Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Stop Animal Abuse




Calming a Cat's Anxiety with CALM by Royal Canin
Reporting Animal Neglect
Seniors and Pets Living Well Together



Calming a Cat's Anxiety with CALM by Royal Canin

Mercy is one of our clinic pet cats. She and Ranger have some basic understandings to keep the peace between each other as you have read in
July 2011 post. In the mornings Mercy was acting a bit more agitated at Ranger, also hissing at some people and just out of sorts. I could not find any medical reason outstanding to be making her attitude upset. There were not any overt big fights, and I did not want it to get like that. 

Mercy is on J/D  for her arthritic false hip (she had a femoral head ostectomy about 14 years ago), pumpkin to reduce hair balls, joint supplement and periodic pain reliever. Her medical management seemed to be at the best it could and I considered if she may be feeling some anxiety or was that developing with age. We have added lots of additional perches in the office to enrich the environment for them so competition for space was not likely. We also ordered some feather toys on a stick for structured play time for Ranger and what ever Mercy would do so there was social interaction with the staff but still, she just did not seem happy. I thought this would be a good chance to try out the CALM diet by Royal Canin and see how it might help her.

The J/D diet by Hills has given Mercy some benefit with her hip so I did not want to abandon that diet completely. I instructed Rachael, one of the techs to mix the J/D and CALM 50/50 for the trial and see if there was any effect. The supplementation would not be a much, but I figured - there may be some benefit. The behaviors we were looking to see improvement on were - less hissing and avoidance of staff members and Ranger. That was about it. We did not have any soiling problems or real aggressive fights - just the crankiness towards Ranger and some of the staff. We had figured her avoidance of dogs and some clients to be just the way she was.

Typically Mercy does not seek affection and want to be petted by women. Men with strong aftershave or cigarette smell on their hands is what she loves - why I have not clue! Really - she will roll, rub, and purr for a man with the strong aroma of Polo or Aramis. She likes to sit on Rachael's lap, tolerate petting from Debbie, and really does not want to have anything to do with Leeza even though Leeza  does her feedings and care. So one day about 1 1/2 weeks after we started her on the CALM diet I was at the clinic after hours. Mercy came right up to me and started to rub and weave in between my legs purring. I had to double check it was her and not Ranger. She let me pet her and continued to purr! This was really surprising to me. She rarely sought out affection from me and would usually only tolerate some head pets before leaving. Here she was continually seeking petting. Then the next day she was laying in her bed which is on the shelf under where the microwave is. I put my mug in the microwave which would typically have her jumping out of her bed to go elsewhere. As my coffee was warming up I saw she was laying peacefully in her bed, just taking in the day. Wow - this is unusual. She let me pet her in her bed - another big step toward less anxiety! 

Later I told the staff to observe her interactions with staff members, clients and Ranger. As each day passed we saw her go up to clients and head butt them as well as allowing them to pet her over her head and body as she has not done before! Men were no longer the only Mercy magnet!

The really surprising day was when Mercy sat right next to Leeza as she worked on files and was head butting her. In a cautious way Leeza picked Mercy up and held her.  Typically Mercy would have resisted and even tried to swat or bite at Leeza. Not now. Mercy loves Leeza now.

Play time has also improved for Mercy. She will now chase after the feather as it is dragged across the ground and play Kill the Bear with her toy. She and Ranger still have their am attitude adjustment period. This has been a bit challenging to figure out. They each jump and pounce on each other and will co groom just before. There is not any hissing or tension about perching spaces.  It may be that they like wrestling but it is hard to tell.

The CALM has really helped Mercy be a more social, affectionate and less anxious cat. With each week we are seeing her be more lovey and interacting well even with dogs that come in. If your cat is hiding, avoiding petting, or interacting with other pets or people I would strongly advise to talk to your veterinarian about trying the CALM diet. Mercy really likes the taste of it and has not had any problems with her stool or vomiting. The diet is adjusted to be good for urinary health and dental health as well. CALM for cats is available in 8.8 lb bags which at 1/4 -1/3 cup dry food per day will last quite a while. There is a rebate available on the Royal Canin Face book page so be sure to sign up for that. We print those out for our clients to make it easier to follow through with the rebate.

Good luck and let me know if you give CALM a try.



Reporting Animal Neglect ? Where, When and How

Many veterinarians will receive calls from concerned citizens about animals at abandoned properties or other places that are lacking for basic care. Occasionally there may be calls about downright cruelty as well. Fortunately most cases concerning animal welfare are about neglect rather than cruelty. When you see an animal needing better care, or in a situation that may cause them harm here is some information about who to call, or what to do.

Illinois has the Humane Care for Animals Act. You may read this act on the state of Illinois Department of Agriculture website.

Under this act the basic needs of shelter, food, water and veterinary care are covered, as well as dog fighting, and other cruelty acts. You may read the current version of this act at the above website. 

When you do see a pet in a dangerous or urgent situation such as in a hot car, call the animal control department first. If it is after hours, call the sheriff?s department. Humane investigators are available to investigate neglect, but it may take a few days for them to do the investigation. Early reporting is essential. Reporters will be kept confidential. 

Neglect is the most common form of abuse. Either owners do not know or appreciate the amount of food or sheltering a pet really needs. Sometimes knowing that others are looking out for this pet will motivate an owner to do better. Sometimes not. Occasionally a tactful approach pointing out that the dog knocks over the food or water will help. Maybe it won?t. For these cases, the humane investigators/animal control officers/or other officers are best trained to encourage the owner to give up ownership. Just removing an animal from a property can result in interfering with the legal process of these cases, and delay a good resolution. 

The biggest concerns most good samaritan citizens have are will it be trespassing to provide water/food or shelter to an abandoned or neglected animal? I checked with Clay Foley the humane investigator from the Champaign County Humane Society and he advised it may be. In these cases work with your local officers to get the basic needs provided until an investigation can be done.  You can provide the bowls, water, food etc and then find a way to get that on the property that would not be trespassing. So early reporting is best! 

Animals in hot cars are always a concern. The law is very clear that the police/animal control officers are legally able to remove the pet from the car and hold that pet at a shelter until the owner claims the pet. Cruelty charges can be enforced in these cases immediately along with all charges for pickup, inpoundment, etc. Please leave your pets at home. If you cannot leave your pet at home, take the pet out of the car and have someone stay with them in a shady spot. I have sadly seen the results of that quick errand on a hot summer day that resulted in a much overheated pet.

There is meeting scheduled with Clay Foley, humane investigator of the Champaign County Humane Society on Thursday November 8, at 7 pm. Location - Jarman Center Senior Living, 704 N. Main Street, Tuscola, IL .  If you want to know more how you can help, and what to do in these situations, please come!  Refreshments and hand outs will be available.



Seniors and Pets Living Well Together

My husband Tom Wold and I own a congregate retirement living community in Tuscola, Jarman Center Senior Living.  We have become more focused on being pet friendly as we saw the benefits to the residents in keeping their beloved pets with them as they moved into a retirement community. Now we have 3 dogs, a cat, and a bird aviary at Jarman Center! I put together a presentation to the staff, families and residents about how to help pets get along with seniors and to be safe with them as well as each other. I thought I would share this information to the community as well. 

There are many benefits of owning a pet, especially for the elderly. Increased companionship, keeping the people on their routines and increased social interactions with other people through the pet are just a few of the benefits. There are some drawbacks or risks to be considered as well. Having a plan to minimize these risks will make this pet a real joy to all, no matter their age.

First and foremost is safety for the elderly person around a dog or a cat. Tripping or falling over the pet is somewhat common and with a little training and few items around the home you can help prevent this calamity. Teach your dog to like being tied up when people come to the door or someone using a walker comes in. Start by getting a leash and attach it to a strong piece of furniture about 8 feet away from the door or pathway. Keep the leash short, say about 6 feet. Have a toy or an empty water bottle with treats or peanut butter in it handy at the tie up spot. Now when the door bell rings call your dog to the place and tie them up giving them the toy with the treats. If your dog does not know come have the wear the leash so you just have to pick it up and then tie them up with the rewards. The rewards will usually have the dog quiet down and tying them up keeps them from darting out the door or underfoot. After you have gotten the person inside and settled, then you can take your dog off the tether. A baby gate can also be a good way to keep the dog separated and rewarded. The rewarding is very important to keep it positive and help the dog to learn to go to this area and stay out of the way. Do not skip this part.  It is the key to learning.

For cats, use a laser light and shine it onto a perch then toss a cat treat up there again to reward the cat for staying out of the way as someone comes in with a walker or at the door. Be sure to have space for the cat to jump up onto a cat tree or a space at the end of a book case. Always do this and even a cat can be trained to jump out of the way and be happy about it.

Staff members at retirement living communities should also learn to approach new pets in a calm manner, and use appropriate rewards for greeting, getting on elevators, and being around many people with walkers or wheelchairs. I have a video on my you tube channel drsallyjfoote called "barking like crazy 2"  in this video I demonstrate how to tether up your dog with a food filled toy as my father is coming into my home using his walker.  My focus in this video is to show how to get the dogs happily safe before the older person comes in. You can see exactly how to have your dog safe and happy.


Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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