TEARS is having a Sleepover


If your idea of a perfect Saturday night is to curl up with a blanket and a furbaby (or two, or three) then this event is for you! Whip out your sleeping bag and camping gear and spend a night at our shelter bunking in an enclosure with rescued dogs and cats on the 14, 21 or 28 November.

A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. Find out why shelter pets cuddle better, help fundraise for their future and join us for a sleepover you’ll never forget!


Source: TEARS

Nurdles wash up on Cape Town beaches

Nurdles wash up on Cape Town beaches

The Shark Spotters Coastal Rehabilitation team has been noticing a lot of nurdles that have washed up on South Peninsula beaches over the last week – with nurdles found at Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Simonstown, Millers Point, Witsands, and Kommetjie so far.

Nurdles are tiny beads of virgin plastic that are melted down and injection moulded to make a variety of new plastic products.

Nurdles threaten the marine environment as they easily make their way into the food chain when fish and other filter-feeding marine creatures mistake them for eggs and miniature jellyfish.

“We need YOUR help to clean up the nurdles and quantify how bad this pollution event is! Please go down to your local beach and collect as many nurdles as you can find,” the South African National Parks (SANParks) urged via Facebook.

“Once collected, please drop them at any of the Shark Spotters stations (Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, etc) where they will weigh them, and together with The Beach Co-op will ensure that we get an accurate record of the extent of the pollution and that they are properly disposed of.”

The organisation added that those who collect nurdles are urged to leave a note in the bag containing them which stipulates the date and location they were located from.

“Unfortunately, there are occasional incidents at sea where containers are lost overboard and the nurdles are released, causing a major environmental disaster,” SANParks said.

“So please help us keep our oceans healthy by collecting nurdles at your local beach and bringing them to Shark Spotters!”

Source: www.capetownetc.com

KATAZA – Cape of Good Hope SPCA Intervenes

By: Rhys Krohn


The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has spent an extensive period of time monitoring the integration, movements and behaviour of SK11 / Kataza since we were notified of his relocation to Tokai. We hoped he would integrate and be able to live out his natural life on the Peninsula but we are now concerned about his wellbeing and welfare, and that of other animals and the public in general. For this reason, we approached the City of Cape Town on 21 October 2020 with a proposal to capture SK11 / Kataza and relocate him to the Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Limpopo. The rehabilitation centre is owned and managed by well-known primatologist Mr Bob Venter, who welcomes the arrival of SK11 / Kataza. All costs associated with the relocation process will be borne by Cape of Good Hope SPCA on receipt of approval from Cape Nature.

A representative of the City of Cape Town responded on 22 October 2020 informing the Cape of Good Hope SPCA that, inter alia, the City does not agree with certain statements expressed in our correspondence regarding the condition and behaviour of SK11 / Kataza. The representative also informed us that the City of Cape Town does not own the wild baboons in the Cape Peninsula and that the Cape of Good Hope SPCA would need to approach Cape Nature for the relevant permits. 

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has submitted an application to Cape Nature today for the necessary permit to capture and relocate SK11 / Kataza to the Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. We are of the view that this is the only solution for SK11 / Kataza at this stage. Relocating SK11 / Kataza back to his natal troop in Slangkop is not an option as he will be met with the same reintegration challenges. We are particularly concerned about his raiding behaviour escalating in his natal territory, which may result in dire consequences for him, something that the Cape of Good Hope SPCA aims to avert with this proposed solution.

We wish to assure our supporters that we will continue to fight for SK11 / Kataza and will do everything within our statutory powers to ensure he is afforded the protection he deserves.

All media related enquiries may be directed to [email protected]

Source: SPCA


Pulmonary Fibrosis – A Serious Lung Condition in Dogs

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Dogs and cats can develop a variety of airway and lung conditions like chronic bronchitis and asthma. Unfortunately, they can also develop a lesser known but debilitating condition called pulmonary fibrosis. This week I wanted to spend some time discussing this lung condition. I hope you find the information interesting and helpful. Happy reading!

Pulmonary Fibrosis – What is it?

To understand pulmonary fibrosis, you need to first have abasic understanding of how oxygen gets from the lungs to the blood. Air enters the respiratory tract through the nose. It travels through the nasopharynx through the larynx (voice box) and into the trachea (windpipe). From the trachea, air travels through arborizing bronchi and bronchioles until it reaches the alveoli, grape-like clusters of air sacs. It’s here where oxygen and carbon dioxide diffuse across a barrier that is only three cells thick –this barrier is called the respiratory membrane. The three layers are the alveolar epithelium, the interstitial space, and the capillary endothelium. Oxygen moves from alveoli into capillary blood, and carbon dioxide moves from capillary blood to alveoli to be exhaled.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Illustration of the respiratory membrane. Image courtesy of Brandon Gibson.

Veterinarians don’t fully understand the exact cause of pulmonary fibrosis. A genetic component is strongly suspected based on multiple studies documenting predisposed breeds and increased gene expression. A current theory suggests scarring or fibrosis of the respiratory membrane develops due to a defective healing process following an insult that damages alveoli. This alveolar damage induces progressive fibrosis. As the respiratory membrane becomes more fibrotic, oxygen and carbon dioxide aren’t able to diffuse efficiently.     

Pulmonary Fibrosis – What does it look like?

Pulmonary fibrosis doesn’t have a sex predilection. However, it’s most often documented in middle-aged and geriatric dogs. West Highland white terriers are over-represented for developing this condition. Indeed, pulmonary fibrosis is often called “westie fibrosis.” Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic and progressive disease; most patients develop clinical signs over several months and often are bright and alert during most times.

Clinical signs often reported by families include:

  • Exercise intolerance
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Increased panting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Wheezing
  • Cyanosis (blue/purple/grey tint to tongue and gums)
  • Reduced appetite

A veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination. They will listen carefully to both the lungs and heart with a stethoscope to listen for abnormal sounds including bilateral inspiratory crackles, wheezes, abnormal heart rhythms, heart murmur, and/or abnormal breathing effort.

Pulmonary Fibrosis – How is it diagnosed?

After performing a complete physical examination, a veterinarian will recommend some non-invasive testing, including:

  • Minimum database blood/urine testing to screen for systemic/metabolic conditions that could cause similar clinical signs
  • Blood gas analysis to evaluate a patient’s ability to oxygen (breathe in oxygen) and ventilate (breathe out carbon dioxide)
  • Pulse oximetry to measure hemoglobin saturation with oxygen in the body – hemoglobin transports oxygen throughout the body
  • Diagnostic imaging (i.e.: chest radiographs/x-rays and/or computed tomography) are very important for looking at the airways and lungs
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid analysis is a minimally invasive lung test used to help rule out other lung disorders
  • Lung biopsy is required to make a definitive diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis
Pulmonary Fibrosis

Photo courtesy of Canine Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pet parents will likely find it invaluable to partner with a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist to develop a cost-effective and logical diagnostic plan.

Pulmonary Fibrosis – How is it treated?

To date, we do not have a long-term effective treatment for pulmonary fibrosis. Some may temporarily benefit from anti-inflammatory and airway dilating medications. Anti-fibrotic medications used to slow disease progression in humans have not yet been sufficiently studied in dogs. As the disease progresses, many require chronic oxygen supplementation, necessitating the use of oxygen tents at home. Furthermore, some benefit from anti-cough drugs, as well as medications to reduce pulmonary hypertension. Unfortunately, the long-term prognosis for affected pets is poor with a mean survival time of ~11 months. Anecdotal evidence suggests early diagnosis and subsequent initiation of supportive therapies may prolong survival with some pets surviving 3-4 years.

The take-away message about pulmonary fibrosis in dogs & cats…

Pulmonary fibrosis is an uncommon debilitating lung condition that negatively affects a pet’s ability to breathe comfortably and adequately. A lung biopsy is required for definitive diagnosis. To date there is no specific treatment for pulmonary fibrosis, and treatments are purely supportive in nature.

Source: CriticalCareDVM


Wags and Purrs Fact sheet on night time activity in cats

Night time activity


Cats are known for sleeping for long hours during the day. They hunt mostly at dusk and dawn and tend to spend their nights patrolling their territories if they are outdoor cats or just being active. If we sleep all day we would also not want to sleep all night either. Some cats are not only active at night though but like to make sure they keep their owners awake as well. Below are the reasons why they do this and what you can do to stop your kitty from giving you sleepless nights.

Why is my cat so active at night time?

  • Play and boredom : Your cat might want you to play with him/ her. You may not be playing with your cat enough during the day so your cat is full of energy at night and bored.
  • Hungry: Your cat might want you to feed him/ her.
  • Company: Your cat might want your undivided attention. If you have given your cat attention during the day and then you go to sleep and don’t give your cat attention your cat may find this rather annoying. Likewise if you work all day then come home spend two hours with your cat and then go to bed your cat may be lonely and bored especially if you have an indoor cat. Even if you don’t have a lap cat or cat that loves getting cuddles all day cat’s still enjoy human interaction. Sometimes just the presence of you makes your cat happy.
  • Litter tray: Your cats litter tray may be dirty and they want it to be cleaned before they use it. Some cats won’t use a dirty litter tray.
  • Medical issues: If your cat is ill or in pain they may not be able to settle down at night which may make them more vocal and active. Blood pressure and hyperthyroidism are two conditions that may cause your cat to stay awake. If you have an old cat he/she may also be going senile which makes them feel disorientated causing them to cry out for you.
  • Stress: Sometimes a change in your cat’s lifestyle such as the death of another pet or person in your household that your cat was close too can cause your cat to feel stressed and upset and this can keep your cat awake at night. You may just need to be patient with your cat if this is the case and give them time to mourn.

How to stop your cat from being overly active at night time

  • Vet check: With all behaviour issues I always suggest owners take their cats to the vet first to rule out any medical reasons for a behaviour. If your cat has a clean bill of health then you can try the tips below.
  • Play with your cat before bed: Schedule a few interactive play sessions with your cat in the evening to tire your cat out. Try using toys that mimic the movement of mice and birds such as flirt poles (see photo below) or toys attached to ropes/ string. You can buy these toys at any pet shop. Games with pin pong balls, soft balls and mice toys are great as well if your cat enjoys fetch games. Play with your cat until they seem tired. Make sure you play with your cat during the day as well especially if your cat is an indoor cat. They need to be kept stimulated otherwise they will become bored and full of pent up energy.
  • Feed your cat before bed: Feed your cat their main meal before bedtime. Cats tend to sleep after a big meal. If your cat continues to keep you awake at night for food purchase a timed feeder from a pet shop or online that you can fill and set to dispense once or twice during the night. If your cat is hungry he/she will learn to wait by the feeder for food rather than disturb you. Make sure you reduce meals so your cat does not gain weight.
  • Shut your cat out your room: Sometimes cats can unintentionally hurt us when we are sleeping by swatting our faces or biting us to get us to wake up. If your cat does this to you may need to shut him/ her out of the room at night. Your cat will most probably scratch and cry at the door if you do this. You can discourage your cat from doing this by placing something in front of the door that he/she won’t want to step on like a vinyl carpet placed upside down to expose the knobbly parts, double sided sticky tape or aluminium foil. Ignoring your cats meows will take a lot of will power from you but you need to try your best not to give into the cat as this just rewards his/her behaviour.
  • Set up a bed for your cat in a separate room. Put your cat’s bed, food, litter tray, water and toys in a separate room and lock your cat in the room for the night. Quite a few people I house sit for do this with their cats. It’s a good idea to start doing this from when you first get your cat so they get used it though otherwise you will have to put up with your cat crying for the first few nights.
  • Litter trays: Clean your cat’s litter tray twice a day. So in the morning and before bed time as an example. Don’t allow poop to collect in the litter tray. You would not like to use your toilet if it had lots of poop in it and neither does your cat. Cats are very clean animals.
  • Get another cat: If you only have one cat and your cat seems to be sociable towards other cats then maybe consider getting another cat. A cat may offer your lonely cat companionship during the day and may lessen those nocturnal urges to wake you to play. This is especially true of kittens that are much more active and it’s a good time to introduce cats to each other when they are kittens. Please note that if you have an adult cat you need to make sure you choose a second cat wisely. You don’t want your cat to become more stressed.

A funny video for you to watch if your cat keeps you awake J This video does not offer advice but it’s something to make you smile.


Information in this fact sheet is taken from the following books/ websites:



The Cat Detective – Vicky Hall

Source: Wags and Purrs

Study Finds That a Dog’s Heart Rate Jumps When You Say “I Love You” To Them

Study Finds That a Dog’s Heart Rate Jumps When You Say “I Love You” To Them

Photo: Stock Photos from MANGOSTAR/Shutterstock

Have you told your dog lately that you love it? You may want to start saying those three little words every chance you get. A recent study has proved what dog-lovers always suspected: dogs understand and physically react to this loving phrase. The study by Canine Cottage measured canine bodily reactions and found pups’ heart rates increased an average of 46.2% while being told, “I love you.”

The heart-warming study used monitors to track dogs’ pulses through different activities. The researchers found that saying the specific phrase “I love you” to your dog excites the animal and elevates its heart rate. In contrast, cuddling your pet has a calming effect. Snuggles with their human decreased dogs’ resting heart rate by an average of 22.7%. These bodily responses to emotional stimuli are a two-way street. The study reported that human heart rates increased by about 10.4% when they saw their dogs. This data adds to the body of science explaining why dogs are “man’s best friend.”

While a dog’s heart rate can shed light on its emotions, “love” probably means something slightly different to humans and dogs. Dogs lick faces, wag their tails, and jump on their owners with enthusiasm to demonstrate their love and loyalty. Humans offer belly rubs, head scratches, and chew toys as signs of devotion. But some expressions of love are not understood so easily across species. According to Canine Cottage, dogs do not maliciously chew and destroy their humans’ things. This frustrating behavior actually stems from a desire to calm themselves by chewing upon an object with their human’s delightful scent. This annoying behavior is really a mark of how much your dog loves you.

You can find more puppy love facts on Canine Cottage’s website. And don’t forget to tell your pup you love them today and make their heart jump for joy.

A new study by Canine Cottage found that a dog’s heart rate jumps 46.2% when you say, “I love you.”

Study Finds That a Dog’s Heart Rate Jumps When You Say “I Love You” To Them

Photo: Stock Photos from DON HUAN/Shutterstock

Dogs understand and get excited by expressions of love, while cuddles actually calm a dog and lower its pulse.

Study Finds That a Dog’s Heart Rate Jumps When You Say “I Love You” To Them

Photo: Stock Photos from DI STUDIO/Shutterstock

Humans’ heart rates increase upon seeing their pup. The biological reaction to love goes both ways.

Study Finds That a Dog’s Heart Rate Jumps When You Say “I Love You” To Them

Photo: Stock Photos from YUTTANA JAOWATTANA/Shutterstock

Source: My Modern Met
By Madeleine Muzdakis 

The Cat’s Tongue

The cats tongue

the cats tongue

Domestic cats are known for their grooming habits. They may devote 24 percent of their waking hours to grooming. This cleaning habit owes its efficiency to the cat’s amazingly equipped tongue.

Consider: The cat’s tongue is covered with 290 papillae, tiny backward-facing spines that are about as stiff as your fingernail. Each papilla has a groove that instantly picks up saliva when the tongue is drawn into the cat’s mouth. As the cat licks its fur, the papillae reach down through the hairs and release the saliva onto the skin.

An enlarged view of the papillae

An enlarged view of the papillae

A cat’s tongue can transfer about 48 milliliters (1.6 oz) of saliva to its skin and fur every day. This saliva contains enzymes that break down contaminants. Additionally, as the saliva evaporates, it provides almost one quarter of the cat’s body cooling—essential because cats have few sweat glands.

If one of the papillae hits a tangle, it swings deeper into the fur, which substantially increases the force and pulls the snag loose. The tips of the papillae may also stimulate the skin when the cat is grooming. Researchers imitated the properties of the cat’s tongue when they made an experimental hairbrush. This brush combs hair with less force than a standard hairbrush and can be cleaned more easily—plus it unsnarls tangles. The researchers believe that the cat’s tongue could inspire the development of better ways to clean hairy and shaggy surfaces. It may also be used to improve methods of applying lotions or medications onto skin that is covered with hair.

What do you think? Did the cat’s tongue evolve? Or was it designed?

Source: Awake – JW.org

More articles:

Illness in Dogs – Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper

Canine Distempet!!! – Warning! Graphic imagery BUT necessary for DOG LOVERS AND WELFARE ACTIVISTS, knowledge is Power!!
The disease is highly contagious and potentially lethal.
A paramyxovirus causes distemper in dogs, and it is closely related to the measles and rinderpest viruses. It causes severe illness in the host by attacking multiple body systems, resulting in a widespread infection that is difficult to treat.
There are three ways dogs can get canine distemper:
  1. Through direct contact with an infected animal or object
  2. Through airborne exposure
  3. Through the placenta
Canine distemper is spread through direct contact or airborne exposure, When an infected dog coughs, sneezes, or barks, he releases aerosol droplets into the environment, infecting nearby animals and surfaces, like food and water bowls.
The GOOD news is that the virus does not last long in the environment and can be destroyed by most disinfectants👍.
The BAD news is that distemper-infected dogs can shed the virus for up to several months, 📆putting dogs around them at risk.👀🐶
This means that an outbreak of distemper in the local shelter can put dogs at risk of catching the disease even if they do not come into contact with other dogs.
Stage One
The first symptom of distemper in dogs is usually watery to pus-like discharge from his eyes!!
Most dogs develop a fever 3-to-6 days after being infected.
The symptoms associated with distemper in dogs during the first stages of infection are:
  • Fever
  • Clear nasal discharge
  • Purulent eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pustular dermatitis (rarely)
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
If a dog infected with distemper survives the acute stage of the illness, he may also develop hyperkeratosis of the paw pads and nose, which gives distemper the nickname “hard pad disease.” !!
This distemper symptom causes the pads of a dog’s feet to harden and enlarge and is uncomfortable.
One of the other risks associated with distemper in dogs is a secondary bacterial infection that attacks when a dog’s immune system is compromised by the distemper virus.
Secondary bacterial infections can cause respiratory and GI symptoms, including:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Change in respiratory rate
  • Pneumonia
Stage Two:

Some dogs develop neurological signs as the disease progresses and attacks the central nervous system. These SIGNS are particularly DISTURBING for owners.
  • Head tilt
  • Circling
  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Nystagmus (repetitive eye movements)
  • Muscle twitching
  • Convulsions with increased salivation and chewing motions
  • Death
Distemper in dogs presents with some or all of these symptoms, depending on the severity of the case. distemper is often FATAL, and dogs that survive usually have permanent, nervous system damage. 😢
What Is the Risk 👀
Distemper is a risk to all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies under four months old are susceptible to canine distemper.
If your puppy shows any symptoms of distemper, CALL your VET immediately!!!
Treatment for Distemper? 🧐
There is NO CURE for canine distemper. Once diagnosed, care is purely supportive to prevent secondary infections. The survival rate and length of infection depend on the strain of the virus and on the strength of the dog’s immune system.
distemper is ENTIRELY preventable!!!
  • Make sure your puppy gets the full distemper vaccinations
  • Keep distemper vaccinations up-to-date and avoid any gaps in vaccinations
  • Keep your dog away from infected animals
  • Be careful when socializing your puppy or unvaccinated dog, especially in areas like dog parks, classes, and doggy day care..
🙌🏻 call your VET IMMEDIATELY if you suspect your dog is showing symptoms of distemper.🙌🏻
Distemper, is ONE of the few cases defendant of severity, where PRO LIFE organization know with lack of funding and education about the disease, often result in the worst case scenario “euthanasia”
Canine Distemper
cacnine Distemper

Don’t blame cats for destroying wildlife – shaky logic is leading to moral panic

Don’t blame cats for destroying wildlife – shaky logic is leading to moral panic

In a 2019 study, cat remains were found in 19.8% of coyote scat. jhayes44/E+ via Getty Images

A number of conservationists claim cats are a zombie apocalypse for biodiversity that need to be removed from the outdoors by “any means necessary” – coded language for shooting, trapping and poisoning. Various media outlets have portrayed cats as murderous superpredators. Australia has even declared an official “war” against cats.

Moral panics emerge when people perceive an existential threat to themselves, society or the environment. When in the grip of a moral panic, the ability to think clearly and act responsibly is compromised. While the moral panic over cats arises from valid concerns over threats to native species, it obscures the real driver: humanity’s exploitative treatment of the natural world. Crucially, errors of scientific reasoning also underwrite this false crisis.

The (shaky) case against cats

Conservationists and the media often claim that cats are a main contributor to a mass extinction, a catastrophic loss of species due to human activities, like habitat degradation and the killing of wildlife.

As an interdisciplinary team of scientists and ethicists studying animals in conservation, we examined this claim and found it wanting. It is true that like any other predator, cats can suppress the populations of their prey. Yet the extent of this effect is ecologically complex.

The potential impact of cats differs between urban environments, small islands and remote deserts. When humans denude regions of vegetation, small animals are particularly at risk from cats because they have no shelter in which to hide.

Small animals are similarly vulnerable when humans kill apex predators that normally would suppress cat densities and activity. For instance, in the U.S., cats are a favorite meal for urban coyotes, who moderate feline impact; and in Australia, dingoes hunt wild cats, which relieves pressure on native small animals.

Add in contrary evidence and the case against cats gets even shakier. For instance, in some ecological contexts, cats contribute to the conservation of endangered birds, by preying on rats and mice. There are also documented cases of coexistence between cats and native prey species.

The fact is, cats play different predatory roles in different natural and humanized landscapes. Scientists cannot assume that because cats are a problem for some wildlife in some places, they are a problem in every place.

Faulty scientific reasoning

In our most recent publication in the journal Conservation Biology, we examine an error of reasoning that props up the moral panic over cats.

Scientists do not simply collect data and analyze the results. They also establish a logical argument to explain what they observe. Thus, the reasoning behind a factual claim is equally important to the observations used to make that claim. And it is this reasoning about cats where claims about their threat to global biodiversity founder. In our analysis, we found it happens because many scientists take specific, local studies and overgeneralize those findings to the world at large.

Even when specific studies are good overall, projecting the combined “results” onto the world at large can cause unscientific overgeneralizations, particularly when ecological context is ignored. It is akin to pulling a quote out of context and then assuming you understand its meaning.

Ways forward

So how might citizens and scientists chart a way forward to a more nuanced understanding of cat ecology and conservation?

First, those examining this issue on all sides can acknowledge that both the well-being of cats and the survival of threatened species are legitimate concerns.

Second, cats, like any other predator, affect their ecological communities. Whether that impact is good or bad is a complex value judgment, not a scientific fact.

Third, there is a need for a more rigorous approach to the study of cats. Such an approach must be mindful of the importance of ecological context and avoid the pitfalls of faulty reasoning. It also means resisting the siren call of a silver (lethal) bullet.

Don’t blame cats for destroying wildlife

A lazy day at a cat sanctuary in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Canadianknowledgelover/Wikimedia, CC BY

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Yet there are many options to consider. Protecting apex predators and their habitat is fundamental to enabling threatened species to coexist with cats. In some cases, people may choose to segregate domestic cats from vulnerable wildlife: for instance, with catios where cats can enjoy the outdoors while being kept apart from wildlife. In other cases, unhomed cats may be managed with trap-neuter-return programs and sanctuaries.

Finally, contrary to the framing of some scientists and journalists, the dispute over cats is not primarily about the science. Rather, it evokes an ongoing debate over the ethics that ought to guide humanity’s relationship with other animals and nature.

This is the root of the moral panic over cats: the struggle to move beyond treating other beings with domination and control, toward fostering a relationship rooted in compassion and justice.

Joann Lindenmayer, DVM, MPH is an associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University and contributed to this article.

Source: The Conversation


What is Whisker Fatigue?

By: Danielle Guercio

Whisker Fatigue

Whiskers are one of a cat’s most beautiful features. Those long, thick, white hairs pointing outwards not only frame their cute faces, they can flick to signal emotions and act like 3D sensors to determine a cat’s position. Cat whiskers are actually called vibrissae, and are so intensely vital to a cat’s hunting instincts and mobility that they even have tiny sensory organs on the tips.

How Do Whiskers Work?

PetMD paints a clearer picture about whiskers and what they do for your cat: “They act as high-powered antennae that pull signals into their brain and nervous system. The ultra-sensitive sensory organs at the base of the whiskers, called proprioceptors, tell your cat a lot about her world. They provide your cat with information regarding her own orientation in space and the what and where of her environment.”

Cat whiskers are just one of the super predator tools they have at their disposal. For this reason, whenever the whiskers touch anything, it causes a sensorial experience, and that repeated sensation can cause stress, some say.

How Do Cats Get ‘Whisker Fatigue’?

There are opposing viewpoints on kitties suffering from ‘whisker fatigue.’ While some published works support the theory, others (and most veterinarians) doubt it’s a true condition.

According to ModernCat.com, “Your cat’s whiskers are so sensitive that they can become easily fatigued by unnecessary contact with things like the sides of bowls. To help prevent whisker fatigue, make sure your cat’s food bowls are low and shallow and her water dish is wide.”

On the other paw, a Tufts Veterinary school spokesperson told Boston Magazine that this isn’t a diagnosed issue, and potentially not a concern for pet owners. The article, called Did The New York Times Publish Fake News About Cats from 2017 says, “Most pet owners care deeply about their animal’s well-being, and framing an entire story around an ailment that appears to be unknown to legitimate veterinarians is careless and could cause people to delay seeking out proper care for their animals.” The magazine suggests that the issue might be linked to pet accessory sales, i.e. pet food and water bowls.

So while it would appear that the information is conflicting, blaming the concept’s spread on a some pet bowl companies may be too simple of an explanation. PetMD says that this isn’t a disease or illness, though they wrote that cats can become stressed by a less-than-ideal feeding or water situation.

Though not every vet or cat owner ‘believes in’ whisker fatigue, if you notice your cat becoming agitated near their food or water source, they aren’t eating or are having behavioral incidents, this could be a sign of dissatisfaction with bowls. Just make sure your vet has advised that your kitty doesn’t have an underlying health issue like tooth decay, tummy troubles, or a chronic condition. If it’s the bowl, then there are some solutions you can provide to give them a better experience, although it might be an experiment of trial and error. Try different bowls, check in with other cat parents, and do some research online to see what’s out there. You’ll want a bowl without edges or corners that may hit whiskers, one that keeps the food in the middle of the dish, and something that can be cleaned easily. Some plastic feeders are porous, so food can eventually be absorbed regardless of cleaning. Additionally, cats change over their lifetimes and can sometimes want something entirely different.

Where the water is matters as well. Cathealth.com suggests a water source away from your cat’s food to mimic how they hydrate in the wild. Cats prefer running water, and don’t drink as much water in the wild where they’re eating meat. A pet fountain could be a great solution, provided you don’t allow it to build up biofilm and bacteria, as this can cause urinary issues.

Whatever vessel you provide for your cat to eat and drink out of, make sure it’s clean, easy to access, and that your cat takes to it naturally.

Source: healthy paws