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.

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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