THE DISEASES OF ANIMALS; A BOOK OF BRIEF AND POPULAR ADVICE ON THE CARE AND THE COMMON AILMENTS OF FARM ANIMALS
A Book Of Brief And Popular Advice On The Care And The Common Ailments Of Farm Animals By Nelson S. Mayo, M.S., D.V.S. professor of Veterinary Science in the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Formerly Professor of Veterinary Science in the Kansas State Agricultural College, and State Veterinarian of Kansas
THE CARE OF PETS
The care of pet animals must depend very largely on the species of animal, and on the location as to whether in the city or country. In the country pets are very much more easily cared for and much less liable to disease and injury, on account of the freedom, variety of food, exercise and free surroundings. In choosing pets, it is good policy to select pure -bred animals of excellent individuality, as it costs no more to keep a good individual than a poor one, and the increased satisfaction that results is ample compensation. In choosing pets two points should be taken into consideration: (1) Docility, as it is much easier to care for quiet animals than for uneasy and nervous ones; (2) as a rule, medium -sized, short-haired animals are most easily cared for. In some cases, as in Angora cats, the long hair is a leading attraction; and these instances, therefore, are exceptions to the rule. If possible, one should select pets that can be kept for use as well as for pleasure.
In those animals in which the beauty and interest lie largely in the coat, extra care and precaution must be taken to keep it in prime condition. Light -colored animals require more attention than dark ones.
In caring for pets it is important that the natural tastes of the animal be taken into consideration, consider whether it is herbivorous, living largely upon grass and grain, or carnivorous, subsisting chiefly on meat and other animal foods. Yet domesticated animals are usually not exclusively restricted to one diet, but will eat a variety of both animal and vegetable foods. Such variety, if palatable, is important in maintaining health and vigor.
A food that is suited to nearly all pets, since it furnishes all the necessary elements for their growth, is milk. It should be fed while sweet and preferably while it is warm from the cow. Warm milk seems to possess unknown health -giving qualities that disappear after it has been kept a half day or more. In feeding milk to pets, care should be taken not to allow them to have too much at a time. One of the greatest dangers to pet animals is overfeeding. They should be allowed small quantities frequently in order to keep them in a thrifty, vigorous condition.
Cats hold a prominent place as pets on account of their cleanly, domestic natures, and their usefulness in keeping premises free from rats and mice. The chief objection to them is that they do not always distinguish between animals that are to be protected and those that are to be destroyed. They often prey upon the birds about the premises and even on young chickens.
In country places cats require no special care or attention except such as may be given to fancy individuals. Milk and table scraps, supplemented by what they gather in foraging, furnish a good variety of food. In cities, where it is necessary to confine them, the problem is more difficult. If possible the quarters for cats should be warm, sunny and dry. A bed of clean straw is better than a pillow, because easily renewed, as it should be from time to time. A pan with dry earth or sawdust should be kept where the cat may have access to it. This should be changed frequently, as cats are cleanly animals. In feeding young cats, care must be exercised that they do not eat too much, as indigestion induced by this cause may bring on convulsions or "fits."
When a kitten has a convulsion it should be wrapped in warm cloths and placed in quiet quarters; after it recovers a half teaspoonful of mustard mixed with a little tepid water may be given to induce vomiting and thus to empty the stomach. This maybe followed with one -half to one teaspoonful of castor oil administered with a little warm milk to purge the bowels. Usually cats that can run out of doors will eat grass or other green leaves that tend to correct digestive troubles. When cats are confined, bits of celery may be given in the place of grass and leaves.
Caring for the coats of pet animals is important. Cats and dogs can be washed frequently with some mild soap and warm soft water ; the soap should then be rinsed from the skin and the hair should be laid in the proper direction before it dries; after the body is dry the coat can be gone over with a soft brush. Brushing the coat is much better than combing it. Some cats can become accustomed to washing with water, but most of them resent it. A little sweet cream rubbed on the coat induces the average cat to lick the hair down smoothly.
The following advice on the care of cats, by C. H. Jones, editor of "The Cat Journal," is reprinted, by permission from "Country Life in America" for November, 1902 :
"There are two mistaken opinions regarding cats; one, that the cat is a hardy animal; the other, that a cat, no matter how or where abandoned, is able to provide for itself.
"First, a cat is not a hardy animal; her organization is delicate, her nervous system sensitive. Second, a cat cannot always provide for herself, even in her natural state and with all her native instincts unimpaired. Even man, when unaided, often fails here. In hard winters the Indian starves in his wigwam, and the wild -cat starves in the woods. Much less, then, is a cat that is accustomed to the comforts of a home and the surroundings of civilized life able to take care of herself. Of all the cats abandoned each year when the summer cottages are closed, the greater part lose their 'nine lives ' and are 'gathered to their fathers ' long before the winter is half over.
"People who pay high prices for Persians and Angoras are willing to take pains to keep them in health and life, and they try to give them proper attention; but while care is needed, it is easy to give them too much if knowledge is lacking on the part of owners. The pet is fed with wrong foods at wrong times, and if a little indisposition manifests itself it is usually faithfully drugged and killed off in the best of style.
"The common causes of death among cats are teething, worms and overfeeding, especially the last. Cats should be fed only at regular intervals, like individuals who wish to keep well; adult cats twice a day; kittens not over four times. If there are but few cats in the house, feed them from the assortment left from the table, including a liberal proportion of vegetables and cereals. Beef and mutton are good; also white-meated fish cooked and boned, raw cream, fresh or scalded milk. A little lack of appetite should cause no alarm. Remember that more cats die from overeating than from starvation. It is better to err on the side of underfeeding.
"Soft foods, like oatmeal, must be thoroughly well cooked. Rolled oat preparations should cook at least six hours. Dry package foods are better. In case of bowel looseness, no solid foods should be given; the animal should be fed for a time on scalded milk, which may be strengthened by adding arrowroot, rice or oatmeal water, or any of the patented baby foods. Liver is an intestinal irritant, lacking nutriment; it should be given only cooked, and occasionally as a relish. Most cats are fond of a food made of one part finely chopped beef or mutton, two parts stale whole wheat or graham bread softened with water; add an egg or two, and bake till thoroughly cooked but not crisped. This is a wholesome and an excellent preparation. It is a good food to use in shipping. Sprinkle a little pinch of sulfur on the soft-boiled or poached egg that you give them twice a week, or if they are not partial to egg it may be sprinkled on the other food. As sulfur is practically tasteless, they will not object to its use in this manner.
"A common cause of sickness, especially in long- haired cats, is clogging of the stomach and intestines with hair in the shedding season. The cat should be brushed daily with a soft bristle brush, removing by this gentle process as much of the hair as possible. This will not prevent the cat from licking itself and swallowing hair; but it will prevent it, to a certain extent, from becoming dangerously injured by it. During the 'molting season,' give daily with her food a dessert -spoonful of fresh olive oil; if she objects to this, mix it with a little juice from a can of salmon. The oil will assist her in disposing of the hair in a natural manner. If the cat throws up casts of hair, congratulate her, as it is one of nature's ways of affording relief.
"Cats should be kept free from matted clots of hair, for vermin deposit their eggs in these. A comb will disentangle them if used in time, but if they do not easily yield, work them full of vaseline, and leave over night; this loosens them so that a comb should remove them; but if they still resist, remove them with scissors, taking care not to hurt the skin. This matted hair is usually dead hair and should come out.
"Washing cats is not a good practice. In case of sickness, for sanitary purposes, dry boracic acid, dusted into the hair and brushed out, will accomplish the result desired with less annoyance to the animal. If the cat needs cleaning, fill the fur with damp, warm bran and brush it.
"At the first sign of dryness of the ear, fill with dry boracic acid and leave in the ear. This applied daily for a week will usually bring about natural and healthful conditions. If the kitten scratches her ear, crying at the same time, examine the ear; if it is coated or partially filled with a dry, scaly, bloody substance, a few drops of peroxide of hydrogen mixed with an equal quantity of water, dropped into the ear, will cause a foam to appear. Wipe this off with a soft dry cloth, then dust in dry boracic acid. A few such treatments will usually effect a cure. The malady, if neglected, almost always ends in an abscess.
"In general, one should not be in too much haste to doctor a cat. If there is no certainty as to what her trouble is, and no specialist on cat diseases accessible, it is better simply to keep her warm and feed her on light diet, and leave nature to effect a cure. This is far preferable to filling her system with a lot of drugs that are perhaps not indicated by the symptoms. Remedies recommended for dogs are generally fatal to cats, and must be used with great caution and given only by a specialist. Anything containing carbolic acid is almost certain death to a cat. A sick cat wants quiet; so do not torment her by fussing over her all the time, for by this mistaken kindness you may kill the animal.
"If a kitten has a fit, which is usually caused by teething, worms, too much or too strong food, submerge her at once to the neck in warm water, with cold water on her head; leave for five or ten minutes, then dry with a soft cloth, old newspapers, or tissue paper, and lay in a dark place, cover warmly and let alone. If you notice the spasm coming on, place cold water on her head immediately and it will usually prevent the trouble. There is no danger of being bitten by a kitten in a fit.
"A powdery substance through the fur indicates fleas. Saturate with olive oil. This brings the vermin to the surface, where they may be easily killed. If it is a nursing kitten, wash, after using the oil, with white castile, or some mild antiseptic soap and thoroughly dry; otherwise the mother may desert her. If she is not nursing, leave the oil on for a few days. It does not make her look pretty, but she will not mind this and you need not, as it gives her perfect rest from the fleas. Never believe that a flea is dead until you hear it crack or see it in the hot water. Fleas quickly reduce the vitality of a cat; she will die if they are not removed. Cat -fleas will not get on human beings. Cat -fleas are different from dog -fleas."