Most people think of heartworm disease (HWD) as a disease that only impacts dogs. While its true that heartworm infection is much less common in cats than in dogs (the feline prevalence is approximately five percent as compared to 20 percent of the canine prevalence), cats most certainly do get heartworm disease.
Already under the lethal threat of poaching and habitat loss, tigers, lions and other wild carnivores are now falling victim to the canine distemper virus - which could eventually drive endangered populations to extinction.
Each year, thousands upon thousands of cats are relinquished - turned over to local humane societies or other feline-friendly organizations - because their owners are no longer willing or able to keep them. Some of these abandoned cats will find new owners. But sadly, the less fortunate will eventually be euthanized.
A kitten is born with all the brain cells it will ever have, but the brain grows in two ways: It gets bigger and it changes shape. Dendrites are specialized brain nerve cell structures that reach out to form contacts with other nerve cells. The more connections the dendrites make, the more the brain grows. Therefore, that growth is determined in large part by the types of environmental stimulation a kitten receives during the first six months of life, especially during the critical first seven weeks.