Cats

Here is a quick guide on cats and how to look after them. If you have any concerns about the health of your cat, please call us.

We can offer advice on what, how much and when is best to feed your cat to keep them healthy. Petcare Clinics has a variety of nutritious specially designed food. Many cats have very individual needs and tastes. Cats that are overweight increase their risk of developing other health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and breathing problems. Contact Petcare Clinics to make an appointment for us to check the health of your cat.

What causes cats to gain weight?

Weight gain is the effect of a rise in body fat. This is usually caused by eating too much combined with lack of exercise. But there can also be other contributing factors, sometimes out of your control, such as;

  • age: older pets are usually less active therefore need less calories
  • breed: particular breeds are more prone to weight gain. For example mixed breed cats.
  • medical problems: often weight gain can be a result of a medical condition that may require specific treatment.

How can I tell if my cat is overweight?

  • the ribs can not be easily felt when stroking your hands along their rib cage
  • you need to fasten their collar down a notch
  • heavier breathing pattern

How can I help my cat to lose weight?

Weight problems are common but often successfully managed through simple changes in lifestyle. Cats, like dogs, need exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Encourage your cat to follow you around in the house, especially running up and down the stairs. Sometimes toys can help to encourage your cat to play, or hide food to make him or her search and ‘hunt’ for a reward. Shining a strong beamed torch on walls for your cat to chase works wonders.

Vaccination keeps your pet safe from common diseases. After an initial vaccination course, your cat may only need an annual booster for continued protection. Keeping up to date with vaccinations is very important as immunity is reduced once the date for the repeat vaccination is passed.

Petcare Clinics will tailor a programme specifically for the needs of your cat, call for an appointment for us to do this. Ask us about the Petcare Clinics Pet Health Club to help you save money and spread the cost.

Cat vaccinations protect against these diseases:

  • Feline Panleucopenia
  • Feline Calicivirus
  • Feline Rhinotracheitis virus
  • Feline Chlamydia
  • Feline Leukemia virus

Watch for sneezing, itching and scratching. Allergies are not always just seasonal and are one of the top reasons for visits to vets. Environmental allergens such as pollen, mould, and house dust mites are frequent causes of allergy. Food allergy is also quite common.

Contact Petcare Clinics for an appointment for a health check for your cat.

Regular grooming provides an opportunity to look closely at your cat, to check the condition of their skin, fur, claws, ears and teeth. It is also essential for many breeds. Grooming also gives you an opportunity to check for parasites such as worms and fleas. For long-haired cats whose coats have become unmanageable or matted, Petcare Clinics can groom cats under sedation if required.
The signs of dental disease can be subtle so many pet owners fail to notice their cat’s discomfort until they become subdued and are unable to eat.

Watch for signs of difficulty in chewing, or in eating hard food. Bad breath is not normal in pets, and the number one reason is dental disease. Pets don’t tend to get dental cavities, they suffer mainly from periodontal disease, plaque and calculus. The bacteria associated with dental disease can also cause other serious health problems as they can gain entrance to the blood system and travel to other organs, most notably the liver, kidney and heart valves.

Regular checks at Petcare Clinics can help monitor this. Diet plays an important factor in keeping teeth and gums healthy. Animals fed on mainly soft, moist, processed food are most at risk. Signs of dental disease in your pet can include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding and inflamed gums
  • Build-up of yellow or brown tartar on the teeth
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Loss of interest in food
  • Pawing at the mouth or drooling
  • Tooth loss
  • Subdued behaviour
  • Not wanting to be touched on the head
Symptoms of ear problems in cats can be shaking the head and scratching at the ears. There can be an odour and a discharge from the ear, or redness of the ear flap or entrance to the ear canal. Your cat may have ear mites. Some bacterial infections can perforate the eardrum so seek help straight away.

It is best not to try and clean your pet’s ears other than around the entrance to the ear. If a foreign body has made its way into the ear canal do not try to get it out yourself as this may cause damage and push it further in.

Call Petcare Clinics for an appointment to have your pet’s ears checked.

Regular outdoor exploring will help keep your cat’s claws short. Indoor cats should have scratching posts. Some cats may need their claws trimmed. Trimming black coloured claws yourself with nail trimmers can be tricky as the ‘quick’ (nerve and blood vessel) cannot be seen. If this is accidentally cut, the nail will bleed.

Book an appointment at Petcare Clinics for our Veterinary Nurse to help you with this.

Spaying and neutering of cats prevents unwanted kittens. Neutering male cats also avoids the distinctive ‘tom cat’ smell and reduces the risk of spraying of urine to mark territory. We recommend spaying and neutering your cat at five to six months of age.

Contact Petcare Clinics so we can advise you on spaying or neutering.

The needs of cats change throughout their life. Beginning at seven years of age, cats enter their senior years. At this age it is possible for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney and thyroid problems to develop and early detection is vital.

Contact Petcare Clinics to book an appointment for a senior pet health check.

Summer –  Make sure fresh drinking water is always available. Of course don’t leave your cat locked in a car or a conservatory on warm days. The temperature inside a car can rise very quickly to dangerous levels, even on milder days. Bring your cat to Petcare Clinics urgently.

Winter – This is the time when many of us start to feel aches and pains and our pets are the same. Look out for any difficulties getting up after rest, these are signs that your cat may have some joint stiffness, often made worse by cold or damp weather. Cats need to be able to keep dry and conserve body heat outside in the cold and wet and will need shelter and drinking water. Watch out for antifreeze (as used in cars) as some people use it in their garden ponds. It is very tasty but very poisonous to animals.

Be careful around the home. Keep potentially dangerous objects like pins, needles and string away from curious cats. Keep poisonous products and materials locked away. Many poisonous materials are used around the home every day – weed killers, slug pellets, rat poison, lawn sprays, fertilisers, paints, household cleaners.

Call Petcare Clinics immediately if your cat needs medical attention.