise check with your adoption facility or previous veterinary hospital. Unsure if your cat has a microchip? Come on in and we will give your kitty a scan.

Is Your Cat's Microchip Registered to You?

Many adoption facilities set your cat up with a microchip (an identification chip placed under your cat’s skin) but did you know you need to register that microchip for it to be effective?

Spend 5 minutes to make sure your cat’s microchip is registered and up to date with your current contact info. We recommend a microchip even if your cat is indoors only (due to unforeseen circumstances some indoor kitties find their way outside!)

Different microchips are attached to different companies. If you received a microchip through us you can register at the Home Again website, otherwise check with your adoption facility or previous veterinary hospital. Unsure if your cat has a microchip? Come on in and we will give your kitty a scan (and maybe a couple of treats!)