A cat’s dental care is one such factor that needs to be closely observed. People need to keep an eye on their dental health and you need to do the same for your pets.
Booking regular vet check ups at least once a year is a vital responsibility of an owner. Even if your cat seems perfectly healthy, regular check ups can prevent dormant illnesses from maturing into something more serious. Vaccinations need to be monitored and updated, and it is a good time to get general advice about your pet’s behavior and welfare.
In the cat health section we also cover some health problems that are common to cats, so you don’t have to wait for your yearly vet check to pick them up. Things like hair loss, dehydration, fleas, ticks and worms, are all issues that need to be dealt with as soon as possible.
Another issue we touch on is cats with special needs. Whether they’re born that way or develop problems over time, it’s something that many pet owners have to figure out how to deal with. We also cover blindness, lameness and surgery recovery.
Many pet owners are prepared for the costs of annual vaccinations, worming and regular flea treatments, but never expect to end up in emergency after their cat has been in an accident, ingested a toxin or come down with a sudden illness.
Unfortunately, many pets owners are unable to meet the costs associated with treatment and sadly have to elect to have put down.
There are no government subsidies or Medicare payments to help pay for treatments of animals. Pet insurance might be your safeguard against this and can help take the pressure of high and unexpected veterinary bills.
When deciding on which pet insurance policy is most effective to you, some factors that you should consider include:
The age limit on joining. Older cats maybe considered a higher risk and some insurers won’t insure pets over the age of 8 or 9.
We recommend that you research the options out there, including reading the Policy Disclosure Documents and speaking with other cat owners you may know about their experiences to find a policy that most readily useful suits you and your cats needs.
At “We Love Cats” we share your passion for your cat and we want to help you in maintaining their health and happiness. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing your cat with high quality services and Our products plus the very best advice.
Here, you’ll find everything you need to know to properly care for, train and raise your feline friend into a happy and healthier cat. From advice on training your pet and keeping them entertained, to staying on top of their vaccinations and vet check-ups. Whatever it is that you’d like to know more about, we’ve got expert advice to help you on your path as a cat owner.
Internal parasites usually live in a cat’s digestive system and are detected by an examination of your cat’s stool. Treatment can begin as soon as two weeks of age and should be repeated at two to three week intervals, as determined by your veterinarian.
Kittens can become infected early in life, especially with roundworms, which can be transmitted through their mother’s milk. Kittens should be wormed at two, four, six, eight and 12 weeks old, then every three months for life with an all-wormer. Pregnant and nursing cats should also be treated during mating, before giving birth to a litter and then every three months. Heavy worm infestations in cats should be repeated 10 days after the initial does is administered.
Worming pastes are easy and effective to use for cats that have difficulty eating a tablet, but if you prefer to use tablets, ask your veterinarian for a demonstration during a vet consult.
Tapeworms are common problem for adult cats. Cats can acquire tapeworms by eating a rodent or ingesting a flea that is carrying an immature tapeworm, so flea control is important. Small, white worm segments around your cat’s anus or in their litter pan indicate that tapeworms are present.
Roundworms can be passed on from a mother cat to kittens through her milk. Take a stool sample to the veterinarian when your cat is scheduled for her regular shots to ensure roundworms are not present. These intestinal parasites may cause weight loss, weakness, diarrhoea, or mucus in the stool.
Hookworms may be passed on before birth or when nursing. If possible, keep your adult cat treated at mating and during nursing, and because hookworms can be transmitted through contact with infected faeces, keep them away from other cats’ waste. Hookworms cause anaemia, diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting or black, tarry stools.
Ringworm is caused by a fungus that lives on the skin and is quite contagious – it can even be transmitted to humans. Ringworm appears as oval bare patches on the skin of your cat. To minimise the risk, avoid unnecessary contact with other cats. In the event that you suspect your cat has ringworm take them to the veterinarian as ringworm can only be detected under an ultraviolet light – once detected your veterinarian will be able to administer the correct treatment.
Heartworm is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, as the immunity system of a cat can eliminate most infections more easily than a dog. Not all infections are eliminated after the mosquito carrying the immature heartworm bites your cat, and these immature stages can develop to become large worms in the heart and vessels of the lungs. Signs of heartworm in cats are varying from case to case, but most cases include sudden death. Ask your veterinarian about the likelihood of heartworm disease in your area.
Other parasites that display similar symptoms as worms are:
Coccidium is an organism that can live in your cat’s intestines that is sometimes ingested through raw or undercooked meat, including rodents. Be sure to clean their litter tray daily, as it takes one to two days for faeces to become infectious. Symptoms can include diarrhoea, nausea, weight loss and loss of appetite.
Toxoplasmosis is a multisystemic parasite that can also be dangerous to humans. Symptoms can include nonspecific signs, such as for instance fever and loss of appetite, as well as ocular lesions, difficulty in breathing and diarrhoea.
It’s a no-brainer, but your cat must be immunized to protect her from harmful, sometimes fatal, disease.
Immunizing your cat
As most cats are adequately vaccinated against major infectious diseases, many feline diseases are relatively uncommon. But failing to immunize your cat not only puts her at risk, but also all other cats in your area and even the wild cat population.
All cats must be immunized against the ‘big three’ diseases.
Together, these three vaccinations are commonly known as ‘flu and enteritis’.
Vaccination is also recommended against the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV), which affects the immune protection system and is usually fatal.
Vaccinations start at nine weeks, with a second vaccine follow up three to four weeks later. Annually booster injections are necessary to make sure continuing immunity.
Being prepared for little accidents can be an important part of caring for your cat. Just as with ourselves, having a well-stocked first aid kit at the ready can help you deal with an emergency. We recommend keeping a Cat First Aid Kit handy. Make sure that everybody else in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labelled and easy to carry.
Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:
The contact number of your veterinary and the number of your local Emergency 24 hour hospital (If you are unsure if there is a “24 hour” vet in your area just ask your vet). If your cat has an accident, that you do not want to waste precious minutes looking for the phone number.
• Photocopies of your cats medical records and a copy of their microchip/ identification paperwork.
• If your cat needs to take medication we suggest to keep supply of their medication in the kit (Remember, medications need to be rotated out of your First Aid kit-otherwise they could go bad or become useless).
• Blunt-ended scissors
• Bandages (2. 5cm and 5cm wide) – you can ask your vet for these as products designed for cats are more suitable than human products.
• Gauze rolls and pads
• Adhesive tape.
• Sterile eye wash and eye lubricant (available at your vet clinic)
• Saline water to wash out any wounds
• Sterile water-based lubricant (such as KY® Jelly) – helps hold fur far from wound
• An old towel or blanket
It can also be a good idea to have a supplementary kit to keep in your car. Even though being prepared is a great idea, remember that if your cat has any illness or injury must you must consult your vet.
To help prevent health concerns in your cat, you should get into the habit of checking your cat regularly for any changes or signs of illness. When checking your cat, it’s important to be vigilant as your cat can’t tell you if they are feeling unwell. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your vet right away.
To help keep your cat healthy, we’ve put together an easy to follow checklist.
Cat first aid
Should you and your cat ever be confronted with a life threatening situation,
knowing how to administer emergency first aid is vital in those first few minutes.
What to do in emergency situations
If your cat is injured or has an unexpected medical emergency, you need to be able to act quickly and effectively. Knowing how to act in different situations may mean the difference between life and death.
How to handle an injured cat:
Car accidents or serious fall
Symptoms include drooling, severe vomiting, diarrhoea, staggering, convulsions and abnormal eye movements.
Scalds and burns
As soon as you pull your cat from the water, check if she is conscious. If she is, wrap her in a towel and keep warm.
Insect bites and stings
Problems with choking
Remember, if you feel that your cat may be unwell, it is advisable to look for warning signs and take her to a vet. Your cat’s health may depend on it.
Cat resuscitation is a similar process to resuscitating a human.
Learn the six steps to resuscitate your cat. See link just below here.
Artificial respiration maintains the essential supply of oxygen to the blood if your cat stops breathing. If you’ve ever performed resuscitation on a human, it’s very similar.
In most cases, artificial respiration will serve only as a means of keeping a cat alive until the arrival of medical professionals.
Follow these steps to resuscitate your cat
1 . Listen for your cat’s heart beat by placing two fingers over the heart. This is located on the left side behind the front leg and shoulder.
2. Remove the collar and place your cat on her side. Tilt the head to allow blood to flow to the brain.
3. Clear any blood or vomit from the mouth.
4. Pull the tongue forwards to open up the throat. This could stimulate your cat to breathe and she may possibly regain consciousness.
5. If your cat is still unconscious, press very gently down on the chest with thumbs and fingertips. Allow the lungs to refill with fresh air. Repeat every five seconds until your pet starts to breathe.
6. If there is no sign of life after 30 seconds, decide to try mouth-to-nose respiration. Tilt right back your cat’s head, contain the mouth shut and blow short gentle breaths into both nostrils for three seconds to inflate the lungs. Be careful not to over inflate the lungs.
7. Pause for two seconds and repeat.
8. Continue until your cat starts breathing.
9. Never leave an unconscious cat lying on one side for more than 10 minutes. It’s important to keep turning the cat or her lungs could become congested, increasing the risk of pneumonia.
It’s important to talk to your vet as soon as your cat shows indicators of heart problems or difficulty breathing. Find out what else you ought to do in a cat emergency.
Treating shock in cats
Shock, combined with injury, is often complicated and contradictory. It’s best to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible for professional medical treatment.
How to treat shock.
People often think shock is a feeling of distress or alarm. In medical terms, the definition is much more serious. Going into shock means a lack of blood circulating around your body and can be fatal. If you suspect your cat is going into shock, contact your vet immediately.
What to do
If you can’t get to a vet
Cats are very good at hiding illnesses so you should check your cat regularly for just about any early warning signs for cat health problems that might indicate an underlying issue. You can keep a monthly health checklist at home.
One of the biggest health concerns amongst cat owners is often the urinary tract health of their cat. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a serious condition which if left untreated can result in serious illness and sometimes death.
Cat hair loss can also be a sign of a under lying health problem
and cat dehydration is a common problem in a hot summer.
If your cat is very unwell, sometimes the most the humane (but often very painful decision) is to put your cat to sleep. Read our article on how to say goodbye at this often difficult time.
The warm weather of spring and summer are usually a time when pet owners turn their attention to fleas, but what you might not realize is that by continuing your flea prevention throughout the entire year you can actually help reduce the likelihood of a flea outbreak when the sun finally decides to come out from behind the clouds during spring and summer.
The warm and humid weather is a flea’s favorite time of year and they can be a tough enemy to fight if their population has been slowly multiplying throughout the winter months. The adult flea can even survive for up to a year without feeding on an animal.
With six strong legs capable of leaping, it’s easy for fleas to move around but also to hide in your dog or cat’s fur, your carpet, bed sheets, in cushions, soft furnishings as well as in house plants. Female adult fleas live and lay eggs on your pet. These eggs then fall off and remain protected in the dirt, cracks and crevices of your house, in pets bedding or in your carpet, where they hatch into larvae.
The flea larvae feed on debris and develop into pupae, which can lay dormant for up to 3 months (that’s the whole of winter! ). Once the right environmental conditions appear they hatch in to new adults in as little as 19 days in warm and humid weather, and start feeding and reproducing.
So what can you do?
Firstly, it’s important to treat your pets and their environment all year round to prevent fleas. Just because you can’t see the fleas does not mean they aren’t there. ‘Flea dirt’ or flea droppings are detected easier than the flea itself and may be seen on the skin over the rump and back – they look like black specks of dirt.
Another way to check for fleas is to comb through your cat’s coat onto a white sheet or piece of paper that is moist – when wet, flea droppings turn red because they contain the blood ingested by the flea as it feeds.
Symptoms of scratching, inflammation (reddening of the skin) and dry, scruffy patches within the base of the tail are also signs that fleas are most likely present.
Fleas can also spread tapeworm which can then be transmitted to humans. And that means you must treat your cat regularly with a TOTAL CARE Worming paste or tablets. Many different brands can be found by clicking here…
Step 1: Treating and preventing fleas.Merial Frontline has numerous products available to control fleas on your cat.
• Flea powder for cats can be applied once or twice a week to the environment (such as bedding)
• Flea control collars for cats can control adult fleas for up to 5 months.
• Spot-On Flea Control for Cats and Kittens is a 3 monthly treatment and very easy to use. This product kills the larval stages in the pet’s surroundings and also contain an insect growth regulator (IGR) to control all environmental lifestages
Remember never use a flea product designed for dogs on your own cat, the effects can be serious.
Step 2: Controlling Fleas off your pet
With many cats living solely indoors treating of your pets environment is crucial in preventing a flea infestation as the majority of the flea population (95%) exists as eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment. This may include in the dirt, cracks or crevices of your house, in your pet’s bedding or in your carpet. Here is a list of products that can be useful when dealing with a flea infestation in your home:
• Flea bombs, foggers and mists for your house, which contain insect growth regulators (IGR’s) and will provide up to 12 months protection. These can be purchased from supermarkets. Please make certain you cat is removed from the surroundings when using these products.
• Yard sprays or rinses can be applied to specific areas in the home and outside, including kennels & most contain insect growth regulators. These can be purchased from many hardware stores
Use with CARE:
Some insecticides are poisons and product labels should be strictly adhered to. Young, sick, pregnant and nursing animals may be more sensitive to flea treatments, so please consult your veterinarian prior to using a flea treatment.
KEY POINTS to remember.
• Never use a dog flea product on a cat. Many flea products for dogs are toxic to cats e. g. permethrin (check the label)
• Some products cannot be used in kittens under 3 – 4 months of age
• Natural alternatives are available -they can still be toxic and may not be as effective
• Remember to treat all pets in the household at the same time
• Regular grooming and washing of your pet’s bedding is also important
Paralysis ticks and cats
When Dr Joanne Righetti found her cat Leo sitting quietly at the bottom of the garden one Sunday morning, she knew something was wrong. She scooped him up and he flopped in her arms, she put him down and he fell over breathing heavily. Dr Jo didn’t even stop to check on for ticks, as she was familiar with spotting the observable symptoms of ticks, she just knew. Leo was rushed to a veterinary hospital where they found and removed two Paralysis Ticks that were buried deep under his mane of hair.
Dr Lisa Chimes admitted him for medical care and he had his entire coat shaved off just to make sure no other deadly, blood-sucking parasites were lurking underneath. Leo was lucky – he remained in hospital for three days and made a full-recovery.
How do something so small be so deadly?
Sadly, not all animals are as fortunate as Leo. Not only may be the paralysis tick one of the most common, it’s also one of the most dangerous. Paralysis ticks can lead to an animal needing to be ventilated and sadly many victims of these ticks do not recover. Paralysis ticks are external parasites that suck the blood from their host animal and it’s their salivary glands that produce the toxin that affects the nervous system on the host.
Once paralysis does occur the animal is likely to die unless it is treated quickly with anti-tick serum injected with a vet. It still takes 48 hours for the toxin to be removed so your cat can continue steadily to deteriorate during this time.
How to spot the signs of tick poisoning
If your cat has come into contact with a paralysis tick they will experience paralysis in a variety of forms. A typical case will start with a weakness in the hindquarters that may then progress to total paralysis of all four legs. Other early symptoms may include the following:
• Difficulty breathing
• Loss of appetite
• Vomiting or dry retching
• Excessive salivation
• Difficulty swallowing
• Noisy panting
Where are paralysis ticks found?
Ticks need humidity and mild weather to develop and aren’t in a position to survive in cold climates.
How can I prevent my cat coming into connection with them?
If your cat likes to spend time outdoors, there’s no way to prevent them from coming into contact with ticks, so the best way to protect your cat is to check them daily. Begin with their head and remember that you’re more likely to feel the tick than see it, so make sure you use your hands.
Check inside your cat’s ears and under their chin and around their throat. Move down leading legs and check in between their toes. Feel along their body making sure to test their belly, and then check down their back legs and in between their toes. Inspect your cat’s genital region as ticks can sometimes be found there and finish with their tail.
Want to find out more?
Why not watch our video on paralysis ticks.
Indicators for cat health problems.
Check your cat regularly for almost any early warning signs that might indicate an underlying health problem.
Just how to tell if your cat is sick?
Cats are very good at hiding illnesses and tend to shy away from contact if they’re feeling under the weather. Keep an eye open for the tell-tale signs of common health problems and complete a monthly health checklist at home. If you do notice such a thing out of the ordinary, contact your vet immediately.
The warning signs
• General lethargy: If your cat isn’t her normal self, take a closer look. Like humans, cats can just look unwell and a trip to the vet is a good idea if symptoms persist.
• Repeated vomiting, gagging or nausea: Occasionally vomiting hairballs or grass is quite normal. But persistent sickness or choking when eating can be a sign of illness, such a kidney infection.
• Refusal to consume for over 24 hours: If your cat refuses food for a day or more, consult your vet.
• Diarrhea: If your cat has persistent diarrhoea that lasts for longer than 48 hours, visit your vet. When possible, take a stool sample with you.
• Difficulty urinating: If your cat is constipated, crying when urinating or has blood in the urine, she may have Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. This is a common condition, particularly for males, and certainly will become life threatening if not treated early
• Progressive weight loss: If your cat appears to lose weight progressively over two to four weeks, or shows a slow but steady weight loss over a longer period, consult your vet.
• Excessive thirst or urination: Unusually excessive thirst and frequent urination can be a sign of feline diabetes or other medical conditions.
• Itchy, flaking skin: Your cat’s skin must certanly be smooth, and pink or black. Persistent itching and signs of dermatitis could indicate an allergic reaction, particularly to fleabites.
• Red or swollen gums: Reddened or swollen gums, particularly when connected with bad breath, are an indication of gum disease. When severe, cats may lose teeth, drop food from their mouths and suffer weight loss due to difficulty eating.
• Runny eyes or nose: Sneezing, panting, runny eyes and nose, gasping or shortness of breath could be signs of respiratory problems.
Proactively checking for cat health problems is an excellent way to keep track of your cat’s human anatomy condition.
Cat Hair Loss.
Hair loss in cats can be a sign of a number of different medical conditions. Consult your vet if you’re unsure why your cat is losing her hair.
Finding the cause of cat hair loss
If your cat is losing hair, it could be due to a number of reasons including ringworm, fungal skin infections, hormonal problems and infestations of fleas or mites.
Hair loss also can result from something as simple as excessive grooming. This can be spotted when a cat starts to lose hair, especially on the belly, the back and inside her back legs.
Cat hair loss treatment
See your vet for a thorough physical examination. This may involve taking skin scrapings, blood tests and hair samples for testing.
Firstly, your vet will look for parasitic infestations and discuss a flea treatment regime. If this isn’t the cause, your vet may need to investigate further.
If there are any behavioral reasons for your cat’s hair loss, you will need evidence. For example , in the event that you notice the warning signs that your cat is stressed and anxious, keep a diary of times and specific circumstances when hair licking and pulling takes place. Your vet will then decide whether or not you need to change something in your cat’s environment or she needs anti-anxiety medication.
One of the biggest health concerns amongst cat owners is usually the urinary tract health of their cat, know as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This is a serious condition, which if left untreated can result in illness and sometimes death.
Often there is not one single reason why a cat will develop FLUTD, as it is commonly a combination of many factors that culminate in this disease. Factors can include obesity, stress of any kind, too much acidity or alkalinity of the urine, dehydration or a diet high in magnesium or other minerals. In some cases the cause is never discovered.
They are many warning signs to consider which may include:
• Prolonged squatting or straining in or out of the litter box(some owners may confuse this with signs of constipation)
• Frequent urination or straining and only producing a small amount
• Pain while urinating (meowing or howling)
• Urinating outside of the litter box
• Blood in the urine
• Frequent licking of the genital area
Diet can be one contributing factor in FLUTD cases, with research showing that feeding your cat a specifically formulated diet can help to maintain urinary tract health.
Urinary track health formulations are available in our store.
Want to find out more? Watch this FLUTD video.
Putting your cat to sleep
Saying goodbye to a family member is always hard, but remember that it may be the only humane option in cases of serious disease.
It’s a heartbreaking thought but euthanizing your cat is something you might have to consider when faced with a deterioration of quality of life, or severe or dangerous behavior.
Putting your cat to sleep is always difficult and intensely personal. Unless there is a serious urgency such as an un-treatable injury or illness, you will probably have time to examine your options and talk to family and friends. Ultimately the decision is yours but remember do what’s right for your pet’s comfort.
The procedure is quick and moreover absolutely painless. Your vet will administer a measured overdose of anaesthetic, as well as your cat will quickly slip into a deep and permanent sleep without discomfort or distress. Some owners choose to have their pets cremated and keep carefully the ashes in a particular container.
Grieving is a normal, healthy reaction and if necessary, you may want to take off a few days from work. Remember that putting your cat to sleep is the final kindness you can offer. It allows your pet to expire gently and with dignity.
Time, of course, is the great healer. Creating a memorial might help, like holding a little remembrance service in your garden or planting a tree or plant.
It could also help to talk to, or read books written by, those who have experienced a loss or who have professional trained in this area.
Indicators for cat health problems
Check your cat regularly for any early warning signs that might indicate an underlying health problem.
How to tell if your cat is sick
Cats are very good at hiding illnesses and tend to shy away from contact if they’re feeling under the weather. Keep an eye open for the tell-tale signs of common health problems and complete a monthly health checklist at home. Should you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your vet immediately.
General lethargy: If your cat isn’t her normal self, take a closer look. Like humans, cats can just look unwell and a trip to the vet is a good idea if symptoms persist.
Repeated vomiting, gagging or sickness: Occasionally vomiting hairballs or grass is quite normal. However , persistent sickness or choking when eating can be a sign of illness, such a kidney infection.
Refusal to consume for over 24 hours: If your cat refuses food for a day or more, consult your vet.
Diarrhoea: If your cat has persistent diarrhea that lasts for longer than 48 hours, visit your vet. If possible, have a stool sample with you.
Difficulty urinating: If your cat is constipated, crying when urinating or has blood in the urine, she may have Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. This is a common condition, particularly for males, and can become life threatening if not treated early
Progressive weight loss: If your cat appears to lose weight progressively over two to four weeks, or shows a slow but steady weight loss over a longer period, consult your vet.
Excessive thirst or urination: Unusually excessive thirst and frequent urination can be a sign of feline diabetes or other medical conditions.
Itchy, flaking skin: Your cat’s skin should be smooth, and pink or black. Persistent itching and signs of dermatitis could indicate an allergic reaction, particularly to fleabites.
Red or swollen gums: Reddened or swollen gums, particularly when associated with bad breath, are an indication of gum disease. When severe, cats may lose teeth, drop food from their mouths and suffer weight loss due to difficulty eating.
Runny eyes or nose: Sneezing, panting, runny eyes and nose, gasping or shortness of breath may be signs of respiratory problems.
Proactively checking for cat health issues is an excellent way to keep track of your cat’s body condition.