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The is part of the endocrine and digestive system, which is integral for the digestion of foods, producing the enzymes that digest food, and producing . When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the flow of enzymes into the can become disrupted, forcing the enzymes out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area. If this occurs, the digestive enzymes will begin to break down fat and proteins in the other organs, as well as in the pancreas. In effect, the body begins to digest itself. Because of their proximity to the pancreas, the kidney and liver can also be affected when this progression takes place, and the abdomen will become inflamed, and possibly infected as well. If bleeding occurs in the pancreas, shock, and even death can follow. Inflammation of the pancreas (or ) often progresses rapidly in cats, but can often be treated without any permanent damage to the organ. However, if pancreatitis goes long-term without treatment, severe organ, and even brain damage can occur. Pancreatitis can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects dogs, please visit in the petMD health library. There are a variety of symptoms that may be observed in cats, including: There are several possible causes of inflammation to the pancreas. Some of them are: Unlike with dogs, is not related to nutritional factors in cats. In many cases, no underlying cause for pancreatitis can be determined. Although pancreatitis can occur in any animal breed, it has been found to occur more frequently with cats, specifically the cat. Inflammation of the pancreas is also more common in females than in males, and more common in elderly cats. Your veterinarian will check for the presence of gallstones, and for a condition referred to as reflux. A full blood work up will be ordered to see if there are any nutrient imbalances, and X-ray imaging will be used to look for evidence of any blunt damage to the pancreas. Pancreatic and liver enzymes will be measured to analyze for increases of either in the bloodstream. Insulin will me measured to check for normal levels, since inflammation can cause insulin producing cells in the pancreas to be damaged, possibly leading to diabetes. In some cases, an ultrasound will be performed to look for mass tissue growths, cysts, or abscesses in the body. A needle may also be taken along with the ultrasound.

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"One of the major reasons we conducted this study was to determine what items may best serve as a reward to cats," Shreve tells petMD. "If we understand what items cats prefer to interact with, we can utilize this knowledge in applied settings—such as when training cats or for use as enrichment items for shelter cats or, potentially, other captive wild cats."

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Dental hygiene is important, even for cats. Learn about cat dental hygiene, how many teeth a cat has, & ten ways to keep your cat's teeth clean on petMD. "There is a popular stereotype of the unsocial or aloof cat." Kristyn Vitale Shreve, Ph.D. candidate at Oregon State University, knows this misconception better than most. She—along with fellow researchers—recently that tracked the behavioral habits of felines and whether they preferred human social interaction, food, toys, or scents. (While studies had previously been done regarding these habits with dogs and tortoises, cats had yet to be examined in this way.) The team conducted the study over several months with 50 cats (both pets and shelter cats). In a series of cognitive tests, the subjects were deprived of these four types of stimuli for a few hours. Then, the researchers reintroduced the stimuli to see what the cats would go for. Shreve and her research partners discovered that the felines actually chose to be with humans more often. "Although there was clear individual variability in cat preference, social interaction with humans was the most-preferred stimulus category for the majority of cats, followed by food," the study notes. Not only will this allow cat owners to prove, once and for all, that cats are friendly and loving creatures, but this sort of information also will prove helpful in other areas. "One of the major reasons we conducted this study was to determine what items may best serve as a reward to cats," Shreve tells petMD. "If we understand what items cats prefer to interact with, we can utilize this knowledge in applied settings—such as when training cats or for use as enrichment items for shelter cats or, potentially, other captive wild cats." Shreve also points out that, while human interaction was the most sought-after stimulus, each cat had their own unique set of preferences, something she found surprising. "I think we should consider cats more as individuals," she says. "Just like any animal species, you see a gradient of sociability and preference—many cats prefer social interaction, but also many preferred food, toys, and scent." Read more: Image via Shutterstock

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Technically, there are no 100 percent hypoallergenic domestic cats or cats that are completely non-allergenic. All cats produce some amount of dander, so you won't find a dander or allergen-free cat. However, there are breeds that produce less of it and therefore make good cats for people with allergies. The following list of "hypoallergenic" cats is a guideline which petMD recommends for people who want to adopt a feline, yet feel options are limited due to allergies:

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