FAQ's for Cats

How often will my cat come into season?

Female cats become sexually mature at around six months of age and will come into season every fourteen to twenty-one days between February and September, although with milder weather it can happen all year round.

My cat has flu. Will I catch it?

Cat flu is a syndrome which affects the upper respiratory tract and eyes. It can be caused by two different viruses and one small bacterium, but these are specific to the cat and so you can't catch cat flu, or the cat catch human flu or human colds.

What happens if my pet gets sick during the night?

All vets must offer a 24 hour emergency service for their own clients either themselves or through a neighbouring practice with which they have an agreement, or through a dedicated emergency service locally with which they have an agreement. So if you need veterinary advice at any time, ring your own practice and they will answer the phone or have a message on whom else to contact in an emergency.

My friend suggested I get some catnip for my cat. What exactly is it? I am worried that it is some kind of drug.

Catnip is a herb which can be found in many cat toys that cats like and which makes them go doolali! This is probably, at least partly, a drug effect. How safe is it - we don't know, but it is in very common use and we don't know of any bad reports so it's up to you if you want to give it to your cat.

Should I give my cat milk?

Cats and dogs cannot digest lactose which is found in milk and as a result may develop wind and diarrhoea; this is why milk is unsuitable for your pet. There are a few alternatives to milk, but as part of a balanced diet, a complete cat food and water are perfectly adequate

I read somewhere that cats should not be fed only biscuits as it this is not a complete diet. My vet recommended a dry food. Which is right?

Many dry foods are complete diets. It will say on the packet that it is 'complete'. This is not the same as 'complementary'. Free access to water is the only additional thing you must offer if on a dry complete food. Many "biscuits" in the past were a 'complementary' diet (or mixer) and designed to be fed with tinned food. This is probably where the confusion arises.

My cat keeps scratching. I haven't seen any fleas. Should I still treat him?

Cats can scratch for many different reasons and fleas is probably the most common one, so it is sensible to treat for fleas even if you haven't seen them at any time of the year. However if you are going to treat for fleas, use a product that works very effectively and is very safe. It is also necessary to use a household spray as statistically only 5% of fleas live on the cat and 95% are in the home.

Contact your vet about effective flea control.

My cat's mouth smells. Can I get breath freshener tablets for him?

If your cat's mouth smells, then get it seen by your vet because periodontal disease is the most common cause of halitosis. See our Dentistry Factsheet for more information.

I have just bought a Persian cat. My friend said I will need to groom him daily. I thought cats groomed themselves.

The best way to keep dog's nails the right length is to give them plenty of exercise (health permitting). Exercise in fields makes them quite sharp and road work smoothes them off. It is normal to hear nails clicking on the road or otherwise they wouldn't wear down. This means that most dogs' nails are not too long and don't need clipping. Take advice before clipping nails as it can be very painful and will bleed if you get near the quick.

My new puppy keeps scratching his ears. Should I worry?

New puppies and kittens often are infected with ear mites, which can cause your pet to scratch its ears. It can be treated quite easily by your vet so ask about this at your first vaccination.

How often should I worm my pets?

Some canine worm eggs can infect people, but the eggs need to mature so it isn't the dog itself which is dangerous but where it has been to the toilet if this has not been cleaned up. Worming dogs is for public health reasons and poop scooping is essential in your own garden and in public places. Worms can also affect puppies and kittens as well as adult cats and dogs, and as a general rule, all dogs and cats should be wormed every three months. Puppies and kittens will need worming more often and make sure you use an effective and safe wormer that protects against lung worm found in slugs, snails and grass as if left undetected can be fatal (cannot be passed on to humans) lives in the major blood vessels that supply blood to the lungs and heart.

Ask your vet about that.