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Cat Advice

Cats are now our most popular domestic pet

Cat Advice

Cats are now our most popular domestic pet

Some people acquire a cat almost by accident but if you make a conscious decision to get one you should think carefully before going ahead.

A cat needs lots of love and care, including regular worming, vaccinations and dental care; you will also need to keep an eye out for ticks, fleas and ear mites. If your new kitten or cat hasn’t been neutered you will also need to make arrangements for your pet to be neutered with your vet.

Cats are very independent and often go wandering over large distances, if your cat goes missing it is going to be very difficult for anyone to know who it belongs to, unless your cat carries some form of permanent identification. It is wise to get your cat microchipped, this will avoid heartache in the long run, should your cat go missing.

Don’t forget that cats need somewhere warm to sleep, a litter tray, a constant supply of water, feeding daily and toys to play with. It costs approximately £25.00 a month to care for a cat, this includes food, litter, veterinary care and pet insurance; there will be other costs, including buying a litter tray and cattery charges when you go on holiday.

Cats can live up to 14 years old and longer, over this time your cat will expect lots of care, companionship, time for play and grooming. Being able to provide all of this will ensure you and your cat make the most of your time together.

  • Routine Health Care
  • Vaccination
  • Senior Pet Care

Routine Health Care

The bond between a pet and its owner is very strong and provides huge rewards.

Along with the rewards comes the responsibility of caring for a living creature that depends upon you for all its needs. Caring for your pets needs means providing a good diet and regular exercise. A preventative healthcare programme for your pet should include worming and vaccination. Register your pet with your local vet even if it is perfectly healthy, you will know where to go in an emergency and your vet will be able to give you advice on routine health care.

The key to recognising illness in your pet is to know what your pet is like when it is well. Often an owner will be able to detect subtle changes in their pet’s behaviour or appetite that indicate illness well before anyone else can. Your partner in caring for your pet should be your veterinary surgeon. Regular visits to a vet for routine health checks and preventative health care such as vaccination allow you and your pet to build a relationship with your vet. Early detection of clinical diseases will allow your vet to give more effective treatments. Most pets live with us as part of the family – maintaining their health also means there is less risk of them passing on disease. The chance of you catching a disease from an animal is small but there are some diseases that people can get from animals (zoonoses). A healthy pet is unlikely to pass on disease.

Vaccination

Young animals, just like children, are at risk from many infectious diseases.

In many cases, there is no treatment for these and young puppies or kittens who catch them often die. Protection against these deadly diseases can be provided by vaccination. To keep your pet fit and healthy make sure they complete an initial course of vaccinations and then receive regular booster jabs.

The most important vaccinations are those given to young animals. In most cases a course of injections is given between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks. ‘Booster’ vaccinations are given at 15 months and then at intervals throughout the cat’s life. First vaccination: 8-9 weeks – cat flu (herpes and calici virus) and enteritis Second vaccination: 12 weeks – cat flu (herpes and calici virus) and enteritis First annual health check and ‘booster’: 15 months – flu and enteritis.

Senior Pet Care

Although individual cats mature at different rates, most cats are adult by 1-2 years.

Most cats can be expected to live into their ‘teens’ although some pedigree breeds are not long-lived. Cats over the age of 12 years can be considered to be in the old age group. Older cats may suffer the effects of ‘wear and tear’ on their bodies and often have special requirements for care.

One of the joys of cats is their independence. As your cat gets older it will need you more than ever. You are the person who knows her better than anyone and you will be able to detect small changes that may indicate all is not well. However, it is important that you form a good relationship with your vet so that you can provide the best possible care for your pet throughout its life.

How do I keep my cat healthy?

Just like older people, older cats slow down, they often take less exercise and may start to put on weight. Your cat may not want to go out as often as she once did. Many cats become more friendly as they get older, spending more time in the house with their family and enjoying attention. Occasionally older cats become grumpy. If your cat’s behaviour changes you should ask your vet to check her over as this may be a sign of illness or pain.

Older cats need routine health care as much (if not more) than kittens. Regular vaccination is important throughout a cat’s life as infectious diseases are easily prevented and can be very serious in older animals. Don’t forget to treat your pet for worms and fleas.

Do older cats need special food?

If your cat is putting on weight you may need to reduce the amount of food that you give her, but some older cats may start to lose weight and may need more food (or better quality food). As cats get older their sense of smell and taste may be reduced and if your cat’s appetite seems poor – tempt her to eat by feeding richer, strong smelling foods.

Older cats digest their food less well and may need to eat relatively more food to absorb all the nutrients they need. You should always have your cat examined by your vet if she starts to gain or lose weight as this may be a sign of a medical condition that may need treatment. You can get special diets, designed for older cats, are available from your vet. It is not necessary to give cats milk, but plenty of clean fresh water must always be available, as older cats often need to drink more. Increased thirst is often the first sign of illness in older cats, so if your cat starts to drink more water you should ask your vet to examine them.

What diseases do older cats get?

As our body gets older it starts to work less efficiently – the same is true for cats. Your cat’s heart or kidneys may not work as well as they once did or your cat may develop an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Your vet will be able to help you manage these conditions as long as they see your cat before the disease becomes too advanced. If you are concerned about the health of an older cat make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.

Is it fair to treat disease in an old cat?

Domestic cats may live for 20 years or more if well cared for and early veterinary attention may be able to sort out problems before they become serious. Age is not a reason to accept ill health and by keeping your cat well you can ensure that they have a good quality of life.

One of the joys of cats is their independence. As your cat gets older it will need you more than ever. You are the person who knows her better than anyone and you will be able to detect small changes that may indicate all is not well.