Help For Allergic Cat Lovers On The Horizon?

author Sara Thornton DVM       iCandy RagaMuffins

The Purina Institute recently published research in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease concerning a dietary formulation for cats that reduces allergic reactions in people. As many pet lovers suffer from cat allergies, this has the potential to be a major breakthrough.

The source of allergic reactions to cats in 95% of people is the Fel d1 protein that is found in the saliva and sebaceous glands of felines. The protein is produced by all cats; sex, breed, long or short hair makes no difference. When cats groom, Fel d1 is distributed on the fur and skin. From there, it is spread into the environment.

Purina has found a method to neutralize the offending protein utilizing IgY, an anti-Fel d1 antibody. An egg product containing IgY is incorporated into the cat’s diet. 97% of cats fed this diet had decreased levels of Fel d1 on their hair and skin. After 21 days, the problem protein was reduced by 47%. IgY is active in the cat’s mouth, neutralizing the Fel d1 locally in the saliva.

Many people that have cats are allergic to them. More people would have cats for pets if allergies were not an issue.

Retiring RagaMuffins

author Amy Gryga/Miller         Sweetlilpaws RagaMuffins

When you decide a kitten might not be quite the purrrfect fit for your lifestyle, often a very comfortable consideration is a kitty a little or a lot more mature.  Our retiring young adult RagaMuffins available for adoption have contributed to our family as very loved pets as well as by having amazing RagaMuffin kittens for us to share with many, many families.  We’ve loved the journey with them from their own kitten time all the way thru to adulthood and parenthood.  They’ve reached the next phase of their RagaMuffin adult lives where they need to be loved and adored as a family member with no other requirements than to enjoy every day.  Please understand, retiring adult ragamuffins are not simply grown kittens…they have experienced being in a large family group of other kitties with some being in charge.  They will need time to settle in to a new lifestyle in a way different from a kitten who has no life experience to bring with it.  They may, or may not, be more hesitant to accept new challenges such as other animals, small children or a very busy environment.  We are very happy to have a nice conversation with anyone thinking about an adult verses a kitten.

Mammary Hyperplasia/Fibroadenoma Complex

author Sara Thornton DVM                 iCandy RagaMuffins 


Mammary hyperplasia is a condition recognized primarily in young cycling queens or in pregnant queens. It can also occur in any male or female cat that has been exposed to progestins, either accidentally or as a treatment. It appears as diffuse significant enlargement of one, or most likely, several or even all the glands. It causes marked discomfort for the cat due to the remarkable size the glands may achieve.

The cause of the disease, which goes by several monikers, is an amplified response to endogenous or exogenous progesterone. Affected glands become red, swollen, and in extreme cases, ulcerated. In the young  cycling queens and the pregnant queens, the glands are responding to the progesterone being produced by the cat. In these cases the condition will commonly subside without treatment in time. In other cases, the cat may be responding to the progesterone being used to treat a skin or behavior issue. In addition, cats exposed to a person’s hormone replacement therapy (HRT) gel, cream, or spray can develop fibroglandular hyperplasia. Another cause in a spayed queen is an ovarian remnant present after ovariohysterectomy.

Diagnosis is based on history and clinical signs.  The red, swollen glands may be difficult to distinguish from neoplasia, making cytology or a biopsy necessary in some cases. Generally, the cats are not febrile or painful except in cases where secondary infection sets in.

The treatment of choice for mammary hyperplasia in queens not destined for breeding is to spay them. In affected spayed cats, an LH test can be performed to determine if there is a small amount of ovarian tissue remaining. If that is the case, surgery can be performed to remove that tissue. In cases of HRT exposure, applying the dermal medicine to the person’s inner thigh usually helps prevent this exposure.   For the altered pet, a different medication can be used for treatment of skin or behavior so the offending medication can be discontinued.

There are a number of therapies that can be used to treat fibroglandular mammary hypertrophy for cats in breeding programs. These medications are not labeled for use in cats and often are not available except through compounding pharmacies. The progesterone receptor blocker aglepristine is the preferred treatment in many cases.  Cabergoline and bromocriptine are drugs that inhibit prolactin release from the pituitary gland, causing luteolysis, which in turn lowers endogenous progesterone levels.

In some cats, mammary hyperplasia resolves on its own over time. Secondary infections must be treated as needed. Even with treatment, it may take weeks to months to resolve.

The Magical Cabbage Leaf


author Sara Thornton DVM     iCandy RagaMuffins

Since I am a veterinarian, I sometimes get inquiries from breeder friends about medical issues they may run into with their cats. I am happy to help when I can.

One of the problems breeders may run into is mastitis. It is a painful condition when engorged mammary glands get inflamed and/or infected.  In both cases, a simple cabbage leaf can help. For reasons currently unknown, a cabbage  leaf applied to a inflamed gland helps ease the pain, draws fluid out and in cases where there is an abscess, promote drainage

photos courtesy of Amy Gryga/Miller

Any time there is the possibility of  infection, a veterinarian should be consulted for antibiotic therapy.

When using a cabbage leaf, place a raw leaf directly on the affected area. A bandage may be applied to hold the leaf in place. Allow the wrap stay in place for 2-4 hours, then, remove it for around 4 hours. The kittens may nurse from the affected gland.



Nail Trimming

author Amy Gryga/Miller………Sweetlilpaws RagaMuffins

Many families keeping us updated on how fabulous their kittens are growing up also have some general maintenance questions once they see their kitten transitions out of the initial kitten phase.  Nail trimming should continue as needed to keep nails safely comfortable for carpeting & climbing.  Kittens and adults will never outgrown the need to scratch to remove the outer sheath of the nail. It feels good to them & is a form of relaxing as well as reaffirming their scent on appropriate kitty items! We like to keep newborn nail clippers in easy to reach areas of the house where we sit often with kittens so nail trimming can become an easy & enjoyable part of family time. Unlike pups, kitty nails retract when not in full use so it can be surprising how much they’ve grown.  Pressing gently on the paw pad & just below the nail bed will help that kitty nail to extend. There is no reason to try to get the nail as short as safely possible…a nice little trim off of the tip or a tad more is fine!   Remember to keep paw touching in your safe & happy playtime to keep your kitten from developing any aversions or over sensitivity to those areas!


author Sara Thornton DVM      iCandy RagaMuffins

Depending on where you live in the country, fleas  can be a year round battle or a short term issue. In the Mid-Atlantic where I live, fleas are active about nine months a year, depending on how cold the winter is. However, for house pets, fleas can be a problem throughout every season. There are a number of safe, effective products available these days to control fleas.

To understand why fleas are so successful, one must understand the flea life cycle. There are four stages in the flea life cycle, the pupal, the larval, the adult, and the egg. The flea life cycle may take a couple of weeks or many months, depending on the temperature and the humidity. The pupal stage can survive a very long time and is virtually impossible to kill.

The life cycle starts with the egg, which is laid after the adult has a blood meal. An adult female will lay about 40 eggs a day. These eggs are tiny white “sand” looking things in the pet’s fur. They may drop off the animal’s coat as it moves around the house. The eggs hatch into larva in two to fourteen days. Larvae develop for five to twenty days, then develop into pupae.  This stage is, for the most part, oblivious to vacuums and chemicals. It can live for an extended period of time as well. Eventually, when condition are right, the adult flea develops.

So how does one control the fleas? The best way is to use a good, safe product and apply it prior to ever seeing a flea. Once adult fleas are present, it’s a catch up game. Using a quality product for fleas like Advantage ll, the adult fleas, larva and eggs will be killed. Again, nothing is effective against the pupal stage. All pets must be treated. In some cases, it may be best to call an exterminator to treat the house and yard. The products are effective, but the environment may be so overwhelmed, that the new fleas are hatching out constantly. The biggest mistake I see clients make is that they use a product for a couple of months, don’t see fleas, so stop the product. Then a whole new hatch of fleas develops and they are starting all over.

I do have personal favorites when it comes to products. There are a number of  good ones out there. I always recommend staying away from products made in China. You may find cheaper generic versions of name brand products in places like Walmart. Most are made in China. My best advice is to vacuum frequently, use a good product consistently keep it up for several months past seeing a flea or, even better, year round.

Gertrude’s First Show

4 month old iCandy Gertrude Hawk. photo courtesy of Carolyn Jimenez


author Sara Thornton DVM      iCandy RagaMuffins

Last weekend I drove to Maryland with three RagaMuffins to show. The show was at the fairgrounds, so I stayed at the Red Roof Inn. I stay there every time I go to this venue as it is close and, of course, allows pets. To say it is not luxurious would be correct. But, it is handy.

All three cats got through their bath and blow dry in preparation for the weekend. The drive down was uneventful with Sugar Daddy, Solo and Gertrude Hawk.  The motel check in went smoothly. The night did not. Sugar Daddy wouldn’t shut up He has been to motels numerous times, but this time was different. I seriously was afraid another guest would complain about the cat meowing and I would get a call to get him out of the room. I didn’t know what I would do with him. I guess we would both sleep in the car?

We got to the show Saturday morning a bit sleep deprived. I set up my benching area, and put the cats in their places. As Gertrude just turned four months, it was her first show. She seemed to take the busy, loud atmosphere in stride. No big deal. That’s a relief, as one never knows what a cat will do in that situation. Both Solo and Gertrude were in kitten class. Solo beat her little sister in every ring. That was not a surprise as Solo is older and more mature. What was a surprise was how well Gertrude handled being judged. She acted as if she was an old hand at it. I was thrilled.

On Saturday, I had two extra items to check off my list. The first was getting Gertrude’s baby picture taken by the professional photographer. That went well. I think she had a good shoot. Then I wanted to take Solo to the agility ring since she did so well the last time. She did well enough running the course this time, but not as well as before. This time she was more of a real cat. Run through an obstacle, take a break and lick a paw, then go on to the next one.

Saturday night was not as bad, although Sugar Daddy did some singing,  we both managed to get some sleep. Sunday at the show was more successful under the judges, with Sugar Daddy making progress toward his grand championship and both kittens getting points from the judges. I ran Solo in agility again and decided to give Gertrude a shot. While she did not break any records, she did manage to get through the course and get on the score board.

As always, I enjoy time with my friends and my cats. I meet members of the cat loving public and even have a reason to dress my cats up for the spectators to take photos. I don’t think Sugar Daddy will be attending any more motel shows in the future, but I think he’ll be OK with that.

Flying with Cats


Author Sara T Thornton DVM    iCandy RagaMuffins

A few years back, I decided to take a trip to Florida. Most people go to Disney World. Not me, I went for a cat show. You see, I had a flight voucher from a previous trip and, well, there was a show that the judges were good for my cats, and to make a long story short, it was  January in Pennsylvania. I asked a friend of mine to go with me to help wrangle cats and took off for sunny Florida.

I had never flown with pets before. The cats were used to traveling by car, but not plane. First I needed  two carriers that were airline approved to go under the seat. Then I had to plan all I needed for the weekend for me, the cats, and the show. My biggest concern was going through security with the kitties, keeping their stress levels as low as possible and then making the trip comfortable for them.

The trek through the Allentown, PA airport was fine. The TSA agents couldn’t have been nicer while doing their jobs. Ganache, the younger cat did not like the noise at the security walk through. Nougat, a seasoned traveler was fine. But, then, on the plane, Nougat got very upset. He was clearly distressed. It was a long couple of hours in the air.

Both cats were tired the next day at the show. I think traveling wore them out. But, it was a successful day with both kitties doing very well. The next day at the show was good as well. The judges liked my cats as did the numerous spectators. I walked out of the ring one time holding Nougat and was surrounded by cameras flashing. Nougat took it all in stride, posing like the beauty he is.

I dreaded the trip home, worried that Nougat would once again have a bad flight. While security through the Florida airport was much busier and more stressful, the cats did fine. Nougat had a much better flight on the way home. And then it snowed.

Rule Changes

author Sara Thornton DVM      iCandy RagaMuffins

At the CFA annual, delegates voted on a couple of rule changes that I think will benefit those showing RagaMuffins. The first is to make grand championship points more accessible to earn when there are large entries. If there are 16-20 champions/premiers, first through fourth  places will be awarded; if there are over 20 entries, a fifth place will be awarded for points. This is a great step for minority breeds.It will take affect in the next show season.

An enormously beneficial vote added titles that can be earned by cats competing in both the premiership and championship classes. The change gives each category incremental titles that may be earned while attempting to get a grand title; bronze, silver and gold championships/premier titles. In championship class, points required are 50, 100, and 150. In premiership, points requires are 20, 40 and 60. I am unclear when this will take affect.

Another item addressed was the Ambassador cat program. In the works is a therapy cat program which will be super for me as I take my cats to visit in a nursing home.

Surviving the Heat


author Robert Hamera                                 Slice of Life

There is no denying that last week’s heat wave here in the east as well as the rest of the country has been brutal.  With the humidity the heat index had reached over 100 degrees on several days.  How do you survive?  What do you do to keep cool?

It was so hot last week that I didn’t feel like moving or doing anything.  Things that normally enjoy held no interest at all for me.


I usually start the day by sitting in front of the fan and reading the newspaper.  That kind of eases me into the day ahead.


All I wanted to do was rest.  So I admit that I took several cat naps during the day.






When it is warm it is important to find a cool spot.  Quartz makes for a cool place to rest.



Lounging in the pool is another way to beat the heat.  It does help, however, if there is water in the pool.


Of course, wearing heavy clothing is not a wise ting to do.  I suggest you shed those heavy layers and go for something light and breathable.


It is important to stay hydrated so I suggest you drink plenty of liquids.


As far as eating, several small meals are better than one big meal.



Sometimes it is just nice to chill out with friends, especially in an air conditioned space.


If you really must go out I suggest you take an umbrella since pop up showers are a given in this kind of weather.


Of course, if none of these suggestions works for you I have one more thing you can try.  Find a cool spot somewhere in the world, pack a bag, and take off until the heat wave is over.