Vaccinating your cat is one key way to help ensure they stay as healthy as possible. The vet will also perform a visual and physical health check ie weight, heart and breathing and feel if there are any unusual lumps or bumps as well as for fleas and ticks.
There are core and non-core vaccines and we deal with the core ones here.
The most commonly available vaccines are used to provide protection against the following infections:
Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV, feline infectious
enteritis; feline parvovirus)
Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1, cat flu)
Feline calicivirus (FCV, cat flu)
Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)
These are given as a course of injections over a 3-4 week period to kittens of 8 weeks and thereafter annually. We have provided links so you can read about each one and understand the severity of not vaccinating. Even if your cat stays indoors it is suggested that you still vaccinate, in case your cat ever escapes and because you can still bring in some of these on your clothing or hands. Some of these virus remain in the environment for a long time (some for several years) and can still be carried onto a new host - Your cat!
Presently, Rabies is not usually given in the UK. If you plan to take your cat abroad you should consider this. Please talk with your vet about this.
What is neutering?
It's called many things from 'castration' for males, 'speying' for females to 'dressing' here in Scotland.
It means a small operation to stop cats from breeding.
Why do this?
For several reasons:-
The operation for both sexes is short. For males its around 5 minutes and females a little longer. The females usually have a small incision made on their left flank and one or two stitches which may either be self dissolving or need removing approximately 10 days later.
What is microchipping and why do it?
It is a small implant that is inserted under the skin and has a unique 15 digit number which identifies the cat with its name, age, colour and owners details. It is usually done at the time of neutering. It can help in the following ways:-
Presently microchipping is not a legal requirement.
However, in England and Wales it is expected to become a legal requirment during 2022.
In Scotland it is not planned and presently the Scottish Government is awaiting the outcome of the results to the outcome of Dog microchipping that became law a few years ago.
Animal rescues all agree however that microchipping is key to helping owners with lost and stray pets, pets involved in road traffic incidents and pets found deceased.
We link here the position statement from International Cat Care for more information on microchipping
Cat welfare is enshrined in law and you have a duty to follow it.
No-one likes the heavy handed approach to animal welfare as it can cause more problems for an animal than was intended when those who feel threatened by actionable offence.
Part of our remit is to help the public better understand cat welfare and how to keep their cats safe and well.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 covers both England and Wales and includes a section about a cats five needs. As this rescue is based in Scotland we will refer to Scottish law.
In Scotland the act is The Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
Part 2 of the act covers animal welfare which includes both domestic and feral cats.
In Scotland the SSPCA have the ability to act directly in cases of negligence and cruelty w.
In England and Wales the RSPCA must request the Police to take action, although the RSPCA can prosecute.
The law is different in Scotland and England. In Scotland you need a licence issued by NatScot to trap and release ferals. You are then required to report all ferals trapped and outcomes.
Section 17 Cats are considered protected animals as are ferals which are classed as domestic cat living partly independently of humans.
Section 18 a person who owns a cat is always regarded as being the person who is responsible for it.
Section 19 deals with unnecessary suffering
Section 24 concerns ensuring the welfare of animals and that an offence is committed if steps are not taken to ensure the needs are met. Subsection 3 states:
(a) its need for a suitable environment,
(b) its need for a suitable diet,
(c) its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
(d) any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals,
(e) its need to be protected from suffering, injury and disease.
Cats are regarded as property under the Theft Act 1968 and depriving an owner of their cat is offence. To hurt them in any way is also an offence both under this and the Animal Welfare Act as well as in common law.
Abandoning a cat is likely an offence under Section 29 of the Animla Welfare Act 2006 and that can be abandonment by, for example leaving a cat behind following say a house move or leaving it unattended such as going on holiday leaving the cat to look after itself perhaps with a supply of food left behind in bowls etc in the hope it will last the time you're away.
Other legislation will also be applicable in such situations in terms of
neglect & cruelty.
Yes cats can have allergies too! One of these is akin to Hay fever
Unlike us it shows itself as skin irritation, grooming more than usual and sores or bald spots. It
needs a vet diagnosis and treatment is available through anti-histamines, anti-allergy vaccine and you can help your cat by reducing their outdoor access usually around mid-day and wiping them with a damp cloth to reduce the pollen on their fur.
Like us cats can have heart murmurs and they are graded I-VI. The most mild is 1. Heart murmur itself is does not indicate heart disease and may be caused by something else. Your vet will help determine the reason and what treatment is available. Cats can still live long happy lives.
A dental check up is usually done at an annual visit to your vet for booster vaccinations. The importance of this is to check for signs of gum or dental diseases, both can affect the organs and cause other health issues if not treated. Signs of dental diseases can include inability to eat normally, bad smelling breath, bleeding from mouth, broken tooth.
Vomiting can be a sign of illness or the cat is trying to cough up a furball. Different colour vomit or presence of blood may indicate what is wrong.
Seek veterinary advice at the earliest time.
Cats develop kidney problems at anytime in life. Kidney disease symptoms might include increased urination, thirst, poor appetite, loss of weight, bad smelling breath and lethargy. A thin cat is not an old cat but a sick cat. Seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. There is usually treatment that will help.
Thyroid problems can affect a cat anytime and indicators are increased hunger, vomiting and weight loss. It can be cured by an operation or radioiodine or controlled through medication. A cat with this also has a risk of heat failure due to the heart beating incredibly fast so the sooner you seek veterinary advice the better.
The liver is a vital organ and affects digestion, regulates energy and metabolism, helps eliminate toxins and waste and regulates the immune system. Signs of liver disease might be lask of appetite, lethargy and weight loss. Visit your vet as soon as possible.
Just like us cats can develop diabetes and overweight cats are more at risk. Signs to watch for are drinking more, sleeping more than usual and losing weight. It is treatable with careful diet and medication. It is important to see a vet as soon as possible.
Tapeworm can be caught through drinking outside water, from rodents, ticks and birds. These are usually at least a foot long, all you see are segments as they break off, on your cats back end. Proprietary wormers must be used, DO NOT use Johnsons, Beaphar or any other similar as these products do not have the efficacy of products such as Drontal or Broadline.
Earmites can be a very nasty infection especially if left. Your cats ears wil look something like this and the vet can see with a scope whether its mites. Treatment usually takes about two weeks either by ear drops or by Stronghold which has a flea and tick treamtment that includes earmites. Both may be prescribed if the infection is severe.
Looks like spaghetti doesnt it! Whena kitten displays that pot belly it is usually but always due to this parasite, more commonly known as 'round worm'
This is the primary one for pregnant women to be concerned with. Litter trays must be scrupulously cleaned and handled with gloves or not at all. It is NOT a reason to rehome your cat but to learn hygiene with your cat.
Ticks are found predominatly on sheep and deer (anywhere there is a suitable host) and there are several types. All carry tapeworm and other diseases including Lyme's disease which affects humans. Treat your cat monthly with a suitable product such as Broadline, Advocat, Frontline.
Fleas can lie dormant for years as larvae in carpet and furnishings etc. You must treat not only your cat but the whole house. Several treatments may be required if you have a bad infestation. You can carry them into your home on your clothing.
Following microchipping the company that holds the microchip details will send you notification of the details it now holds.
Don't forget to go to their site and register with them. If you don't they or anyone else will not be able to contact you in the event your cat is lost or found deceased.