What should I do if my pet picks up a tick?
A number of sprays, spot-on treatments and collars are licensed to kill and / or repel ticks. Unfortunately even a dead tick can stay attached and the best option may be to remove it. This needs to be done with great care, since simply pulling the tick may result in part of it being left in your pet. Tick removing tools are available to ensure you remove the whole tick, however if you are unsure of how to safely detach the tick you must consult your vet. How can I tell if my cat has worms? Unfortunately, in many cases it can be difficult to determine if your cat has worms by simply looking at him or indeed his faeces. Some cats with a heavy worm burden may look thin and have diarrhoea, however many healthy looking cats may also have worms. It is recommended that cats are routinely wormed on a regular basis to eliminate this problem.
How often should I worm my cat?
As a general recommendation adult cats should be wormed at least every 3 months. Kittens require more frequent worming until they are 6 months old as many kittens will already have some worms when they are born. To minimise the amount of worms passed to the kitten it is very important that pregnant queens are also wormed with a product safe to use in pregnancy. Your vet will be able to advise you about the best worming regime based on your cat’s lifestyle.
I think my cat has got fleas: what should I do to get rid of them?
Fleas are a very common problem for cats and in some cases can cause skin reactions to both cat and owner. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, this is a problem that can easily be eliminated. There are many flea preparations available and your vet will be able to advise you on the correct one for your pet. Read the packaging of any medicinal product carefully and do not use dog products on cats unless your vet has instructed you to do this, since some dog treatments are potentially very dangerous when used on cats. If you have found fleas on your cat, there is a high possibility that there will also be fleas in your house. Although some products used on cats and dogs have activity on fleas within the home, it is often advisable to treat the house with an appropriate household spray too. You should continue to treat your pet against fleas regularly as a preventative measure to avoid re-infestation.
Should I brush my cat’s teeth?
Just like people, cat’s teeth can get a build up of tartar on them which ultimately leads to gum and dental disease. It is a good idea to brush your cat’s teeth on a regular basis, preferably every day. This can take some practice at first as your cat gets used to the idea. It is often easiest to start this regime when your cat is a kitten as they are more willing to accept new ideas at this stage. Cat toothbrushes and toothpaste are available and, if you are unsure how to brush your cat’s teeth, contact your veterinary practice and one of the vets or nurses will be able to show you. Ensure you only use cat toothpaste as human toothpaste contains fluoride that can be toxic to cats. Bad breath, or difficulty experienced in brushing your cat’s teeth may indicate a problem, and a veterinary opinion should be sought.
Should I insure my pet?
Insuring your pet will give you peace of mind that should they be involved in an accident or suffer from illness the veterinary fees will be covered (minus any excess or exemptions). There are many different policies available and it is a good idea to read through the policy details very carefully. Different policies will have different excesses and limits. Some are lifelong policies and some will only cover diseases for one year. Ensure you know what will and won’t be covered with the policy you choose.
What do I need to do if I want to travel abroad with my cat?
Your veterinary practice will be able to advise you on the details of taking your cat abroad. The process involves microchipping, rabies vaccination, blood sampling and a Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) passport. This is a lengthy process and it takes at least 7 months from the vaccination day until your cat would be able to return to the UK.
How often should I carry out a healthcheck on my pet?
You should check your pet on a daily basis to make sure there are no signs of disease or injury. Simple changes in behaviour in relation to feeding, activity and toilet habits often give a clue that all is not well. If in doubt or you find anything abnormal contact your vet for advice.
How often should I take my cat to the vet? Your cat will require annual vaccination and at this point a full health examination will be carried out by your vet. Your vet may advise more frequent visits if there are aspects of your cat’s health that require regular monitoring. If you have any concerns about your cat, contact your vet for advice.
What diseases should I vaccinate my cat against?
Your vet will be able to advise you on the vaccinations required based on your pet’s lifestyle. The majority of cats in the UK are vaccinated against infectious enteritis, cat ‘flu and often feline leukaemia. If you are taking your cat abroad it will also need a rabies vaccination.
How often should I feed my cat?
Kittens should be fed small, regular meals because they have small stomachs. At 8 weeks of age this should be 4 or 5 meals, being gradually reduced to two meals a day at 6 months. It is very important not to overfeed your cat, as obesity is becoming a significant problem. Stick to a measured quantity of commercial balanced ‘complete’ diet and try to avoid too many treats as these contribute to obesity. Commercial diet guidelines are only a guide to quantity and the appropriate amount will depend on your cat’s lifestage and activity. Your veterinary surgeon should be able to give more specific advice.
How often should I play with my cat?
Regular daily exercise is essential for your cat’s health. You should play with your cat for at least two 15 minute sessions every day. Keep some toys just for playtime, remove them when you are not playing with them, otherwise your cat will get used to them.
Should I get my pet microchipped?
A pet microchip is a tiny device containing a unique number. Microchipping your pet is a method of permanently identifying them. This means that should your pet get lost or stolen the chances of being reunited with him is much higher. Animal rescue centres, the police and vets will scan any stray animal for a microchip, and if microchipped will be able to return the pet to its owner.
I think my cat is overweight: what should I do?
Obesity is a common problem in pet cats and can cause many health problems. If you are concerned that your cat is overweight contact your veterinary practice. They will be able to weigh your cat for you and advise you on the target weight and how best to achieve this. They will also monitor your cat’s progress and make sure there are no medical reasons for your cat’s weight problem.
I’ve been bitten by a strange cat. Have I got rabies?
Fortunately the UK is currently free of fox rabies. Bites, however, can still be serious because some very unpleasant bacteria can live in cats' mouths. Tetanus is also a specific risk that needs to be considered. Contact your vet for advice on cat bites as some infections, if left untreated, can prove to be very serious indeed.