Good preventive healthcare is an essential ingredient in making sure that your cat has a long, happy and healthy life. The practice of protecting your cat from diseases by vaccination, and from parasites such as worms and fleas should start during kitten hood and continue throughout his or her lifetime.

You should register your cat with your local vet as soon as possible. Your vet will be able of advise you on all aspects of feline health and help you develop a preventive health care programme for your pet. Regular health examinations, at least annually ensure that problems are picked up as early as possible and treatment started. Should your cat show any signs of illness, ensure you seek early veterinary advice.

All cats leaving the Cheltenham Animal Shelter have been fully vaccinated, worm and flea treated, microchipped, neutered and also 4 weeks free pet insurance.

Vaccination

All cats should be routinely vaccinated against cat flu viruses and feline panleucopenia virus. In addition, cats can be vaccinated against feline leukaemia virus.

Here are some points for you to consider:

  • Kittens receive some immunity from their mothers, however, this immunity fades rapidly from 6-12 weeks of age. For this reason, a kitten should receive the initial vaccination from 9 weeks of age.
  • A primary course of vaccinations involves 2 injections, 3-4 weeks apart, giving your pet immunity for the first year of life.
  • Your kitten should be kept indoors for at least 1 week after its last injection, in order to avoid exposure to infection.
  • Immunity to infectious diseases will gradually fall leaving your pet at risk. Regular annual booster vaccinations are vital to maintain immunity.
  • Prevention is particularly important since these diseases are often difficult to treat successfully and may result in recurrent long term illness or even the death.
  • All of these diseases share the same initial symptoms of depression, a loss of appetite and a high temperature. So if your cat is unwell, and especially if it has not been vaccinated, seek the advice of your vet immediately.

Worming

As a responsible cat owner, it is important for you to worm your cat regularly.

Here are some points for you to consider:

  • All cats, no matter how well cared for, can get worms.
  • In kittens, worms can be passed from the mother before and after birth through the milk.
  • Pets pick up worms from other animals faeces in the soil, and from swallowing infected fleas whilst grooming.
  • It is not always easy to tell whether your pet has worms or not. With a very heavy infestation, there may be weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, or a swollen abdomen. Heavy infestation can cause death.
  • Some worms have the potential to be transmitted to people, and in the case of the roundworm, the consequences can be serious especially in young children.
  • Kittens should be wormed from 2 weeks of age every 2-3 weeks of age until they are 12 weeks of age, then every month until they are 6 months of age. Adult cats should be wormed every 3 months for life.
  • We recommend Drontal Cat, and effective combination wormer, which controls both round and tapeworms. It is given in a single dose, either popped down the throat or mixed with your pet’s normal food.

Fleas

  • A cat will almost certainly suffer from a flea infestation at some point during his or her life.
  • Fleas can cause pets to be become restless and distressed. They can cause itching and inflammation, possibly leading to major skin problems.
  • Fleas are responsible for the transmissions of tapeworms, therefore it is important to remember when treating your cat for fleas, to treat him for tapeworms too.
  • Fleas can bite us owners as well!
  • Cats can pick up fleas from outside the home or from other animals.
  • More often than not, an owner will notice small specks of grit on the cat’s coat. To establish if this is flea dirt, brush the coat and allow the material to fall onto moist white tissue. Flea dirt will produce a red mark.
  • Effective flea treatment and control involves treating both the environment and the cat.
  • There are various products available, but we recommend Frontline because of its convenience and effectiveness.

Neutering

Unless a cat is neutered, he or she could be responsible for the birth of many unwanted kittens. There are already thousands of stray and abandoned cats in the UK, yet if owners were to have their cats neutered, much of this unnecessary suffering could be avoided.

For females, neutering is called spaying, and for males it is called castration.

  • The average female cat comes on ‘heat’ every 2-3 weeks, and this heat lasts 2-4 days. During this time there is a high risk of pregnancy.
  • She will need to be kept apart from male (tom) cats for the duration of heat. It is very difficult to confine a female cat on heat since she will become restless and howl, attracting every local tom.
  • Spaying is now a routine operation and usually involves a day at the veterinary practice. She will have recovered fully in approximately 2 weeks.
  • Female cats are generally spayed about 5-6 months of age, but your pet can be neutered at any age.
  • A spayed cat will not come into season again and so will not become pregnant.
  • The process of giving birth and raising young will take its toll on a female cat and may cause premature ageing.
  • An uncastrated tom’s behaviour can alter greatly when a local female cats are in season. They will escape at any opportunity and may be involved in a road traffic accident, get into fights with other cats, or get lost and go missing, possibly forever.
  • Male cats are usually castrated at about 5-6 months of age, but can be done at any age.
  • Castrating your cat is a straight forward operation that usually involves a day at the veterinary surgeon. They usually male a complete recovery within 1 week.
  • As well as making your cat less likely to stray, cats tend to be less aggressive and less likely to fight or get bitten, and therefore less likely to be infected with Feline Aids or Feline Leukaemia.
  • A castrated male does not scent mark with pungent urine like uncastrated males do.
  • Neutering your cat is not as expensive as you may think: it is certainly cheaper that the cost of an unplanned pregnancy and raising a litter of kittens, or the vet’s bill following your cat’s road accident.
  • Neutering is the only guaranteed way of preventing unplanned kittens being born.

Please neuter your cat. Contrary to popular belief, a cat does not need to have a litter. Furthermore, neutered cats do not get fat nor does neutering affect a cat’s ability to catch mice.

Microchipping

If your pet strays, it may remain unidentified for days or ever weeks causing much distress to you, your family and your pet.

  • Microchipping is a simple and effective way to make sure that your pet can be easily identified should you become separated.
  • A small microchip about the size of a grain of rice is inserted under the loose skin on the back of your pet’s neck. This coded insert remains a permanent means of identification of your pet.
  • This provides your pet with a secure proof of identity, unlike collar tags that can get lost or be taken off!
  • Your pet is entered onto a national database. A hand held scanner at the nearest veterinary surgery or animal welfare establishment can easily read the chip and when your pet is found, and you will be reunited.

Pet Health Insurance

  • Each year, on average one pet in three will require veterinary treatment for illness or accident. As treatment becomes more complex and sophisticated, costs inevitably rise, and on many occasions may become a limiting factor.
  • We naturally think of traumatic surgical events-such as accidents involving broken bones as the main reason for pet insurance. However, in addition many medical conditions, such as deep seated skin or ear infections, arthritis and diabetes (to name but a few) can often be equally costly to treat in the longer term.
  • With pet insurance you have the peace of mind that should your much loved pet become ill, he or she can have the treatment they requirewithout you having to worry about the cost of treatment.

Dental Care

Our pets usually start with healthy mouth. However, without continuous home dental care, problems can easily result.

  • Accumulations of tartar on the teeth lead to reddened gums, bad breath, infection, dental pain and eventual tooth loss.
  • As well as this, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the blood vessels located near the gums and teeth. Studies have shown that certain heart, liver and kidney diseases may be associated with these bacteria.
  • Unlike humans, even when your pet’s gums are infected they still continue to eat.
  • Regular check ups, feeding a dry food diet and a good cleaning regime will prevent tooth and gum problems.

 

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