MPH Blog

Posts for: September, 2013

By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
September 20, 2013
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: Untagged


Did you know that September is also National Preparedness Month and according to the American Red Cross only 7% of households in San Diego County are prepared for a disaster (  Although San Diego is one of the nicest cities to live in, we are no strangers to natural disasters having experienced earthquakes, wildfires, household fires, floods, and tsunami warnings ( When preparing for a potential disaster or emergency situation, it is important not to forget about your furry, scaled, and feathered companions as you draw up your family’s plan.

At Morena Pet Hospital, we are passionate about helping you keep your pets happy, healthy, and safe.  That is why we have listed some tips on how to prepare a plan for both you and your pets. This preparedness guide also pertains to everyday emergencies, such as car accidents, missed flights, road closures, etc. in which you may not be able to get home to your pets.

  • Prepare before an emergency or disaster hits.  Remember, that emergencies come in many forms and it is best to take a few extra minutes NOW rather than LATER to make a plan of action and assemble an emergency kit for you and your pets.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification that has up-to-date registration and contact information.  You may also wish to consider micro-chipping your pet. This unique form of identification is an easy, yet permanent way to bring your pet home quickly should he/she become lost.
  • It is also beneficial to have your pet’s health records handy (best to store in a waterproof container) and include some current photos/descriptions of your pets in case you become separated.
  • Always keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier, especially when traveling (an unrestrained pet not only endangers itself, but everyone in the vehicle as well).
  • Put together a pet disaster kit.

A basic disaster kit should include food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls, and a can opener if necessary.  Any dry food should be kept in an airtight container and refreshed typically every few months. Keep an extra gallon of water on hand if your pet has been exposed to chemicals, injured, or needs to be washed off and remember to never let your pet drink from other natural "doggie bowls," such as puddles, ponds, storm, or and bay water, as these may be contaminated with parasites and/or bacteria leading to upset stomachs and causing further dehydration.

For cats, remember to include a litter box, litter, and scooper; for dogs, don’t forget to pack some extra bags to collect your pet’s waste. Try to pack a pet bed and favorite toys if easily transportable to help calm your pets and reduce stress.  A pet first-aid kit should be assembled including any medications, information on feeding schedules, and details of any medical or behavioral issues.  Finally, include your veterinarian’s and local animal emergency hospital’s contact information.

  • Plan your evacuation route and arrange with a close neighbor or friend/family member to help you out with the pets if a temporary caregiver is needed.  In the event that you are not at home, the ASPCA has designed rescue alert stickers that let people know that pets are inside your home.  To obtain these free stickers, simply fill out the following order form and allow 6-8 weeks for delivery:
  • Do not assume that you can bring your pet with you.  Find a pet-friendly safe place to stay ahead of time.  Consider contacting officials from your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets or jot down a list of local hotels that accept pets (be sure to include their location and contact information).


Remember, spending a short amount of time preparing for the above situations now will greatly benefit you and your pets and ease your worries should a disaster come your way in the future.


Pet Care: Disaster Preparedness. ASPCA. 2013.

Make a Disaster Plan for Your Pets. The Humane Society of the United States. 2013.

Emergency & Disaster Preparedness For Your Pets. The Preventative 2011-12.

Pets: Emergency Preparedness. American Red Cross. 2013

San Diego, CA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes. 2013.




By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
September 06, 2013
Category: Pet Care
Tags: Untagged


Hey cat owners (and potential cat owners), did you know that September is ‘National Happy Cat’ month?  Of course, here at Morena Pet Hospital, every month is happy cat month and to help you and your furry felines celebrate, we are listing a few of the top essentials to keep your cat happy, healthy, and safe...year-round!

Some of you may be wondering what exactly makes a cat happy.  Many owners may agree that more so than just the necessities of food and water, a happy cat must have proper nutrition, an enriched environment, a clean bill of health, and of course lots of TLC. 

We decided to ask our staff of highly trained veterinarians and technicians their thoughts on this topic.  Here were some of the happy cat essentials that made our list…

Proper Nutrition

Proper diet is an important part of your cat's health.

  • Dry food is composed of primarily carbohydrate coated with fat to make it appealing to cats. Fed "free choice" most indoor only, spayed and neutered cats tend to over consume and become overweight, thus predisposed to obesity related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease later on. This is why we recommend feeding set amounts at meal times.
  • By offering canned food daily, we actually feel the cat's cravings to overeat carbohydrate-rich dry food is reduced. In addition, the extra moisture in canned food may help in preventing or slowing the onset of kidney disease later in life.

Should your pet need a new diet due to health concerns or you are just looking for a healthy alternative to your current brand, we are happy to consult with you at your cat's next visit about nutritional recommendations to help keep your cat healthy.

Enriched Environment

A happy cat, especially if indoor only, requires much love, attention, and active playtime. Some ideas to provide enrichment include: toys, treats, nature sounds, stimulating dvd or television programming, another playmate!


One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new toy! Cats are natural hunters and love chasing, pouncing, and stalking prey (even fake prey).  Making sure there is no shortage of cat toys in your home will help to enrich your cat’s environment.  Since cats tend to have different preferences when it comes to toys, you will have to pay close attention to what really motivates your cat to play. 

Be sure to visit our previous blog article How to Make an Indoor Cat’s Environment More Entertaining!, for some of our top-rated cat toys and products

Safely Experience the Outdoors

Screened-in porches and decks provide the perfect opportunity for indoor cats to safely experience the outdoors.  Supervised walks outdoors with a harness and leash or cat-stroller can also provide an indoor kitty with a relatively safe outdoor experience.

Scratching Posts

Cats should have designated cat scratching posts to stretch and care for their claws.  Scratching is an important aspect of feline behavior, so providing a cat post or carpeted wall climbs is a good way to keep kitty happy (not to mention your couches and furniture as well).

Plenty of Cat Beds

Cats are no strangers to napping.  They love finding soft, comfortable spots to take refuge in and get away from it all.  Providing some cat beds, soft blankets, or window cat perches are all great options for kitty.

Visit the Veterinarian

Someone had to say it! Although some owners may dread a trip to the veterinarian, it is important to point out that regular (at least annually) physical examinations can help detect problems in their early stages, before they become serious illnesses requiring prolonged treatment. Preventative medicine is the easiest, least expensive and most important way to keep your pet healthy.

Acclimate Your Cat to the Carrier

One way to help make the veterinary experience more enjoyable for both you and your cat is to get your cat comfortable with the pet carrier.  The goal is to familiarize your cat with the carrier so he/she will enter freely and associate the carrier with positive experiences.  For additional tips, refer to our blog article, Tips on Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian.


A lost pet can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences and painstaking realities that even the most responsible pet owner may have to face. Fortunately, many are returned simply because they were microchipped. This unique form of identification is an easy, yet permanent way to bring your pet home quickly should he/she become lost.

Each microchip has a unique number. This number, along with information about the owner and pet, are added to a national pet registry. Most veterinary hospitals and animal shelters have electronic scanners for detecting and reading these implanted microchips. If a lost pet is found and a microchip is scanned it is easy for you to be contacted.

Flea and Parasite Prevention

Mosquitoes, Fleas, and Ticks are more than just a nuisance; they also carry troublesome diseases and parasites, such as heartworms, tapeworms, and Lyme disease.  The best way to keep your pet, home, and your family pest-free is to prevent them from entering your door!  The currently available flea and heartworm medication is safe, effective, and available in once-a-month doses.  We would be happy to help you make the best choice for flea, parasite, and heartworm prevention for your pets.

September's Happy Cat Month is the perfect time for those without a cat to consider adopting one (or two) from your local animal shelter or pet rescue group.  If you already own a cat, perhaps you may consider adding a playmate? After all, kittens tend to require even more time and attention.  Indoor only kittens may do better with another kitten or an adult cat as a mentor.


Happy Happy Cat Month. CATalyst Council. September, 2013.

Did You Know September Is Happy Cat Month? (Yes Really). PetMD. 2011.