Judi and Blaine Gaither
We are Ragdoll Breeders in Ft. Collins, Colorado
Keeping Cats Healthy
Since I have bred, shown and kept purebred cats for more than 14 years, I thought it would be useful for me to give you some ideas on keeping cats healthy.
Cats are actually very vulnerable to germs from other locations. We see them as strong, vibrant animals. But there are still deadly viral diseases of cats, for which there is no cure.. My theory is that cats are living in the equivalent of the 1860's for medical advancements on diseases. This, I beleive, is because while dogs were the most popular pet, cures for disease of dogs were given a higher priority by researchers. Cats are very popular pets now, so that may change in the coming decade. Remember, in people, polio, smallpoxs, measles, chicken pocks, etc, are viruses that had no vaccine until the 1950s or later. It is as if cats are still dealing with the deadly childhood illnesses that we no longer deal with in humans.
Indoor cats do not have immunity to disease from the greater world around them. This is because cats, frankly, just don't get out much. They don't ride in the car, go to the park, or even go on family vacations, like dogs do. We have determined that germs can be picked up on shoes, clothing and of course hands and transmitted to kittens. We are always very careful when we re-enter our homes to be sure that we do not bring diseases from other cats. We use antibacterial soaps, and if necessary disinfectants on shoes and floors. We are particularly careful when we attend cats shows. We and friends of ours have occasionally had grown cats get very sick with upper respiratory infections after attending cat shows. These experiences have made us wonder about why they become so sick, especially when we didn't see any sick cats at the show. It has caused us to consider germ theory for cats and come to conclusions and protocols to keep our cats safe.
If we ever ask you to remove shoes or wear smocks, rest assured it is because of our concern for the cats and because we feel it is necessary to follow the disease proctocols that we have established. It isn't because we think you are dirty or that your cats might be sick. It is because our sheltered cats, that rarely leave our home, are vulnerable to dieseases that their immune systems have never seen. If you go to another animal shelter or cattery before coming here, similarly you may bring diseases on your clothing that are carried in that facility (even if the cats appear to be well) that our cats are not acquainted with. Remember cats are not as sturdy to disease as they appear. This does not mean that the other other cattery or facility is filthy. They should also ask you to take precautions if you come to my house, because my cats may transmit disease to their facility on shoes and slothing.
Another problem that we have in Colorado is giardia. It is thought to exist in all waterways in the state and it is transmitted from birds that drink from the waterways. We unfortunately live in a winter geese flyway. This diesease causes serious diarrhea in young kittens. In order to keep this virus out of our home, we may ask you to remove shoes, especially in the winter/spring when germs build up in the snow melt. If I feel it is necessary to protect the kittens I will ask you to also wear smocks while holding the kittens. We ask you to not visit another cattery or animal shelter on the day that you visit us. This is for the protection of the kittens and mothers. We feel we would not be able to give people healthy strong kittens if they become ill from potent outside germs at the very vulnerable age of 7-9 weeks of age. If you do visit another animal facility would you please inform us, so that we can take the necessary precautions.