Sunday, May 12, 2013

 Hello and welcome friends to the May 12, 2013 edition of The Grable Report. I am Grable Davey and today I would like to talk about the largest epidemic and leading cause of death in cats around the world. - FELV, better known as Feline Leukemia Virus.


Feline Leukemia is a virus that affects Cats only, and cannot be transmitted to humans or other species of animals such as dogs. This virus causes a breakdown in a cats immune system, which in turn can cause the cat to be susceptible to other diseases that their bodies immune systems would normally fight off.

There are many truths and myths about this disease, and it is important to know the difference between the two when faced with the posibility of having a cat with this diesase...

First, here is the biggest myth of all...Having FELV is an automatic death sentence for your cat. Many people are advised by their Vet that a cat who is FELV is better off being put down.  This is simply NOT TRUE!!! The truth is, that many kittens and cats each year are falsely diagnoised with this disease after one blood test. Because the tests used for detection of the virus have a high rate of false positive results, it is important to have your kitty vaccinated for the virus and then re-tested again in 3 months time.

Your Veterinary professional has two tests that can be done to check for FELV. The first test known as ELISA is a test that uses your cats blood, and when mixed with the test chemicals checks for changes in the bloods color. If the tested blood changes color, it is considered a positive reaction to the disease in your cats system. Because of the high rate of false positive results, it is not considered to be really accurate by many professionals. With this test,  you can also have a light positive which shows that your cat has active virus in its blood, but it is not very active in your cats body. At this point, there is a very good chance that given the vaccinations, your cat's own immune system can throw off the virus if it is indeed, a true positive reading. Based on research, approx. 40% of all cats who test positive and then are given the vaccines will throw the virus off.

The second test is a much more accurate test known as IFA, and also uses blood from your cat, but this test checks to see if the virus is being produced in your cats bone marrow. If this test is positive, then the likelihood of your cat ever testing negative is very slim.

Regardless of which test you have, please remember that it is always very important to isolate your kitty away from other household cats. Follow up with your Vet in 3 months to have your baby rechecked after the vaccines have been administered! I know this to be true, because when Mommy had me tested when I first went to the Vet, I tested positive for the disease. Dr. Howell advise Mommy & Daddy to get me vaccinated and to be retested in 3 months time.

It seemed like a lifetime to be away from everyone, but, after 3 months, I was again tested and guess what...NO FELV for me!!!!! I was just fine!  I have been fine since then and that was over 3 years ago!

Now for more facts and falsehoods for kitties that unfortunately do retest as positive...

If your cat re-tests positive, the most important thing to remember is, that there is no set time span on how long your cat will survive the disease.

Reseachers will give people statistics of 4 years or less (researchers often say 83% of all infected cats will not live past 4 years), but with the increased treatment options that are available in todays medicine, these statistics are no longer neccessarily the case. Many cats are living long full lives while battling the disease.

Myth...there are no viable treatments to slow down the disease...
again not true! Many Vets are now using agressive treatment with drugs such as :
Immuno Regulin
Interferon Alpha
Lymphlocyte T-Cell
Immune Modulator
Staph Protein A

Also, many vitamin and mineral supplements and special diets designed to help blood production have been shown to slow down the progression of the the virus and improve their bodies own immune defenses.

Another helpful thing is, to make sure that your cats dental care is always up to date. Because this virus affects your cats teeth and gums,  they can loose teeth and develop gingivitis which can trigger other illnesses if not treated properly. Make sure that you notify your Vet if you notice any changes in your cat's teeth or breath.

Probably the most important care you can give your cat that is FELV positive, is to make sure that its surroundings are as free of stress as possible. Always feed them on a regular schedule. Keep them away from stressful situations like strangers in your home, moving or kenneling, territorial conflicts with other pets, and anything that can cause stress. These things can affect your cats immune system and can trigger illness.

Because of the difficulty of accurately diagnoising FELV, it is important for you as a kitty parent, to be aware of the symptoms of the disease. If you notice any of these signs, make sure to get your baby to the Vet for testing! And most importantly, always stay up to date on your  cats vaccines annually.

Symptoms include:

Swollen Lymph Nodes
Toothloss and Gingivitis
Neurological disorders
Sores that do not heal or abscess
Unexplained weight loss

For more information on FELV and your treatment options, please visit these 2 great websites. They have FAQ pages to help you better understand the disease, and how to get the help you need, as well as getting your kitty the best treatments possible:

Cornell University Veterinary Medicine
or click here for the Feline Leukemia support organization.

Well thats our report for today. We hope that you have found the information given to be helpful. Please visit us again next time for another edition of the Grable Report. Till then, I am Grable Davey, and remember, all cats are individuals and many have special needs. Always give us the care and love we need, and we will return your love a thousand times over!!

Friday, May 10, 2013


Hi fur-iends and welcome back to The Grable Report!  I am Grable Davey and in todays edition we will be talking about why cats purr...

As most humans will agree people adore the sound of a purring cat...but what is the reason that we cats purr?

Well lets start with what researchers tell us...a purr is actually a vibration noise caused when your kitty inhales and exhales air.  During normal breathing the space between our vocal chords opens and closes...this is controlled by our internal Larynageal muscle.  This muscle in turn is controlled by a very unique Neural Oscillator located in our I guess you can say we have to use our head to purr...purr-ty smart don't you think!!

There are many types of purrs in the feline world but,  not all cats have the ability to purr...

To really understand purring we have to start when we are just newborn kittens, because this is actually the age that cats learn to purr.

Our mothers use their purr to let us know where she is...because remember as newborns we are deaf and blind so the vibrations that are emitted from her purr guides us to her and her all important milk!  Amazingly by the age of 2 days old we begin to also purr in return to our mom and littermates. I guess that makes us really smart for being so helpless and young! Did you know that our mommy even uses her purrs to soothe and lull us to sleep...sort of like when a human sings a lullabye to a baby.


Because we learn to purr as infants it is believed that we retain this into adulthood and many kitties even continue as adult cats to purr and knead with their front paws on soft material. This was a comfort thing when we were young and needing to prompt mommys breasts to give purring and kneading really do go paw in paw with a lot of us. So if a person tells you that a cat that kneads while purring was taken from their mommy to will know this for what it really is. It is not insecurity as some believe, we are just trying to be comforted by our new mommys or!

Now for a myth buster...
It is often said by humans that cats purr because they are happy or content...

This is not necessarily true, certainly we do purr when we are happy or content but, we also purr when we are frightened, nervous, in labor or even sick or in pain. Purring is a stress and pain reliever in the feline world. Purring has even been studied in cats that have damaged bones or tissue. It is believed that the vibration that is emitted when a cat purrs can promote healing and,   because the average cats injuries heal faster than most other mammals and much faster than those of a human this seems to have a lot of truth to it. When medical researchers used the simular vibration frequency to that of a purr on injured humans the effect seemed to speed healing. Some experts even agree the purring in felines might actually be an evolutionary asset for your kitty.

Whatever the reason for us to purr, our humans seem to agree that after just a short time of being with their four legged furfaced family member they come to recognize each different purr sound and can identify it to a specific need, almost like a human mothers ability to distingush their babies different cries...whether hungry, needing a pottybreak or simply wanting to be held and loved.

Boy are we smart or what!

So the next time your favorite feline gives you a purr remember...they learned this first from a mothers love...and now they are passing that love to you!

Thank you for reading this Grable Report...Join us again next time for more interesting facts about your cat!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much??

Hi and welcome to the May 7th edition of The Grable Report. For those of you who are new to The Grable Report,  let me introduce myself...I am Grable Davey,  a former feral kitty and one of the spokeskitties for The Kitty Kanteen Feral Cat and Kitten Rescue in New Haven, Michigan. In todays report,  we are going to explore the age old question..."Why do cats sleep so much?".

Everyone knows the old adage of the Cat Nap...but do you know what this term means?? Lets find out!
A normal cat will sleep on average 15- 18 hours per day...did you know that this is more than any other mammal with the exception of a Opposum or a bat?
The reason for this goes back to a time when all cats were wild animals who survived in the world by predatory means...they hunted everyday to live!

The lives of cats in todays world have changed drastically,  but the hunting instinct is still an inbred part of their physiology...I guess you can say that you can take the cat out of the hunt, but you can't take the hunting instinct out of a cat.

A cats day usually follows a set pattern...they are by nature a crepuscular creature...this means that they are most active between the hours of twilight and dawn as this is hunt time, a time to creep, pounce and capture, even when it is only a toy or another family or colony member...humphhh maybe that is why we get into so much mischief during the night hours when our human counterparts are sleeping!
But fear not, this doesn't mean that we stay awake all night.  No,  due to years of domestication,  we have adapted to our human families sleep patterns. We sneak in enough cat naps during the dark of night,  so that we can still enjoy quality time during the daylight hours when you humans are awake...hey,  we love you,  and want to spend time with you too!

Although you think we sleep alot, our sleeping pattern is very different from what you as humans experience. Lets see why....

Now here is the definition of the term Cat Nap.  A cat nap is equivalent to a light doze...just a few minutes of rest lasting anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes. Our eyes are closed, but our body language is still in spring mode. During our cat nap,  you will notice that our heads are usually laid on our paws which are placed under our bodies.  This is done so that at a minutes notice,  we can spring into action. Due to the fact that our sense of sound and smell are still very active,  we can smell a mouse or food in an instant. Did you ever wonder why,  when you thought we were in a deep sleep,  we could still be awake in an instant when we hear the whirl of the can opener?  Now you know, we are not really sleeping... we are just resting our eyes!

After our cat nap time,  our bodies usually start to relax. We will stretch out and flip onto our backs or sides. Now,  we are really ready to snooze!  During this time we will go into a deep sleep. This is accompanied by rapid brain movement,  and tends to last from 5 - 6 minutes. It is like a REM dream state. Yes, we do dream!  After about the 5 - 6 minutes in this REM sleep,  we usually revert back to our light slumber. This pattern keeps repeating until we wake up recharged,  and are once again ready to go!!

There are a few exceptions to our sleeping pattern. Kittens and senior cats (due to energy levels),  always require more snooze time than the normal adult cat. Also,  if we are ill,  we sleep more. Another thing that can affect a cats sleeping habit is the weather. A cold or rainy day will usually find us looking for a warm cozy place to snuggle in for a few extra zzzzz!!!

Well,  that is The Grable Report for today. We hope you enjoyed this edition,  and it helped you understand the cat nap! I am Grable Davey,  and remember, We may sleep alot, but when we cats are awake...Look out world!!