Cats can make excellent companions and are wonderful pets. However, with an average lifespan ranging from 15-20 years, owning a cat is a long-term commitment and their needs must be carefully considered.
Before you bring your cat or kitten home, we suggest you contact your local council and enquire about its regulations regarding such things as night curfews, compulsory containment within a property, desexing and microchipping.
A cat’s housing needs are simple. Whilst they will usually find a corner that suits them best indoors or outdoors, provide them with a basket, box or chair in a place where they feel safe and protected. Increasingly, people are using cat enclosures for outdoor cats. Placed in a weatherproof area, they keep them safe from neighbourhood cats and protect local wildlife. Indoor cats generally live longer and lead healthier lives.
It is recommended a scratching post be available for your cat to keep their claws in good condition for climbing and defending themselves. This will also reduce the chances of your furniture being scratched.
Cats like to be clean at all times. As a result, cats can easily be toilet trained with a litter tray filled with dry earth, sand, or cat litter is available. The litter tray should be cleaned daily to remove faeces and the litter itself changed frequently. Ensure the litter tray is placed in a quiet and private location. You may even need multiple trays if you have more than one pet cat. A good rule of thumb is one tray for each cat plus one extra.
All cats need to exercise. As cats naturally like climbing and perching themselves up high, trees and fences, for example, provide good opportunities for them if they have outdoor access. Indoor cats, however, will use furniture to climb and perch. Once again, having a scratch pole or indoor cat gym will give an indoor cat an effective alternative. Providing higher perching locations will also give your cats a more enriched environment.
Many cats require grooming assistance from their owners to remove excess hair. This helps in the reduction of furballs/hairballs and matted/tangled fur, which if left, may result in a visit to us. Except at moulting time, short haired cats are able to groom themselves adequately. In contrast, long haired cats require daily grooming by their owners. Furballs or hairballs can cause appetite and weight loss, and in a worst case scenario, result in surgery. During the moulting season daily brushing is essential and food designed specifically to assist with the reduction of hairballs will also help your cat process shed hair. Unlike dogs, you should not need to bathe a cat.
Cats tend to keep their nails at a good length on there own however they do this by wearing them down on trees, fences and other vertical objects. Unfortunatley for indoor cats this can mean the furniture so many people choose to trim their cats nails. This is simply a matter of using a set of pet nail trimmers as pictured below. (These are preferable to the guillotine style clippers which can bend the nail causing pain).
Try to push the cats nails out by pressing gently on the back of the toes. You should be able to see a pink part inside white nails. This is the nail bed and should be avoided as it will bleed if cut. Trim the hook of the end eg the nail. Tip: keeping clippers parallel with the bottom of the foot will reduce the chance of cutting too far back.
Most cats are grazers, so we recommend feeding small amounts often. They require a high protein and fat diet. There are many formulations of cat food available and we recommend discussing your cat’s individual nutritional needs with us to choose the most suitable formula. Raw chicken wings/necks are excellent in maintaining good dental health. For more information on diet see our 'feeding your cat page. '
Ensure a fresh water bowl is accessible at all times, especially if they have a dry food diet. Whilst many cats love to drink cow's milk, it's not recommended as they can be lactose intolerant and experience stomach upsets.
Cats require a minimum of one health check per year. Regular visits help us diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. Routine vaccinations, worming and flea control form the basics of feline medical care. We can also provide additional guidance on nutrition, behaviour, training and life-stage treatments available.
Indoor cats should be given a vaccination yearly to cover against common feline diseases. Even entirely indoor cats should receive this vaccination as diseases can be carried on clothing and footwear.
Cats that go outdoors should also be vaccinated for feline AIDS (FIV).
FIV is known to be present in the area and can be spread by a single bite wound. Luckily cats can be easily protected from this disease by annual vaccination. If you cat has not had this vaccine before, an FIV test will need to be performed to rule out infection before giving the initial vaccination course. This test can be performed in your home and costs only $40. Other ways to reduce infection risk include keeping your cat indoors, especially at night, and desexing to reduce fighting between cats.
We also recommend testing any new cat of questionable health status before bringing them into a household with other cats as fighting may occur while settling in.
We welcome you to book an appointment with us to discuss how to keep your cat in optimum mental and physical health.