Kitten to Cat Summer Newsletter

Welcome to our Summer 2013 newsletter.  In this edition welcome new staff members Amy and Heather and talk about Insurance!

There is also a voucher for 10% off any food, litter or toys on your next visit so be sure to print it out and bring it with you.

Click here for a PDF copy of the newsletter.

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Kitten to Cat Spring Newsletter

Welcome to our Spring 2012 newsletter.  In this edition:

  • We welcome new staff member Eva
  • Luxury Boarding Reopened!
  • Back by popular demand: a behavior talk by renowned feline behavioural expert Francesca Riccomini
  • Acupuncture at Kitten to Cat
  • A happy ending for Max, the gorgeous Maine Coon

Click here for a PDF copy of the newsletter

VIDEO BLOG Part 4 of 4: Feline Wellness from Kitten to Cat

Denise Morris, Head Nurse at Kitten to Cat gave an informative and entertaining talk recently at the London Pet Show in Kensington.  For those who missed it here are some clips from the talk.  Sorry about the amateur camera work! In case you can’t see the video the key points are summarised below.

Part 4: Stress Free Visits to the Vets

A trip to the vets is often the most stressful parts of a cat’s life.  But it doesn’t need to be.

Kitten to Cat is a cat only veterinary clinic that was specially designed to reduce stress for cats.  Less stressed patients mean problems are detected earlier, your kitty recovers better from operations and it is just a more enjoyable experience for everyone.  To make the environment as cat friendly as possible we use longer consult times to give your kitty time to adjust and leave her carrier on her own terms, feline pheromones, larger cages with shelves and places to hide and other techniques developed by our cat loving staff.  Of course the main stress factor at vets is the sight and smell of dogs, and at Kitten to Cat this is not an issue.

If you can’t make it to a cat only vets then there are still plenty of things to reduce your kitty’s stress levels.  These include:

  • Leave the carrier down in the room overnight, or ideally permanently so it is a familiar piece of furniture from the home and not mistaken for a scary torture box that comes out once a year.
  • Use a top loader cat carrier.  At the start of the consult place the carrier on the floor and see if your cat comes out on her own.  If not then open the top of the carrier to make extraction easier.
  • Use Feliway(TM) spray in the carrier and in your car 15 mins before leaving.
  • Ask your vets about cat only appointment times, and if they don’t do these then at least get the first appointment time so there is less chance of them running late and your kitty being stuck in the waiting room with barking dogs.

I hope you enjoyed these videos.  Feel free to call or email us if you ever have any questions about your cat’s health or reducing stress.

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Mother Cat Hugs Her Kitten

This is too cute

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VIDEO BLOG Part 3 of 4: Feline Wellness from Kitten to Cat

Denise Morris, Head Nurse at Kitten to Cat gave an informative and entertaining talk recently at the London Pet Show in Kensington.  For those who missed it here are some clips from the talk.  Sorry about the amateur camera work! In case you can’t see the video the key points are summarised below.

Part 3: The Golden Oldie: Senior & Geriatric Cats

This talk covers common health and behavioural issues seen in cats over 7 years of age.

At this stage you should be seeing the vets 4 times per year.  This is because, like in adults, health can deteriorate very quickly and the early onset of problems is often not perceptible to the untrained eye.  Even some diseases such as kidney disease do not show any “clinical signs” until very late in its development and by the time you notice any outward changes over 75% of the kidney function will have been irreparably lost.  Kidney disease can be detected through a simple unobtrusive urine test, followed by a blood test if the test gives the vets cause for concern.  If you only see your vet once a year then ask for a geriatric profile to screen for these kinds of common conditions.

A common mistake to make with older cats is to put down changes in behaviour as the natural result of aging. These include:

  • Drinking more than usual.  Often a sign of kidney disease or hyperthyroidism.
  • Deteriorating coat condition
  • Poor teeth
  • Not jumping as high as he used to
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Inappropriate urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Wandering aimlessly in the night randomly meowing – often a sign of feline dementia which can be managed successfully.

Often this is a sign of a medical problem and almost always it can be treated or at least managed through supplements, diet change, pain relief etc to give your older gentleman a better quality of life that he deserves after bringing you so many years of happiness.  Even some feline cancers are routinely treated often with successful outcomes, so don’t just put these changes down to “getting old” and if you see any changes at all in your older cat take him to the vets immediately.

In our next and final video blog Denise will share some tips on making your cat’s visit to the vets less stressful.

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VIDEO BLOG Part 2 of 4: Feline Wellness from Kitten to Cat

Denise Morris, Head Nurse at Kitten to Cat gave an informative and entertaining talk recently at the London Pet Show in Kensington.  For those who missed it here are some clips from the talk.  Sorry about the amateur camera work! In case you can’t see the video the key points are summarised below.

Part 2: The Feisty Feline – Caring for Your Adult Cat

An adult cat is 3-6 years.  That’s 28-40 in human terms.

A lot of your cat’s adult life is spent sleeping!!

At this stage you should be visiting your vets twice a year for vaccinations, flea and wormers and a general health check.  This is generally a time of good health so your cat’s weight should be stable.  It’s very important to be on the look-out for any change in weight as this is really significant and often a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Diet, obesity and dental care are all important health issues during this stage.   Obesity in particular is common and leads to the same problems as in humans and predisposes your adult cat to diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

Also be on the look-out for problems urinating. For little boys in particular Cystitis can be a fast moving and deadly problem.

Behavioural issues to consider:

  • Have one more litter tray than you do cats.
  • In multi-cat households separate the litter trays.
  • Separate the food and water bowls.
  • Be on the look-out for subtle signs of bullying such as going to the toilet outside the litter tray, or if one cat walks out of the room when another walks in.

Failure to address these behavioural issues can cause stress related disorders such as idiopathic cystitis and small changes in your home environment can make a huge difference.

In our next video blog Denise will talk about the “Golden Oldie” or geriatric cat.

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VIDEO BLOG Part 1 of 4: Feline Wellness from Kitten to Cat

Denise Morris, Head Nurse at Kitten to Cat gave an informative and entertaining talk recently at the London Pet Show in Kensington.  For those who missed it here are some clips from the talk.  Sorry about the amateur camera work! In case you can’t see the video the key points are summarised below.

Part 1: The Cute Kitten – Caring for Your Young Kitten

A “kitten” is under 6 months (or 10 in human years).  A “junior cat” is 7m-2yrs (or 12-24 human years)

This is a fun and exciting time but the things you need to remember to ensure your kitten has the best possible stress free life are:

  • Vaccinations
  • Parasite control
  • Neutering & Micro-chipping.  At Kitten to Cat we recommend these be done at the same time. Micro-chipping, whilst very important if your adventurous kitty every strays too far from home, involves an intrusive body piercing as the chip is implanted under the skin so we always like to do this while your kitty is already under anaesthetic for neutering.
  • Diet
  • Grooming and claw clipping.  At Kitten to Cat we recommend starting from a young age to get your kitty used to having her claws clipped so this is not a problem later in life.
  • Insurance.

Common medical problems we see at this stage:

  • Congenital Defects
  • Infectious Diseases (although routine vaccinations cover most of the common nasties)
  • Parasitic infections
  • Accident/Injury

Behavioural issues to be aware of at this stage:

  • Scent marking and scratching.  These are natural instincts.  We should not try to prevent them from doing this as this can lead to stress related problems, but rather guide them to do it somewhere other than your new leather sofa.  A large suitable scratching post next to where she sleeps should do the trick.
  • Neutering is very important as it reduces the urge to scratch and scent.
  • Aggression.  Do not play games with your hand and feet.  Avoid hand glove toys as this encourages your kitty to attack your hands.  Use toys that are as natural as possible.

Our next blog post “Feisty Feline” will deal with adult cats aged 3-6 years.

UK Referendum Explained for Cats

Finally!!! an explanation of the proposed voting changes that makes sense.  Very funny.

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Cats Quote Charlie Sheen

OK, so I think what is going on with Charlie Sheen is very sad and he clearly has problems … however … I couldn’t help but smile at these:

From The Original Cat’s Quote Charlie Sheen

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Penguin’s Story



Author: Denise Morris, Veterinary Nurse and Practice Manager at Kitten to Cat Veterinary Clinic

Whether it is reuniting lost cats with their owners or finding a new home for stray kittens and cats there is no better feeling than the joy it brings with each success story. It all started with our infamous little Betsy almost three years ago as we opened. The cat who was microchipped but we could not trace her owners, despite all the investigative efforts. Since then there have been two litters of little fur babies and a few more stories but Penguins story is a little more complicated than the rest……….

A little black and white bundle of fur was brought into us through a close friend of the surgery. She had been hanging around the basement of a local hospital and one member of staff in particular was rather worried about the little one and how she was living. One of the ladies friends happened to be one of our regular visitors to the clinic and suggested that we could check her for a microchip, and so her story began.

Her first check over revealed that we had a little girl with no microchip. Unfortunately she was underweight and her body condition made it difficult to try and give her an approximate age. This wasn’t the only unusual thing about our little furry friend. She also appeared to have a problem with her hind legs in that they were not completely separated (see diagram below). This physical abnormality meant that her ability to walk, run and jump was slightly impaired and that is how she came by her name!

It was thought that Penguin’s abnormality could be congenital or happened as a result of an early injury. She had the best little nature in the world and was completely ravenous when first arriving with us. We administered worm and flea treatment and made the decision to wait and see if anyone came forward as her owner. Seven days passed and nobody had enquired after her.

The problem with her hind legs meant that her muscles were not being used and therefore not developing well. As time went on she put on weight and the decision was made to take her to surgery giving her full use of those legs. As we had no idea how old she was or what had happened to her in the past we took a sample of blood to check the function of her liver and kidneys before going ahead with the surgery. She was the most cooperative little patient and never complained at anything. These tests revealed that her little kidneys were not functioning as good as they should be at this point and further investigation was required.

For the surgery we put a little intravenous catheter in and placed her on intravenous fluids to help support her kidneys through the general anaesthetic. When anaesthetised all her fur around the surgical area had to be removed. This revealed a large area of scar tissue which lead us to believe that this physical abnormality was as the result of burns. We were all devastated to discover that little penguin had gone through so much. It was amazing that she had recovered from such horrific injuries with such a beautiful personality. This fact also complicated the surgery somewhat in that making an incision to release the tension left a large open wound that could not be closed with skin available in that area. Nikki had to surgically excise a flap of skin from her chest, twist it round and stitch it in between her legs as a graft (as shown in the photo below).

Before the surgery started Penguin unable to extend hind legs down due to tension

Before the surgery started Penguin unable to extend hind legs down due to tension

3 hours later – Penguin gets full extension of back legs and wound shows the extent of the area of skin taken from the chest area

3 hours later – Penguin gets full extension of back legs and wound shows the extent of the area of skin taken from the chest area

First night after the surgery Penguin came home with me for the weekend so we could keep a really close eye on her. She was confined to a small kennel to prevent much movement. Recovery from this procedure was extensive. There is always a risk with skin graft that the graft will not take to the tissue below and may die off. She had two drains placed in the wound to prevent any fluid build up and these required cleaning twice daily. As with before the procedure she was the perfect patient, allowing us to clean those wound without any fuss and never complaining at all. The first time we had her out walking following the procedure she just stretched and stretched out each back leg as she walked, it was amazing to watch!

1st night after surgery

1st night after surgery

Penguin walking with free legs!!!

Penguin walking with free legs!!!

Full recovery from this procedure took 4 months. The wounds healed beautifully in almost every part of the surgical site, although there were a couple of areas that the little one managed to reach (even with an elizabethian collar on!). Unfortunately as she licked at these areas she made them very red and painful so we had to construct a larger collar and keep that on until these areas healed one hundred percent.

Penguin is now living at home with me, possibly temporarily, possibly permanently depending on how relationships form between my own two furry friends. Penguin meets Bumble and Yuki to follow………..

Penguin Happy in Her New Home

Penguin Happy in Her New Home

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Cat Behaviour Mornings in Surrey

I’ve just found out about two cat behaviour lectures coming up in Woking, Surrey on 20 Feb and 10 April with Amber Batson.

Details of the behaviour lectures can be found here.

We’ve run cat behaviour evenings in the past and had to turn people away because they were so popular. I don’t know Ms Batson personally but I’m sure the lectures will be of interest to cat lovers.

As with humans, stress is the underlying cause of many medical ailments but soiling, scratching and other “human” problems (I say “human” problems because they are not a problem for cats – but rather a natural response to being placed in an unnatural environment) can often be explained by stress. Usually such stress is a result of innocent actions by humans who don’t understand makes their cats tick. For instance, did you know…

  • In the wild cats hunt up to 20 times a day, so it is important to provide mental stimulus with the right kind of toys. Toys such as laser pointers that don’t provide closure emulating a “kill” can cause stress.
  • Cats are territorial and need their own place in the house, and need elevated positions that they can jump up on to watch out for predators to feel safe.
  • Cats never eat and toilet in the same place in the wild. They also feel vulnerable to predators when they are toileting so should have a choice of litter trays placed away from food.
  • The knowledge that another cat comes into the backyard can be a source of stress for indoor cats, even if they don’t come into direct contact.

Although I don’t personally know Ms Batson I’m sure the lectures will be of interest to cat owners.

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Songs for the Kitty Cats

One of the most common questions we here at the clinic is “do you have a play list of songs about cats?”

OK, so no-one has ever asked. 

But regardless here is the Kitty Cat Spotify play list

If you do’t have Spotify, the songs are:

albumcovers2     1. Stray Cat Strut by Stray Cats 

     2. Cats in the Cradle (performed by Johnny Cash)

     3. Honky Cat by Elton John

     4. Cool Cat by Queen

     5. Mean Eyed Cat by Johnny Cash

     6. What’s New Pussy Cat by Tom Jones

     7. Kitten and the Cats by the Blinky Moon Boys

     8. Kitty Kat by Beyonce

     9. Lovecats by the Cure (Muzak version because the Cure’s not on Spotify)

     10. Cool for Cats by Squeeze

     11. Stray Cat Blues by Johnny Winter

     12. The Cat Came Back performed by Trout Fishing in America

     13. Like a Cat by Cyndie Lauper

     14. Cat Scratch Fever by Ted Nugent

     15. Stray Cat Blues performed by Rolling Stones

     16. Cat’s in the Well by Bob Dylan

     17. Look What the Cat Dragged In by Poison

     18. Cat People by David Bowie

     19. Kitty by Presidents of the United States

     20. Cleopatra’s Cat by Spin Doctors

     21. The Cat by Jimmy Smith

     22. The Cat Crept In by Mud

     23. Three Cool Cats by The Coasters

     24. The Ballad of Daykitty by Lou Barlow

     25. Delilah by Queen

In order to to keep the blog accessible to those with parental controls set, I’ve had to exclude some of the kitty gansta rap.  Sorry. Who would have thought there were so many kitty songs??

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Deadly flu also a concern for kittens and cats

With Winter upon us and Swine Flu at pandemic levels, guarding against the flu has become a national obsession.  But did you know that cats are also at risk?

The American Veterinary Medicine Association has updated its advice on the H1N1 virus  citing to two recent cases of cats contracting the deadly Swine Flu.  A few isolated incidents over the pond may seem hardly a cause for concern for UK cat lovers (for the time being ….) however, a more common flu strain called Calicivirus should definitely be.

Swine flu is no joke

Swine flu is no joke

Feline Calicivirus is a virus that infects domestic cats, causing a range of flu like symptoms.  It can occur through direct contact with an infected cat or through a contaminated environment.  The virus can survive for up to a week on infected objects such as floors, bedding, food, water bowls, litter trays and people’s hands/clothing.  Just like flu in humans, common signs include fever, ulcers in the mouth, sneezing and mild conjunctivitis and infected cats may be depressed, lethargic and may be unwilling to eat.

Treatment usually involves supporting the cat while her immune system fights off the virus, using antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and fluids if she is dehydrated and unable to eat. 

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to arm your cat against Calicivirus, the most important being vaccination.  Kittens should be vaccinated from 9 weeks of age and followed up with an annual booster.  This is especially important if your cat goes outdoors.  Most catteries will only accept boarders who are vaccinated – and if they do accept unvaccinated cats then this should raise alarm bells.

Most vets offer vaccinations for calcivirus bundled with protection from some other nasties.  Some will offer direct debit schemes – typically for under £10 a month – which cover all vaccinations and other important preventative health procedures whilst others require you pay for the vaccination as you use them but in either case the procedure is not usually covered by insurance.  Regardless, as anyone who has had to endure the stress and expense of having their cat on fluids with suspected calicivirus will attest, this is money well spent.

As well as keeping up to date with vaccinations you should also ensure your cat’s environment minimises stress and food and water bowls are kept indoors to reduce the risk of infection.

If you have any specific questions about calcivirus you would like answered on this blog please contact us.

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This is the first post on our new blog. The plan is for vets and nurses at Kitten to Cat to write occasionally on the following topics:

  • Cat Health – The serious business of educating cat owners and pet professionals about things like cat behaviour, breeding, kitten care, nutrition, senior cats etc.
  • Kitten to Cat – Stories about life at London’s only cat vets.
  • Meow mix – Like a fur ball on your nice leather sofa, we will take all the feline fluff from the Internet and regurgitate it here for (admittedly mostly our own) amusement.
  • Reviews – Our take on various cat products, services and local businesses of interest to cat lovers.

Hopefully you’ll find some of it interesting.  Please be generous with your comments, questions and suggestions for improvement.

Purrrs from Kitten to Cat


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