Hi, my name is dr. Uri Burstyn I’m a veterinarian in Vancouver BC and I’d like to welcome you to my series of practical skills for pet owners You think Pirate, right he’s so adorable. You about to strike at me? Yes Hi everyone, and welcome to part two of “Why can’t I touch that cat?” Well that cat’s touching me right now, but this is very… very topical to our video so before I get into this, please remember to hi- *laugh* squish like and subscribe and… pat that little bell icon next to subscribe, so you actually get notifications of upcoming videos and livestreams that I put out So with that said, you might want to go check out part 1 of this video if you haven’t seen it already ’cause I made it in response to people’s questions as to “Why can’t I touch that cat?” a lot of people ask this in the comment section of my videos. Wondering why certain cats just won’t sit on your lap; Why you can’t pet them; why they might be aggressive out of nowhere, when you really just want to have some cat love and in the part 1 of the video Me and Mr Pirate here talked a little bit to you guys about behavioral factors that may contribute to this, as well as bringing up the topic of chronic pain. And specifically we talked a little bit about oral pain like teeth issues They may cause your cat to be in pain and the key message there was that Cats who are in chronic pain are often aggressive, Often unapproachable and it’s really really hard for most people to really assess Chronic pain in a cat. They’re not, they don’t show obvious signs of discomfort. They are Very cryptic in the way, they show discomfort and a lot of people interpret it as aggression Ah, You know a good example of this is a story a friend of mine told me once about his cat, who has back pain, Jumping up on the counter and then, hissing and aggressively lunging towards his girlfriend who was sitting right next to there. And she thought that the cat was out to get her where as in effect. They kind of actually just had back pain and Jumping up hurt him and he reacted the way a cat does to pain, which is, the way any little vicious predator does just raaaawr! so that’s a great example of how A cat’s pain could be misinterpreted as aggression, or not being nice ’cause it’s actually a really really sweet, cuddly, loving cat So, in part 2 we’re going to talk a little bit about some other sources of chronic pain that are commonly seen in clinics, but many people may not immediately think of… When they look at their cat. And most of these issues come up a little bit later in life- -but not all of them. Some of them can happen to very young cats as well. So first, we’re gonna talk a little bit about~ A really kind of, common, often young cat issue – more common in long-haired cats – It can really make them uncomfortable and make them snappy and that is, Hair Mats Something as simple as hair matting can really ruin a cat’s day, and their temperament. So sesame here is a semi feral cat, so unlike the other cats that I usually use in my channel um She’s not really safe to touch or work with um She was kind of bit neglected by an elderly owner Um, Some chronic issues. I’m going to use sesame as an illustration of why certain cats are just not that cuddly. You can hear her warbling a little bit She’s letting us know what to be careful. And she does have a bit of a time… a timer on her So the cool thing about sesame though, is that when she first came to me? I could not touch her at all She was attacking me and my staff. She was absolutely a vicious untouchable cat Right now she’s still a little bit wary of us. But at least I can pat her, Oh a little bit careful I know darling, and I have my towel here so I can squish her. She, um, gets a little bit more active but sesame had really bad mats all along her back and her bum She could not be touched. This cat was in chronic pain and she was lashing out at everything around her What we did what we sedated her and we shaved her. That’s all we did. You know, we’re full service veterinary hospital. But this, the way we helped this cat is we shaved the mats off her bottom She was in a lot of pain, and once we shaved the mats off her bottom she came out of- -sedation a whole new cat. At home she can be cuddled she sits on her owners lap She can be picked up None of this was possible before we addressed the source for chronic pain And you can see now, it’s starting to grow in a little bit There’s still little bald patches down there But this is, you know, she’s still a little bit edgy, but this is nothing compared- -to the sort of very aggressive untouchable, scary cat we had to deal with before we removed her source of chronic pain. and this is an excellent example I’m showing her to you guys just to illustrate the fact that look, I’m petting a cat that could not be touched two weeks ago So, chronic pain is one of the most common reasons- -why cats, particularly house cats who’re used to being around humans are dangerous, or aggressive, or snappy, or however you want to put it so, please consider this, and again, this is why I always say that when a cat is touchy, we look for the chronic pain. So the next cause of pain I’d like to talk about is Osteoarthritis, and I mentioned this a little bit in the first video But the common sites where cats get OA osteoarthritis, is the neck and elbows and If you look at the video I made about geriatric cat care, I think it’s part two or three I talked a little bit about strategies to manage that kind of chronic arthritis pain To make your older cat more comfortable and make their life a little bit happier but today I just want to focus on the fact that Arthritis pain happens and it’s very rarely obvious. Particularly neck pain can be really severe, really hard to control and these are the cats that that will react when you touch them, when you pick them up Or the ones where I know, everybody’s had this experience where you pet a cat and it’s good good good good good and then cat attack And there’s many reasons why that can happen But one of them is that if you, if they have[are] a little bit uncomfortable and they have a sore neck or a sore back, you may have just touched a Trigger point there, or maybe it was just a little bit uncomfortable and eventually they get fed up with you petting them. So Elbow-neck arthritis is very hard to, for owners to pick out at home It’s pretty easy to pick up for a veterinarian on a proper neurologic examination, but there is one One observation and owners make at home. That one observation is Some cats, if you think about a cat jumping off your table or off a couch onto the floor try to imagine this with me Cat jumps off and of course they walk away gracefully, nonchalantly, right? This is a normal cat. a cat with elbow pain or neck pain that will jump off and they’ll stick their landing They’ll often startle there for a second and kind of stand there a moment and then walk off This might be a subtle difference but most owners can pick this up at home and people often notice their cats will be Kind of a little more tenuous about jumping off of things and then they’ll stick that landing and freeze there for a second Before walking off instead of just walking away nonchalantly, and this, particularly if you have an older cat or an obese cat You could look at that as a sign of elbow or neck pain I’m sorry Pirate is my hand waving disturbing you. Mmm. I know it’s not very nice I’ll try to pet you instead. Another common spot for cats to get Osteoarthritis is in their lower back and That, can be a little bit more subtle but an observation and owners often make at home is And I’m sure everybody has had a kitten in recent memory can relate to this You know cats get into places you don’t want them go to, up on counters, into the laundry cupboard, you know up on high shelves So, and as they age they’ll often stop jumping up to places So, and there would be a number of reasons for this But if your cat is not very obese and yet suddenly stops jumping into its favorite hidey hole that’s up off the ground, It could be that it has some lower back pain and cats get something called Spondylosis Deformans which is basically a fusion of the vertebral segments along the back Often it’s asymptomatic Often you can see this on x-rays, the back looks really fused but the cat looks normal and comfortable but in some rare cases it can, the Spondylosis process can pinch a nerve and in those cases cats will be quite uncomfortable and often they’ll be uncomfortable for a year or two And then when the back is done fusing they’ll actually get more comfortable again so it’s not uncommon to have these cats on painkillers for Chronic pain control for years, and then eventually they stopped needing it and everyone’s kind of happy. So that is not at all unusual But it’s a fairly subtle change see and it can cause other issues like problems defecating or urinating, in dogs we often see Back pain Expressed as dogs who no longer posture normally to pee so male dogs who will no longer raise their leg to pee or female dogs who sort of walk or sort of no longer crouch as far as they normally would, to go to the bathroom and And this can be indicative of their hip, lower back, or knee pain in dogs, but it is often It’s a pretty common complaint and if you see your dog doing that It’s probably worthwhile getting them checked out by a vet because it may be uncomfortable and we can make it better. So why not right? So another common cause of discomfort in cats is Ingrown Toenails And this was one that’s actually really really common. When I worked in emerge. We’d quite often get these phone calls about People saying “My cats really limping” and of course the cat’s been limping for about three weeks and the call comes, you know, 11 p.m. On a Friday or Sunday night Just the way it always is One phone call I got when I was a student Working as a technician or a nurse at an emergency hostel is really funny and it happened over and over again People say “There’s something stuck to my cat’s foot. I think it’s a button” The first time I heard it, I was really like how can a button be stuck to a cats foot? but when they bring this cat in But we always find is an ingrown dewclaw. Let me demonstrate where the dewclaw is on a cat *The process of picking up Mr Pirate* So the dewclaws are these little claws here and Because they’re kind of high up on the leg Here’s one here as well They’re often the first claw that a cat stops grooming on their own. and there’s a number of reasons why cats can stop doing that but These claws will often grow all the way around and into the paw pad, which is this little delicate little thing right here full Leathery pad, you know several paw pads here as well. It’s a wonderful little buttons that cats have on their paws *The beans!* So the dewclaw is a very common claw to grow all the way around and into the paw pad It can happen to any of the other claws as well and it is very very painful. See this little Hello Kitty, little hello kitty paws? for a pause/paws these little paw pads so you mentioned the nail grows and curls into that paw pad and they can grow right in there causing a very painful wound and often owners just don’t still notice this ’cause you know cats’ paws are fluffy and close to the floor and And it’s really easy fix, you know, we trim that nail We often. At this point often cats require antibiotics or a bandage because it’s often infected But it’s a really easy fix and once you fix it The cat goes back to normal and there can be a number of reasons why they get these ingrown nails You know As cats age and develop things Osteoarthritis and other health issues They will scratch less and one of the reasons that cats scratch is to shed their nails. A cat’s nail is basically like a little cone and cats will shed I’m sure most cat owners have seen this, cats will shed the entire sheath of the nail and there’ll be a fresh sharper nail underneath. But if they’re no longer scratching Then these sheets gonna get built up and you get this massive giant claw- -that eventually will crawl around into your paw pad So and this is something actually, I think is really worth doing is if you have an older cat You know have a look at their nails once in a while if you’re not trimming a cat’s nails regularly Then it’s worth checking that out because you know, once they get really big and curly You know this can happen It’s totally preventable and it’s really quite sad because it hurts the cats so much and we never want to see cats in pain, right? so Ingrown Nails, Osteoarthritis, Hair Mats, all of this is super super common. Now, there’s and these are all kind of physical ailments Another thing and there’s two more things I’d like to talk about That are maybe a little bit more subtle But can also lead to a cat that should otherwise be a sweetheart Being a little bit cranky and not so much fun to play with Hyperthyroidism is one of the big three age-related diseases that happen to cats. It is an endocrine disorder Meaning it’s a disorder that has to do with hormones. And in this case the thyroid hormone specifically. Cats tend to get elevated thyroid hormones when they develop hyperthyroidism it’s… thyroid hormones produced by gland in the neck and cats often get a little benign tumor in a thyroid gland which is not life-threatening, but it does elevate it just pumps out thyroid hormone and The thyroid hormone is kind of, think of it as a thermostat of the body when the levels go up Sort of the heat, the energy, everything goes up and these cats Tend to get skinny. They’re hungry. Their body temperature is high they can get hyper aggressive and hyperactive and it’s like the classical skinny freaky old cat that just Everybody’s kind of terrified of approaching And yeah, and they also it can also cause heart damage these cats often have heart murmurs and other problems It’s not a great thing to have, luckily very controllable and like I said it is one of the three most common old cat diseases that we see and so behavioral changes from that are reasonably common Again, this is a hormonal disorder that’s diagnosed with blood work it’s part of the reason why we recommend Blood work every year for old cats over the age of eight or nine and that’s not, not my personal recommendation is recommended by the American Association of feline practitioners and It’s, it’s one of the things we really pick up on that age old, old-age blood work. It’s very treatable and when you get a thyroid hormone under control then the cat’s behavior it goes down to normal and their heart works better and they put on weight and they’re generally looking like they Just shed 10 years of age. So it’s really wonderful It’s kind of a cool diagnosis to get as a veterinarian because we know we can really help in these cases and the cat kind of goes back to normal and feels wonderful So thank you for sticking with me. I think Mr Pirate is falling asleep here But I do have one more thing to talk to you about before we finish this video and this again one of the more subtle sources of discomfort that may not be immediately obvious But Bladder and Kidney stones These are, these happen, you know mineralizations in the urinary tract are very very common health issue in cats of all ages and certainly, those of you who know a human who passed the kidney stones will know that this is one of the most painful things that can happen to you in your lifetime and in cats and dogs It’s exactly the same, really really hurts now They can also have bladder stones which are actually often asymptomatic now In humans, you might get some subtle complaints like burning when you urinate or mild abdominal discomfort. In cats and dogs This is typically something owners Just don’t pick up on their you know, they just don’t express discomfort when it’s really really mild But they can’t have a bladder full of stones without you really knowing it sometimes we just discover this on x-rays by accident, other times we discover it because Part of our old cat workup is bloodwork and urinalysis and we often see you crystals in the urine and then we chase those up and find that there’s actually bladder stones there or kidney stones so this is the kind of diagnosis you can really establish without, you know, veterinary support in it and somebody who can do your analysis and take x-rays, but it can account for Crankiness and aggressive behavior because it’s very painful and again This is something very very controllable and like 99% of cases and it’s a really good thing for you as a pet owner to be aware of and, I think it also helps to understand why we do age-related health screens on pets Mostly cats but I mean we’re getting more and more towards doing health screening on dogs as well Because a lot of these old age diseases you can find a blood work or urinealysis Long before the pet looks sick or long before the signs of disease become really obvious and then you can help them before Before the suffering gets too bad Which is really the goal of the veterinary profession and I think the goal of most pet owners do they have a comfortable happy pet? not to have a sick pet than you then you try to fix right? So I Think those are the common sources of chronic pain and can contribute to a cranky cat So, I hope that this will give you guys a little bit more appreciation for feline behavior maybe give you guys a little more compassion for those cats that aren’t so sweet and encourage you to look into the reasons. Why They may be not as Approachable as you’d like them to be. If you have some stories that you’d like to share about your own pets who? Had chronic pain and how treating it to help them. I really encourage you to do so in the comment section below I’ll be looking through it and commenting responding to them I think It’s really wonderful to share your experiences with other pet owners sort of, who comes to through my channel Who comes to this video can benefit from your experience and we can all learn and grow together And get better taking care of our pets. Well, I hope you found that to be educational and helpful If you’d like to see more videos like this I would really appreciate your support which you can express by joining me on Patreon where I have a wonderful community of patrons already or By getting some squish like cat merchandise like this t-shirt. I also have mugs and a bunch of other stuff So please support me I look forward to making more videos like this and until next time have fun with your pets and I’ll see you again.