NAO Catterries preventative healthcare suggestions and recommendations to our clients and their cats.
Owning a cat brings companionship, relaxation and fun, and really can make the difference between a house feeling just like a house or becoming a home. Although cats are highly independent animals, they do still bring responsibility and a long term commitment as they can live for around 15 - 20 years.
As well as a suitable diet and somewhere warm to sleep, cats need stimulation through play and interaction, and crave attention just like dogs - most love to be cuddled and to curl up on your lap. Long haired cats require regular grooming as well. Most cats like to spend time outdoors, but they can live fully indoors too. All cats need regular veterinary healthcare to remain fit and healthy into their old age.
The routine preventative healthcare we provide for cats includes vaccinations, flea, worm and tick prevention and treatment, microchipping, neutering, dental care and dietary advice/weight management.
Cats are routinely vaccinated against feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus which are the main causes of cat flu, and feline panleucopaenina virus which can cause a fatal enteritis.
Kittens should have their first vaccinations from 9 weeks of age, and the second 3 - 4 weeks later. Immunity to these diseases is maintained by annual booster vaccinations, fo Routine vaccinations carried out by your chosen vet practitioner .
Flea and worm treatment and prevention
Fleas are very common, causing irritation and skin problems. They can lay thousands of eggs on your carpets and soft furnishings, and can also jump onto dogs and people resulting in small red very itchy bites. Round worms can cause diarrhoea and weight loss, and tapeworms are readily picked up by cats that hunt. The flea and tapeworm lifecycles are linked so both should be treated together. Regular prevention of these parasites is much better then treating an infestation.
Your vet can advise on the most suitable flea and worm treatments for your cat (there is a huge array of products available!)
If your cat goes missing, you will have a much better chance of being reunited if he or she is microchipped. A microchip is a tiny chip (the size of a grain of rice) which is implanted in the back of the cat’s neck - if he is picked up as a stray and scanned, the details read by the scanner will be linked to your contact information.
If your cat is not microchipped, then microchipping can be done by your chosen vet ,they can also check that your cat’s microchip is working any time. Please also remember to update your contact details if you move house or change your phone number .
Vets recommend that all cats are neutered (females are spayed and males castrated). Neutering prevents unwanted litters of kittens, and reduces straying and fighting between cats. There are many health benefits for individual cats and for the cat population in general.
Cats can be spayed or castrated from 4 months of age. Your vet will be able to explain the process to you, but neutering is a fairly straightforward procedure involving a short general anaesthetic.
Costs for spaying a female cat and castrating a male cat will be given to you by your vet.
Some cats are very prone to tartar build-up and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Cats may also develop ‘neck lesions’ where the neck of the tooth becomes eroded resulting in pain and eventual tooth loss. Cats on a dry food diet or those hunting and eating small creatures may be less likely to develop dental disease than those on tinned food or pouches.
Many cats will require an intermittent ‘scale and polish’ under anaesthetic, and some will need loose, rotten or eroded teeth removed as well. Sometimes its quite difficult to check your cat’s teeth without sedation, whereas other cats are happy to have their mouth examined and even to have their teeth brushed.
The cost of dental care can vary considerably - a scale and polish in an otherwise healthy mouth might be pretty quick, but if multiple extractions are required, or eroded or broken teeth with solid roots need to be removed, it might take 2 hours or more. Your vet will give you an estimate after examining your cat, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell exactly what needs done until he or she is under anaesthetic.
Cats can have considerable build-up of tartar on their teeth depending on their diet, and can develop ‘neck lesions’ which are painful holes in the neck of some teeth which necessitate their removal. Cat dental work can be fiddly to do, and time-consuming as the teeth and jaws are more delicate, but is often essential to keep your cat’s mouth comfortable.
Dietary advice and weight management
Lots of the cats can be overweight, and some are obese. This is usually due to inactivity, many cats being happy to sleep most of the day and night. It’s easy to overfeed cats - they are often very demanding! But they really don’t need much food, and outdoor cats spending a long time catching food and eating small amounts are much less likely to be overweight than indoor cats who have their bowl filled whenever they miaow.
Obesity in cats can lead to health problems, including arthritis, diabetes, liver disease and heart disease. Yourvet can help by monitoring your cat’s weight regularly, advising on a suitable diet, and have lots of ideas on games to play with your cat and ways to increase their activity.