The essentials for your pet cat
Cats are territiorial animals and very attatched to their homes, so understandably they can become stressed when taken out of familiar environment. Despite this there are going to be times in every cat's life when a trip to the vet is needed - as owners all we can do is try to minimise stress and ensure they are kept safe when in transit.
A proper cat basket or carrier is esential for safe travel, but can also be the first source of discomfort for the cat, however a little planning ahead of time can make the trip more pleasant for both of you.
Firstly, the basket should be secure, easy to carry and easy to clean. Baskets with a top opening, rather than and end opening carrier can make it easier and less stressful to get the cat inside.
If the visit to the vet has been planned beforehand you should get the carrier out of storage to allow the cat to familiarise itself with the basket - leave the door open and allow the cat to investigate inside. If the cat associates the basket with home it will be less opposed to getting inside and more relaxed during the journey. Putting a familiar blanket, toy or catnip inside will also help the cat to relax.
During the journey it is best to keep the basket covered by a blanket as your cat will be less stressed in the dark. Make sure it is somewhere safe and secure in the car if you are driving. When at the veterinary practice, keep the carrier covered and away from other animals. Try to sit in the most quiet part of the waiting room and keep the carrier on a raised surface, as cats feel more secure at a height.
This should help to keep your cat calmer and happier during a visit to the clinic.
Cats are intensely territorial animals. They fight to protect their territory and seek to expand it against neighbouring cats. The vast majority of wounds will come from fights with other cats, while wounds from dogs, rats or foxes are rarer however do occur. Wounds can frequently result in infection and become a source of illness, particularly if they are left untreated.
Fights and wounds are more common in male cats than females, and are particularly prevalent in uncastrated Tom cats. Females and castrated males will fight others who enter the territory around their home. Tom cats are very territorial and will seek to expand the borders of their territory, bringing them into contact with more cats and more conflict. Neutering male cats is advisable and will reduce, though not eliminate, fighting.
Cat bites leave a small puncture wound that will heal quickly, but bacteria transmitted from the aggressor's mouth can multiply and result in the formation of an abscess. Bites on areas of the body lacking loose skin may result in cellulitis, a more serious issue affecting deeper layers of the skin and underlying tissue. Abscesses may take several days to develop, and should be seen by a vet at the earliest opportunity so that they may be drained and antibiotics can be prescribed where necessary.
Bite wounds are considered the main route of transmission for several feline infections and viruses. While these cases represent a minority of the total it is important to have wounds looked at so that treament can be administered early when required.
Urine spraying is part of the cat's normal scent-marking behaviour, used to claim territory, deter others from coming into their range and prevent neighbouring cats from coming into contact and fighting. Spraying can also help females in season attract males for breeding. The spray is a means of conveying their sex, age, hormonal state and general health.
Cats spray when frustrated, upset or facing challenge or competition. It can be interpreted as a way of increasing a cat's sense of security by surrounding itself with signs of its own occupancy. A cat will feel the need for more familiar odours if it feels more threatened.
Most cats feel sufficiently relaxed at home and are content with imparting their scent through rubbing or scratching. New arrivals or environmental changes may change this, and new pets, people, furniture or other items can prompt a cat to spray indoors.
Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine (hormonal) disorder seen in cats. It is due to excessive production and secretion of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland found in the neck. Hyperthyroidism can affect cats of any breed or sex, but is most common in older cats, rarely affecting cats under 8 years old.
Signs of hyperthyroidism include; weight loss, increased appetite, hyperactivity or restlessness, moderate elevation of body temperature, increased thirst and urination, occasional vomitting, panting, a matted and greasy coat, and an increased heartrate with a variety of cardiac rhythmic irregularities.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated in three ways - surgery, anti-thyroid drug therapy or radioactive iodine therapy. If you have noticed any of the above signs please contact us to arrange a health check for your cat.
Our Pet Health Club is an easy and affordable way to ensure your pet is covered when it comes to preventative health.
The scheme includes everything necessary for the prevention of fleas, worms and other parasites, as well as routine vaccinations.
Ensuring that your animal is fully up to date with their vaccinations is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard their health as a pet owner.
Click here for key information on what, and when, you should be doing.
Joe Clarke APDT, canine behavourist and trainer, hosts weekly Puppy classes in Socialisation and Habitualisation at our Sidmouth Parade clinic. Junior classes, for dogs 5-6 months and older, are held in a set 6 week block at our Neasden clinic.
Click here to find out more.