Cat Health News: Apps for Cat Care

Your smartphone helps cat health. Hear how in CAT FANCY's monthly cat health news column.

Technology continues to make day-to-day tasks easier. Smartphones and tablets make information handy any time of day or night and enable new tools, such as quick-starting applications (apps), to store and retrieve information.

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Many free or cheap apps have been designed to help keep your cat healthy and entertained. Watch your cat from miles away, monitor your cat’s health or wake up the artist inside your kitty. Welcome to the new age of feline technology.

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Below are highlights of available apps that can benefit you and your cats. Prices may vary depending on the retailer.

  • Video monitoring systems and associated apps help put you at ease while you’re away from home. Monitor your cats and investigate behavioral issues (such as determining which cat might be responsible for an undesired behavior). You can also view your cats’ activities using multiple cameras at once and even record clips when you detect motion. Examples are the D-Link DCS-942L ($99 for the webcam, which comes with a free app) or SKJM’s iCam ($4.99 for the app to use with an existing webcam). Lower-cost video monitoring systems link a laptop’s existing webcam to a smartphone app for easy-access viewing.
  • Pet Poison Help ($1.99) is an iPhone app (which might soon be offered for Droid) that could help save cats’ lives. It provides lists of common household products and plants that are toxic to pets and features stepwise instructions on what to do in case of a toxic exposure. The app also includes a direct- dial link to the Pet Poison Helpline, which is staffed by boarded veterinary specialists.
  • Novartis Animal Health created the free app RemindMyPet, which helps you remember to give your cats medications. The user interface can work with multiple cats and medications — with photos and user profiles for each cat.
  • AliveCor recently introduced the Veterinary Heart Monitor ($199), which snaps electrodes onto the back of an iPhone and records ECGs. The corresponding Alive ECG Vet App enables veterinary staff to add notes and store or export information into the patient’s record.

Apps for entertaining cats, such as iPad’s Paint for Cats ($1.99), allow artistic expression with paws. A little mouse moves around the screen enticing the artistic cat to whack at it. Each hit creates colorful brush strokes, and the mouse lets out a satisfying squeak when successfully struck. You can print out the furry work of art and make greeting cards or post on the refrigerator to show your pet’s talent. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles (sPCLA) has used its resident cats’ masterpieces on greeting cards to raise funds and increase awareness for its cause.

These are just a few of the apps that you and other cat lovers might enjoy.

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