Caring for your Cat or Kitten
If you’re living with cats or kittens, you’re not alone. Cats are among some of the most popular pets, often living well into their teenage years.
We have put together a wealth of advice on caring for your cat, including vaccinations, flea and worming treatment, neutering, microchipping and dental care.
Our ultimate goal is to help you share a healthy and happy life with your enigmatic feline friend!
Dental Care For Cats
Ever wondered why your fur baby has a bad breath? Sadly, most cats don’t have their teeth cleaned so the most common cause of halitosis (bad breath) is caused by bad teeth. This problem ranges from mild gingivitis where the gums look red, to severe periodontitis where teeth are covered in brown tartar and there may even be tooth root abscesses.
Although our cats do not demonstrate dental pain like we do, there’s no doubt that they do get toothache. It’s surprising how much brighter and livelier a cat will become after a dental. Although it might not stop your cat eating, your cat will feel very uncomfortable with that dull ache.
Early Detection is key
When you come for your annual booster and health check, our vets will give your fur baby a thorough check. It is much easier to treat an early case of gingivitis by scaling and polishing the teeth rather than wait until your cat has severe dental disease resulting in a much longer anaesthetic to remove teeth. We also offer free dental checks with a nurse throughout the year.
After having a dental, our vets can recommend a food that you can feed your cat to help keep it's teeth clean. We stock dental diets, specially formulated to act like a toothbrush to help prevent tartar build up. Providing this diet on a daily basis does help keep the teeth clean without you having to brush them.
It is important that your cat has a dental as a matter of urgency if the teeth have severe gingivitis or a deeper infection The infected gums provide a source of bacteria, which can get into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, these bacteria can deposit in major organs such as the kidney, liver and heart valves.
As the old adage says: prevention is better than cure. Regular check-ups and a diet consisting of chews and biscuits help keep the tartar away.
Flea Control For Cats
Do you know that just 5% of fleas live as adults on pets?
The other 95% of flea population lives in the home. Within a few days of their first blood meal, adult fleas lay non-sticky eggs. These will drop off onto surrounding carpets and bedding waiting to hatch. These eggs will hatch to produce larvae that feed on flea faeces and organic matter found in the environment. Larvae dislike light and tend to live deep in the carpets and in soil. Adult Fleas lay up to 50 eggs per day, about 2,000 in her lifetime. When they detect a host nearby, adults will come out of their cocoons. Once they hop onto a host, the adults mate and the life-cycle starts all over again. The newly emerged flea may bite humans before jumping off to find a more suitable host. A flea's entire life cycle can be as short as three to four weeks.
How do flea diseases transmit
Not only are fleas annoying. Some people and animals suffer allergic reactions to flea saliva resulting in rashes and/or impotence. Fleas can also act as a vector for disease (viral, bacterial and parasites) to humans and animals. An animal can die from a serious infestation of fleas if it is not treated.
Don’t wait until you see fleas on your animal to start a treatment
Fleas are an all year problem. They love our our warm weather as much as we do. Preventing an infestation is much easier and much more effective than trying to treat one that already exists. Ridding your home of an existing infestation can be a long (months, regardless of the flea product you use), labour and expensive process. Just because your animal doesn’t go outdoors doesn't mean he is safe from fleas. Indoor cats can and do get fleas just as easily. Fleas can also hitchhike on your clothing and come inside with you. They can come in with other pets that do go outdoors. They can also find their way inside through very small openings. We stock a wide range of flea control medication and creams. Ask our reception for special orders.
Microchipping Your Cat
Ever heard of a story where cats have strayed far from home only to be eventually reunited with their owners, thanks to their microchip? A microchip can be the difference between seeing a lost pet again, or not. It is very distressing to lose a pet but unfortunately without any reliable form of identification can be extremely difficult to reunite owners with their pets. Microchipping is a simple way of permanent identification for any pet.
How is microchipping done
Microchipping is quick, safe and painless. Our vets will inject a tiny microchip - about the size of a grain of rice, under the loose skin of your cat’s neck, which will give your cat his/her own personal identification number. If your cat strays and gets handed in to another veterinary surgery, rescue centre, the police or local authority, they have special hand held scanners that can detect and “read” the information on the microchips. Your cat’s unique number can be checked against the national database and once identified as yours, you will be reunited without further delay.
Neutering Your Cat
Male kittens can become sexually aware from as young as six months old and he may start pungent marking of his territory. Castration of a male cat is a minor operation if done early - usually at six months. Un-neutered males are more likely to get involved in fights, often resulting in abscesses and other ailments. They are also more prone to catch feline immuno-deficiency virus – a deadly viral disease which is spread by bite wounds. Neutering your male cat also stops testicular tumours occurring.
Female kittens can come into season well before they are a year old. We encourage neutering between four to six months of age. Our vets will be able to advise what is best for your kitten. Cats usually come into season (i.e are reproductively active) in spring/summer, though this will vary a little depending on weather conditions, such as day length and day light. However, with the majority of cats kept indoors and not truly subject to outside weather conditions, some cats will even come into season in the autumn and winter periods. During the breeding season a female cat, which has not been spayed (a queen) will come onto heat every three weeks. When on heat, a female cat is usually extremely vocal and it is not unusual for an inexperienced owner to think their cat is crying in pain. She is usually very affectionate, even more so than normal, and will rub against your legs and furniture. She may also adopt a characteristic position, called “lordosis”. In this stance, she crouches down on her front legs and holds her rear end up, in a position ready to mate. If you do not want your cat to have kittens, it is advisable to have her spayed.
Vaccinating Your Cat
Here at Comet Bay Vet, we strongly believe that ‘prevention is better than cure’. Cat flu is a very common disease, and sadly we also often see cats that have been infected with Feline Leukaemia Virus, a frequently fatal disease. Vaccinating your cat goes a long way to prevent these and many other diseases. Yearly booster vaccinations help to ensure that your cat’s immune system is always prepared in its constant fight against disease. We vaccinate against the diseases below. Although some are treatable some can be fatal which is why we recommend keeping up to date with your boosters to help protect your cat.
Vaccinations for cats
We recommend that kittens are given their initial course of vaccinations from nine weeks of age. This consists of one injection, followed by a second, three weeks later. These should then be followed by a booster vaccination on an annual basis. These vaccinations will help protect your cat against:
Feline Leukaemia Virus
Worm Control In Cats
Any cat is at risk of infection of worms, however well cared for – and most will be infected at some stage in their life. Left untreated, worms can cause real health problems for your cat e.g vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and anaemia. A few worms (in particular Toxocara – the common roundworm) can be transmitted to people – and children are particularly vulnerable. As such making regular worming part of your cat’s healthcare routine is a wise choice.
What type of worms attack cats
Cat worms come in different forms - roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms – There more than a dozen different intestinal worms that can affect cats and dogs in the Australia.
Whilst all of these worms can damage your cat’s health, the good news is that they can all be controlled. We stock a wide range of worming tablets.
Treatment and frequency
Worming treatments do not prevent infection in adult cats – so your cat could become re-infected shortly after being wormed. What you can do is to help protect your cat against the effects of infection, by killing worms before they can cause serious damage to your cat’s health. Worming your cat regularly not only ensures that your cat stays healthy but can reduce the risk of certain diseases being passed on to you and your family. How often you should worm your cat depends on your cat’s lifestyle. If they eat raw meat, hunt birds, mice or rabbits then they will need to be wormed more frequently compared to cats that tend to stay indoors. Our vets will be able to recommend a parasite prevention plan that is most appropriate for your cat. Worming your cat is now much easier. There is now an alternative to take the stress out of worming! We stock an easy-to-give, effective multi wormer for cats that kills all the roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms that your cat can get. Application involves just a drop on the back of the neck, making worming a much less stressful process for both you and your cat.