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Answers from vets about your cat:

7 Ways for Your Cat to Avoid Emergency Surgery

Reviewed by Dr. Alexis Seguin, DVM, MS, DACVIM on Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Posted October 15, 2014 in Cat Checkups & Preventive Care

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling, board-certified surgeon in Allentown, PA. His website is He is the co-author of “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound” (

AJ Debiasse, a technician in Stroudsburg, PA, contributed to this article.

Cats are very independent and at times they may seem indestructible. But the truth is, they are just as fragile as any other pet. Many conditions require a surgeon to fix things up. Here is a list to help your cat avoid visiting your local surgeon.

A kitten sitting on an exam table1. Keep your cat indoors
Some cat guardians are offended when I suggest that they keep a cat indoors (usually after I repair a broken bone). “But he enjoys the great outdoors! It would be cruel to lock him up!” they say. I understand the concern, but sadly we live in a world that is not designed to keep our cats safe. Keeping your cat indoors can prevent many injuries that would require surgical repair. These include getting hit by a car, breaking bones or getting into a fight with a variety of animals (wild or domestic).

2. Spay or neuter
Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle can almost eliminate the risk of breast cancer and does eliminate the risk of infection of the uterus called pyometra. Neutering males reduces the level of male hormones, making your male cat less likely to run away, mark his territory and get into fights.

3. Kitty proof
Kitty proofing is easier said than done – yet critical. Any cat lover knows that cats can get in, on and around just about anything. But you can lessen the risk of trouble by keeping potential problems away. Lock up all strings, ribbons and sewing supplies to avoid the risk of swallowing deadly “linear foreign bodies.” Clean up small toys, especially if you have young children! Block off windows, balconies and lofts to lessen the risk of falling. Sadly, cats don’t always land on their feet.

4. Proper nutrition
Proper nutrition can prevent bladder stones or urinary blockage, which can be life-threatening in male cats. Many popular diets do not have the appropriate research behind them and can actually cause bladder stones, among other problems. The marketing is brilliant, the TV commercials are convincing, but the science is often lacking. The best way to be sure your cat is on the right diet is

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and author. His traveling practice takes him all over Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey. You can visit his website at, and follow him at