Author Archives: Dr. Jane Matheys

Best Chew Toys for Cats


Hello, I’m Dr. Jane Matheys, from the Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. Today I’m going to be answering a question on Pet’s Best Facebook page. This one is from Nick and he says, “I have a cat that likes to chew on stuff. Mostly when she’s bored. It’s not so bad as to be a serious problem, but are there any chew toys that are safe for cats?”

Well Nick, most cats aren’t chewers like dogs are, but every once in a while, I do run across a kitty who just really likes to chew on everything. Of course you want to make sure that the things she’s chewing on are not dangerous for her. So make sure you go through your home and really cat- proof it. We don’t want her chewing on things like electrical cords, or certainly things especially like strings, ribbons, anything that has a linear shape, kitties can get into really big trouble if they swallow those and they go into the intestine and get stuck there.

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The Silent Killer: High Blood Pressure in Cats

A dog with dog insurance sticks out his tongue.

Millions of people in the United States have high blood pressure – hypertension – and many of them don’t even know it. Often described as “the silent killer” because it can be present for a long time without symptoms, hypertension is also seen in cats. It’s especially common and dangerous in older cats, whose owners usually don’t know they’re affected. Cat insurance can make it easier to ensure your cat is seen regularly by a veterinarian.

Common Causes and Symptoms
High blood pressure in cats is usually discovered as a complication of other underlying medical conditions and is therefore referred to as “secondary hypertension”. The most common causes are chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. High blood pressure in cats without any underlying disease is rare and not well understood.

Hypertension is damaging to many different body systems. It can cause:Read More…

Four Reasons Kitty Gobbles Grass

A kitten with pet health insurance chews on a piece of grass.

During the nice summer weather, I let my cats outdoors under direct supervision, and it always befuddles me how oftentimes the first thing they’ll do is to start nibbling on grass. Why do cats eat grass? It’s the same question that clients often ask me, and I have to admit that it’s a question nobody, including us veterinarians, has a clear answer to. One thing is certain though- grazing is something that comes naturally to not just to domestic cats, but also to feral and wild cats. Let’s look at some of the possible reasons and explanations for this behavior.

1. Help With Kitty’s Digestion
Grass has very little nutritional value for cats. Grass is mainly fiber, and the cat’s stomach doesn’t have the enzyme needed to digest it. But grass can help a cat’s digestive process by inducing regurgitation of undigested matter. This can be important for outdoor cats that eat mice, birds, and other small animals. After the meat is digested, the bones, feathers and fur stay in the cat’s stomach. Eating grass makes the cat throw up, so the grass comes right back up along with the undigested animal parts. This is safer for the cat than having the undigested material try to pass through the intestines and cause irritation or possible blockage of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Why String and Cats Don’t Mix

A cat with cat insurance plays with string.

I saw a case last week that served as a strong reminder of how rambunctious and mischievous kittens can be, and therefore, how important cat insurance really is. Kittens get into everything, and they can quickly get themselves into trouble if you don’t kitten-proof your home. Like the old adage says, curiosity can kill a cat, or at least make her very sick!

A cute little 5-month-old female kitten named Pearl presented to me because she had been vomiting for a week. She had been seen at another veterinary clinic five days earlier for vaccinations, but unfortunately the vomiting was not thoroughly addressed by the doctor.

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Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?

A cat with animal insurance tries to land on its feet.

I have always been fascinated by cats, including cat health, behavior, their agility and athleticism, and of course their amazing ability to usually land on their feet. Whether they’re overshooting windowsills on a quest for birds or miscalculating fences as they run from barking dogs, they appear to regain perfect balance without much effort.

The question of how cats do this has baffled scientists for a very long time. In 1890, famous French scientist Etienne Jules Marey dropped a cat and filmed it using the first high speed camera which he invented. Yes, you can find the (very short) clip on YouTube! This offered the first glimpse into understanding this unique phenomenon.

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