Adding an Additional Cat to Your Home

When throwing two cats into one environment you have to give proper consideration to their respective positions. Otherwise you may be asking for trouble.

Be patient when bringing a new cat into your home. The introduction must be gradual. It takes most cats 8-12 months to develop a friendship with a new cat.

Even if she has lived harmoniously with other cats in the past or was at the humane society, it’s unfortunately impossible to predict whether or not any two cats will get along.

The more cats you have, the higher the likelihood that there will be conflicts among them. The individual personalities of the cats are more important than any other factor, such as sex, age or size.

Step 1: Controlling First Impressions

If two cats display aggression during their first meeting, this may set the mood for their future relationship. It is strongly recommended that you separate your resident cat from your new cat when you first bring her home so that you can control their initial meeting.

  • The two cats should be able to smell and hear – but not see or touch – each other
  • Each cat should have her own food and water bowl, litter box and scratching post etc.
  • Feed the cats near the door that separates them so they learn that coming together (even though they can’t see each other) results in a pleasant experience.
  • In addition to regular cat food, feed the cats extra-special treats near the door as well
  • After two or three days, switch the cats’ locations so that they can investigate each other’s smell.
  • After a few more days, play with each of the cats near the door. You can encourage them to paw at toys under the door.

Step 2: Letting the Cats See Each Other

Assuming that you see no signs of aggression at the door (hissing, growling, etc) after a week or so, you can introduce the cats to each other.

Step 3: Letting the Cats Spend Time Together

  • Supervise these initial face-to-face interactions carefully.
  • After a meal or strenuous play is a good time to bring cats together, since they are likely to be relatively calm.
  • In case they begin to fight, keep a water bottle handy

Allow them longer and longer periods of time together as they become more familiar with each other.

Final Tips

When it comes to a multiple cat household, introduce each new resident to the newcomer individually.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care

Melanie Lovett

Basic Cat First-Aid

When I decided to turn my love and passion for animals into a full-time career, I sat down and thought about some ways I could set myself apart from your “average” pet sitter. That thought process lead me to become a Certified Pet Sitter. While I learned many important aspects of cat and dog health, the most valuable knowledge I became aware of was general First-Aid.

If you are a pet owner and are not familiar with First-Aid for your pet, there are a few simple things you can do that could save your pets life until you can get them treated by your veterinarian.

Because this is such vital topic I am going to discuss this in two separate articles. We’ll start with basic cat First-Aid.

My first piece of advise is to try and stay calm.

Take some deep breaths and try to focus on the situation and what you can do immediately to help your cat. I know, easier said than done, right? Trust me, I’ve been in emergency situations with pets myself and it can be very hard to keep your emotions in check and not let your personal feelings take over the situation. Your cat will sense your alarm and that may make it impossible for you to administer the proper aid she needs.

My second piece of advise is to carry a basic First-Aid kit in your car. 

You may already have one but here are some items you may not have thought of including in case of emergency for your pet:

  • Tweezers with a sharp point
  • Rectal Thermometor
  • Scissors with a small-blunt point
  • A roll of sterile gauze
  • Eye dropper
  • Any medical conditions and a list of your pet’s medicines including dosage (This will be critical if you have to take your cat to an emergency hospital that is not familiar with your cat’s medical history.)
  • Also have the ASPCA’s 24/7/365 poison control center number taped to the inside of the lid of the kit: 888-426-4435

If you are able to get a reading on your cat’s vital signs, the normal ranges are:

Temperature: 100.4-102.5 F
Pulse: 160-240 per minute
Respiration: 20-30 per minute

I think it is a great idea, if you can, to take measurements when your cat is healthy and relaxed and keep those numbers in your First-Aid kit. Even when your cat is perfectly home and at ease, getting a rectal temperature may be challenging. So just keep the above numbers in mind, or even jot them down and keep them in the kit as well.

If you do take your cats temperature, you will need a helper to complete the
process. Always use KY jelly or other water-soluble lubricant on the tip of the

The person helping you needs to gently grab the scruff of your cat’s neck and
hold her front legs still. After you have lifted your cat’s tail, insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum.

Don’t force it! Insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum about one inch and hold it in place until it beeps.

You should not attempt to take your cat’s temperature if she is having
difficulty breathing.

To take your cats pulse, find her femoral artery. Press your two first fingers against the inside of her upper hind leg. However, the pulse may not be able to be found on a obese cat. Count the pulse for 15 seconds, then multiply by four to get the beats-per-minute.

For breathing rate, count either inhalations or exhalations for 15 seconds, and multiply by four to calculate the breaths per minute. Rapid, labored, shallow or irregular breathing can help to determine how serious the situation may be:

Shock or lack of oxygen can be indicated by rapid breathing. Obstruction or severe chest injury may be indicated by shallow breathing. The most serious respiratory sign is irregular breathing, and may indicate the need for immediate veterinary attention.

Here are some helpful reminders if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation:

Due to pain and fright, injured animals may lash out.

If possible, wear gloves and protect your face. Approach your cat slowly and
softly.To prevent and struggling, wrap her in a blanket or towel. Place her in her carrier and take her to the veterinarian immediately. If at all possible, call your veterinarian before you arrive so they are aware of the situation.

In closing, if possible, practice basic first aid before your cat’s life depends
on it. If you’re prepared for an emergency, you’ll be in a much better position
to save your cat’s life.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care

Melanie Lovett

Caring for A Senior Cat

There are three groups that classify older cats:

  • 7-10 years (44-56 human years): Mature or middle-aged
  • 11-14 years (60-72 human years): Senior
  • 15+ years (76+ years for humans): Geriatric

With proper home and veterinarian care, many cats live into their late teens and early twenties.

It is important to understand aging changes, as well as what constitutes “normal” developments in additional to what signal signs of treatable conditions. This can be challenging because some owners might think that unlike dogs, cats do not need to visit the veterinarian on an ongoing basis. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cats are masters at hiding disease. Despite underlying problems, they may appear well. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends a veterinarian check-up every six months for a healthy, older cat.

What to Check for During a Routine Visit With Your Veterinarian:

  • Overall body and weight condition
  • Quality of the skin and coat
  • Teeth, mouth and gums
  • Ears and eyes
  • Lungs and heart
  • Abdomen
  • Muscles and joints

Please make your veterinarian aware of any changes in condition from your previous exam.

Obesity is about more than just being “fat.” It is considered by veterinarians to be a disease that alters metabolism and makes a pet more likely to develop certain conditions, including but not limited to: diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, breathing problems and lower urinary tract disease.

At the opposite end of the spectrum in the senior and geriatric age group is a cat becoming underweight. Some older cats have a decreased ability to digest protein and fat, or it may be caused by a disease. Also keep in mind the fact that cats lose their sense of taste or smell as they age and this can cause loss of interest in eating. A broken tooth, chronic kidney disease or memory problems can also impact the ability to eat.

One of the key elements to your cat’s continued good health is a proper diet. Older cats are prone to dehydration and constipation, so increased water intake is important for older cats. Also offering three or four small meals per day makes food easier to digest for older cats.

Dental care is important to maintain your cat’s oral hygiene to help ensure continued health. Neglected teeth and gums can result in severe mouth pain and even lead to infection in other organs. Untreated oral disease and dental pain in your cat can cause her to experience emotional and physical decline.

A range of illnesses can occur as your cat ages. The most common are mentioned below:

Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney disease often begins in middle age but is most common in older cats. Some signs may include:

  • Mild behavior changes
  • Changes in drinking frequency or location
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased volumes of urine
  • Constipation
  • Appetite decrease
  • Muscle decrease and weight loss


Diabetes is most common in obese male cats. It is a significant disease in older cats. Nearly half of all diabetic cats range in age from 10 to 15 years.
Signs include:

  • Excessive hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive thirst and urination

Other diseases that affect older cats are listed below but not limited to:

Thyroid disease

  • Hypertension
  • Gastrointestinal Conditions
  • Cancer (About half of all deaths in cats aged 10 and older are caused by cancer)
  • Arthritis

Even with appropriate treatment and regular veterinary care, many senior cats eventually reach a point where illness significantly affects their quality of life. If and when that time comes, it is important to include your trusted veterinarian in decided the best course of action for your pet.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett

Dealing with the Loss Of A Pet

Any animal lover will tell you that losing your pet is one of the hardest things to experience. Whether through illness, age, or accident it can be very difficult to fill the void left in your heart and in your life by the loss of your furry companion.

griefI’ve often wondered which is worse: Losing your pet suddenly and never getting to say goodbye, or being with your animal as they take their last breath.

For me the decision to have my beloved cat put to sleep was gut wrenching. Even though I knew she was suffering, and had been since basically the day I rescued her. We had 9 wonderful years together and during that time she was on several meds daily. In fact, during the last 9 months of her life I was giving her IV injections daily. That in of itself was a huge challenge for me. I definitely have a needle phobia. I had to take her in every week to have blood levels checked and as soon as it was time, I bolted out of the exam room. To this day I still can’t be in the room when my pets need shots of any kind.

But when it became obvious that the end was approaching and Savannah needed me to step up I did. It wasn’t the cost aspect of bringing her in to the vet every day for the fluids; It was her comfort level. If you had to have chemo every day, would you prefer to do it in a loud, disruptive clinic with people yelling, or would you prefer the peaceful environment of your own home?

It was definitely a challenge for me. My vet told me he was more worried about how I was going to handle the whole thing and NOT my cat. It took a lot of practice with the Dr. and indeed the first time I did it at home I nearly passed out afterwards. As the vet knew she would, Savannah handled it like a trouper and it was relatively easy until we got months into it and she began to develop scar tissue and it became increasingly difficult to find an injection site. If you aren’t familiar with sub-Q fluids injections with an animal there is only a small area between the shoulder blades where the needle can go in. You have to pinch the skin and pull it up like a tent. And on a 6 pound cat there isn’t much room to work with.

Even though I knew it was coming, had known for months in fact, the day I had to say goodbye was more difficult than I ever imagined. If you’ve been through the loss of the pet you know that it’s like hitting a brick wall at 100 miles per hour without a helmet. I had spent weeks preparing myself and thought I was ready… but are you really ever ready to say goodbye to someone you love? Someone you’ve cared for for several years? Someone who was always there for you through laughter and tears?

Although death wasn’t imminent and she may have lasted through the night and even for another 24 hours, she would only continue to get sicker and her suffering would increase. Then my vet said something to me that I will never forget. “You have to listen with your head because your heart will never let you let go.”

While it was one the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, my vet gently reminded me that what I was allowing was a final, loving, humane act for Savannah by ending her suffering. He also shared my grief with me, having cared for her since day one. He told me I could take her home and if I needed him, even at two am, I could call his cell phone and he would meet me at the clinic. I didn’t want to have to take her for her final moments to some unfamiliar 24 hour animal hospital. I wanted her to be with people who loved her, and Dr. Johnson was just as emotional about the situation as I was. He told me that he didn’t want to be the one to have to put her to sleep, but that he would do it for her and me. Having a Vet you trust and rely on during a crisis like that can mean the world. Your head and heart and emotions are in a tail spin and I will be forever grateful to him for his support and guidance during that time.

Because Savannah was ill for so long I had a lengthy period of time to decide whether or not I wanted to be with her when she took her final breath. It is a deeply personal decision that you have to live with for the rest of your life and I can’t image having to make it in a moment’s notice. There is so much going on in your beloved companion’s final moments that while you think you had everything planned out, it’s such an emotional time that you question every decision afterwards. I, however, stuck with my choice and I absolutely do not regret it to this day.

Even though this all happened 5 years ago I still remember it as if it were yesterday. If you or someone you know has recently or will soon be going through a situation like this and I can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Having someone who has been through the experience can be a tremendous comfort, as my vet was to me.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett

Pros and Cons of Vaccinations for Your Dog

Vaccinations are very important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases in animals. However, vaccines are not without their limitations and there are failures. In some cases the reactions or side effects can be worse than the disease they are being used to prevent!

Luckily there are vaccines to help prevent many illness that affect your dog. It has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. There are different vaccines for different diseases, and different types and combinations of vaccines.

Here are answers to some most frequently asked questions regarding vaccines:

What exactly are Vaccines?

They help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. If your dog is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize it, fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.

How Important Are Vaccines?

Vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog. However, not every dog needs to be vaccinated against every disease. While most veterinarians highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs, factors that should be examined include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

What Are Core Vaccines?

Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, severity of disease and transmissibility to humans. They include canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies.

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dogs risk exposure.

What Vaccines Should My Puppy Get?

They must be vaccinated against rabies. They should also receive a series of vaccinations with a combination that protects against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis.

Are Any Vaccines Required By Law?

Each state has it’s own laws regarding the rabies vaccine. It is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date canine rabies.

How Often Should My Adult Dog Be Vaccinated?

Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule. It depends on several factors:

  • Type of vaccine
  • Dog’s age
  • Medical History
  • Environment and Lifestyle

Some vaccines are required annually, others every 3 years or longer.

When Should My Puppy be Vaccinated?

Starting at 6-8 weeks of age a puppy should start receiving a series of vaccinations. If the mother has a healthy immune system, a puppy will most likely have antibodies from the mother’s milk while nursing. At 16 weeks the final dose should be administered.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Vaccines?

There is a small chance of side effects with any medical procedure. You must discuss your dog’s medical history before he is vaccinated.

What Symptoms Should I Look For?

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

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Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Autoimmune hemoltyic anemia
  • Local reactions
  • Systemic reactions
  • Nervous system problems
  • Reproductive problems
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Post vaccination sarcomas
  • Respiratory disease
  • Virus shedding
  • Maternal antibody interference
  • Certain drug therapies
  • Fever or hypothermia
  • Stress

It is best to contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is having a reaction to a vaccine.