Getting a new kitten/cat is an exciting time for all the family and you want to be sure that your new addition is in good health!
We would recommend getting a health check for your new family member within the first couple of weeks. This can quite often be tied in with their first vaccinations at 9 weeks of age for kittens.
At the health check your vet will thoroughly examine your kitten/cat to ensure that all is well. They will also give you advice on general care, training, feeding, dental care, worming and fleas.
Fleas are tiny insects who get around by jumping between your cat (or even you) and the environment.
It is important to note that ONLY the adult flea lives on your cat. The female flea lays up to 50 eggs a day which fall off into your cats (and therefore your) environment. These eggs then hatch into larvae after a couple of days and will feed off of debris in the environment until they pupate. The adult flea develops inside the pupa and waits for movement to be detected. At this point they hatch out and jump onto the next available host which can be your cat or even you!
Ideal conditions for the flea are warm and damp weather and for this reason we see an increase in cases over the spring and summer months. However, once the heating is turned on in autumn we see another increase in cases as the warmth from the heating encourages dormant fleas within the home to become active. It is for this reason, we would recommend keeping your cat treated all year round!
As mentioned before fleas are generally well tolerated and there may be no sign that your cat is carrying them. However some cats have an allergy to the fleas saliva and this can make them itchy with secondary damage to the skin as a result of biting and scratching at themselves.
However, as fleas feed on your cat's blood, young kittens, and those of a smaller size are at risk of becoming anaemic, especially if the infestation is large.
Fleas can also pass on tapeworms when they are feeding if they have previously fed from an infected animal. It is therefore recommended to worm your cat as well if it is discovered that they have fleas.
Prevention is the best course of actions when it comes to fleas and we would recommend routinely treating your cat with a product recommended by one of our vets. We stock a range of products that we have faith in and since every cat is different we would advise coming in to the surgery to discuss your cat's individual needs with one of our team.
If you are concerned that your cat may have fleas then please contact the surgery – our vets will be more than happy to advise you on the best course of action – often involving a combination of treating both your cat and its environment!
A microchip is a small radiochip (around the size of a grain of rice) which carries a unique 15 digit identification number. This is implanted below the skin at the back of the neck and detected using a scanner.
Implanting the microchip is a quick and easy procedure which can be carried out by one of our vets or registered veterinary nurse.
All microchips are recorded on the Anibase Pet Database where records can be accessed 24/7, 365 days a year ensuring that you and your pet can be quickly reunited should they go missing!
Contact either of our practices today to arrange microchipping your pet or simply ask next time you are in.
From around 5-8 months of age female kittens will reach sexual maturity and are capable of breeding and having their own kittens. Queens (unneutered females) can have up to 3 litters per year – that’s a lot of kittens!
Once sexual maturity is reached a female cat will begin to come into season. Cats are seasonal breeders and will come into season every 2-3 weeks during this period. ‘Calling’ as the name implies can be very noisy and owners may mistake the behaviour as a sign of pain or distress.
Spaying is the removal of the uterus and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy) under a general anaesthetic. Commonly with cats the procedure is carried out through a small wound made in the flank (on the side). Midline spays can be carried out for pedigree cats or those breeds where skin temperature determines coat colour such as Siamese etc, at the owners request.
Some of the benefits of spaying your cat include:
- eliminate sexual behaviour i.e. calling
- eliminate the possibility of unplanned pregnancies
- eliminate uterine and ovarian cancers
- reduced risk of mammary cancer
- reduced attraction of entire males to the area
If you would like to arrange to have your cat spayed or to discuss the procedure further then please contact either of our surgeries and one of the team will be glad to assist you.
Male cats reach sexual maturity around 5-6 months of age and are capable of reproducing from this age. Castrating male cats is as important as spaying the females in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Entire males also have a stronger tendency to roam and are therefore at a higher risk of road traffic accidents. They also are more likely to be aggressive to other males and will fight which can result in some nasty wounds and can result in the transmission of some serious diseases such as Feline Leukaemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FeLV). Entire male cats will spray urine to mark their territory, including in the house!
Castration involves the removal of both testes through two small incisions made in the scrotum under a general anaesthetic. Sutures are often not required as the incisions are so small.
Some of the benefits to castrating your cat are:
- preventing unplanned pregnancies
- reduced roaming and territorial behaviours therefore reduced risk of cat fights, transmission of nasty diseases and road traffic accidents
- reduced urine spraying
- elimination of testicular tumours
If you wish to have your cat castrated or have any further questions then please contact either of our surgeries and one of our team will be happy to help.
Vaccinations are routinely started at 9 weeks of age with the second vaccine given at 11 weeks of age. It is important to note that your kitten is not fully covered for going out and about until a week after the second vaccine! Annual vaccinations are then advised to ensure your pet is fully covered against some of the more serious diseases. A number of diseases can be vaccinated against and the regime your vet recommends will be based on the lifestyle your cat will lead.
The vaccines can be split into 2 groups CORE and NON-CORE.
Core vaccines include Feline Panleucopaenia (Feline Infectious Enteritis), Feline Herpes Virus and Feline Calicivirus (the 2 main causes of cat flu). These core vaccines are recommended for all cats, including indoor-only, due to the widespread and severe nature of the diseases.
After the primary vaccination course is completed annual boosters are required to ensure continuing levels of protection. Your pet will receive a comprehensive health check at the time of their booster to ensure all is well and answer any queries you may have.
Non-core vaccines include Feline Leukaemia – a disease which can be spread through fighting, mutual grooming and sharing water/food bowls with an infected cat. Generally outdoor cats are most likely to be exposed to a cat of unknown status. Once contracted there is no cure for the disease therefore if your cat is likely to be going outdoors we would strongly recommend vaccinating against this nasty disease.
At Abbey Vets we also offer a 6 month health check for kittens. This ensures that any potential developmental issues are detected earlier. It is also a great opportunity to discuss neutering your pet with one of the team as well as moving onto the next stage of feeding and worming/flea treatment regimes.
All of our vets have a particular area of interest within the companion animal field so there is a wealth of experience to draw on when it comes to treating your pet and ensuring they receive the best possible care. We also work closely with specialist referral surgeries around the country which means we can get further expert opinions if required.
Roundworms and Tapeworms are the most common internal parasites that can affect our cats.
Roundworms can be picked up from soil which has had cat (or dog) faeces on it. Once ingested the worms pass infectious eggs which are passed out in the faeces and can lay dormant for up to 2 years!
Tapeworms (as previously mentioned) are commonly passed on by fleas – they look like grains of rice and may be visible around your cats bottom!
Roundworms and Tapeworms can also infect humans if swallowed and can cause a type of blindness in very young children therefore it is important to prevent them!
We advise routine worming treatments with one of our recommended products. Please call into either of our surgeries to discuss a worming regime for your cat(s).