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Health & Advice

Cat Medic Picture

This page is aimed at giving you basic cat health information. If you suspect that something serious is wrong with your cat or kitten seek medical advice from your vet.

7 Steps to a healthy kitten
Kitten Proof Your Home
Check Me Out - 5 Minute Inspection
Share Your Knowlege With Others

7 Steps to a healthy kitten

  • Step 1: Start Good Eating Habits
    Choosing the right diet for your kitten or adult cat is vital, so consider you choice of food right from the beginning. Keep your kitten or cat on the same food it was eating with the breeder for at least a week to avoid any upset, but once it has settled in you can gradually change on to a new diet if appropriate.
    When choosing a food, look for a diet with a high meat content (at least 26 %) as cats are carnivore and avoid artificial additives such as flavourings, colours and preservatives if possible, as they may cause a variety of health problems in the long term. Both wet and dry foods are fine, and a combination of the two is often the best approach. Some breeders also recommend a raw meat diet, but if following this make sure you supplement the cats diet as many health problems have been reported by poor diet. Never forget an ample supply of fresh water, especially if you are feeding a mainly dry diet.
    As your kitten grows, you need to continue to pay strict attention to it's diet, as diet-related health problems, especially obesity (which can lead to complications including diabetes), are among the most common causes of ill health in cats.
    OFF THE MENU make sure you keep your kitten away from the following poisonous or dangerous foods.
    These flowers may be pretty but they can be dangerous to cats. Even small amounts of their pollen, licked from the fur can cause fatal kidney damage.
    Raw Fish
    You might think that this would be wonderful for your cat, but in fact too much raw fish can cause serious health problems, so it's best avoided.
    Another favourite of many cats that can cause health problems if fed to frequently. It is so rich in vitamin A that regular, daily feeds of liver can overload the system, leading to bone problems.
    Grapes & Raisins
    Cats can suffer severe kidney damage if they eat grapes or raisins, so keep them well away from your cat if it has adventurous tastes.
  • Step 2: That First Visit To The Vet
    It's a good idea to take your kitten to the vet for an initial check-up very soon after bringing it home. Your vet will give it a thorough health check, making sure it is perfectly healthy and may well start the vaccination process if the kitten is old enough.
  • Step 3: Vaccinations
    All cats need to be protected with vaccinations and the process starts with a course of two injections given to kittens between eight and twelve weeks of age. These injections protect your kitten from three major and very serious diseases: cat flu, feline enteritis and most importantly of all feline leukaemia virus. This last injection is offered as an optional extra by some vets, but it should be considered as an essential part of the vaccinations as feline leukaemia is one of the biggest killers of young cats.
  • Step 4: Beat Worms
    Every kitten or cat is susceptible to worms, which are generally passed from their mother through the milk or placenta. You should make sure your kitten is wormed every two weeks up to twelve weeks of age, with a good quality wormer. After twelve weeks it's recommended monthly worming until six months, before adopting the usual adult regime of a treatment every three months. Modern palatable worming tablets and easy-to-use liquids make the process of administering worming treatments very straight forward nowadays and your vet will always help if you find it difficult.
  • Step 5: Get Flea Free
    Fleas may be tiny but they can cause big problems, especially for young kittens. A heavy infestation can lead to potentially serious problems including anaemia. Fleas can also transmit certain types of worms when they are eaten during grooming. So ensure your kitten is flea free and if you do suspect an infestation, your vet can advise you on the most appropriate treatment and ongoing preventative product. The most popular treatments are spot-on liquids, which are convenient and effective, but other preparations that exist include tablets, sprays and injections which protect cats for six months. Flea collars have largely been superseded by more effective flea control methods.
    If an infestation is suspected don't forget once the kitten or cat has been treated you must treat the house. Your council may help with pest control.
  • Step 6: Neutering - The No-Brainer
    With the exception of cats kept for breeding, all cats should be neutered. Not only does it prevent unwanted pregnancies, it also has health benefits for your cat including the prevention of womb infections and mammary disease later in life and reducing the desire to roam, spray urine and fight. Both male and female operations are quick and simple and most cats are back to their normal selves within a few days, although it's advisable to restrict the activity of female cats for a week to ten days after their operation.
  • Step 7: Microchip Your Moggy
    More than 5000 cats go missing every day in Britain. Protect your pet by getting it microchipped: a chip the size of a grain of rice is implanted under the skin of the scruff of the neck. This can be easily read using scanners found at the vets and rescue centres. Microchipping is recognised as being the most effective form of routine identity protection.

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Kitten Proof Your Home

Kittens have a natural instinct to explore their world, everything to them is exciting and new and you as an owner should ensure that they come to no harm and actively encourage them to play and explore. Below are some tips to check before your kitten is brought home.

  • Block up gaps behind kitchen appliances and under fitted cupboards
  • Screen off open fireplaces
  • Check for loose floorboards
  • Close toilet lids
  • Place cleaning fluids/disinfectants/medicines in cupboards
  • Close all external windows and doors
  • Place electric cables out of reach
  • Don't leave hot liquids unsupervised
  • Remove any potentially poisonous plants, cut flowers or fragile ornaments from exposed surfaces and any tiny objects that could be swallowed, such as elastic bands

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Check Me Out - 5 Minute Inspection

Give your kitten or cat a regular five minute inspection. If you find anything unusual or your kitten or cat appears unwell, consult a vet for advice.

  • Ears: The outer ear canal should be clean with a pale pink lining. A little wax formation is normal and can be removed with the use of a gentle ear cleaning solution for cats, if necessary. Signs of infection include pain, increased brown wax, an off-white discharge, or an offensive or musty smell.
  • Eyes: Check that your kitten's eyes look the same. Changes to look for include excessive tear production, a thick discharge, any redness, a difference in blinking between the eyes, eyelids held closed or any swelling around an eye.
  • Teeth & Gums: Your kitten's baby teeth should be pearly white (and sharp!) and the gums a healthy pink. Up to eight months old, kittens are teething. During this time the gums may be red and swollen, with a little bleeding after a baby tooth has fallen out. Help keep teeth healthy by providing your kitten with a healthy diet and brushing teeth regularly.
  • Weighty Woes: Three in ten cats treated by vets are obese. Three out of four vets agree that cases of pet obesity continue to rise. The majority of vets say that cases of diabetes in cats are on the increase, they say owners don't exercise their pets enough and feed them the wrong food and too often.
  • Paws: Get your kitten used to having its paws touched and examined by lifting its paws and touching them every so often. If your kitten has an injured paw, it may show pain or distress by avoiding walking on it. Gently examine it for open wounds, redness or foreighn objects.
  • Coat & Skin: Run your hands over the body to check for any lumps, bumps, wounds or scabs. Also check for fleas and ticks. You may see the flea or its black dirt. Ticks engorge themselves on your kitten's blood, then fall off. You can remove them with tweezers by grasping them close to the kitten's skin and rotating until they let go.

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Share Your Knowledge With Others.

If you would like to share any tips on health and looking after cats please email me and I will add your suggestions to the site.