If 2021 was a hectic year, your cat probably felt it too. Now is the perfect time for you both to de-stress and focus on wellbeing. Our Head Vet, Emma Fisher, has some proactive advice for helping your cat get their ‘mojo’ back and enjoy the year ahead.
Booking a visit with our fully qualified veterinary nurses in between your cat’s annual vaccination and vet health check, is a great way to assess how they are doing. Our Staines-upon-Thames nurses can advise you on ways to boost your cat’s health and mood.
Stroking and brushing your cat’s fur has health benefits for the both of you, thanks to its calming and soothing nature. Cats do love to groom themselves but most will enjoy a little extra help, and will appreciate dirt, debris, and matted hair being removed.
Plus, a cat grooming session is the ideal opportunity for the two of you to bond, and for you to check for lumps, bumps, and fleas. You will need a cat grooming brush and/or grooming glove, and a flea comb.
How often you groom your cat depends on the length of their coat – long-haired cats need grooming daily, whereas shorter coats will be fine with a weekly brush.
Remember, we’re always on the end of the phone should you spot anything concerning whilst grooming your cat. Call us on 01753 316081.
Cat enrichment & exercise
Providing sources of mental stimulation and enrichment is important for your cat’s wellbeing too. Bored cats can become unhappy and start to develop behavioural issues.
Cat grooming is one form of enrichment, but you should also include some more energetic options. Our cat-loving nurses have pulled together six enrichment ideas that will get your cat moving more, as we all know exercise is good for the body and mind.
Try these ideas:
- Make mealtimes more interesting with cat puzzle feeders, or hide dry kibble around your home.
- Buy toys that help your cat use their natural predator instincts, like ‘prey’ on the end of string, or moving toys they can chase.
- Make DIY toys out of cardboard boxes, tubes, string, and other household items.
- Teach them tricks – this will take patience, perseverance, and treats!
- Scratching posts give cats something to do and help keep their nails trim.
- Try making an obstacle course or a cat home gym – just search YouTube for lots of ideas.
Another way to make your cat happy and healthy is to feed them a good quality, nutritious diet. With so many different foods out there, it can be difficult to know what to choose. Come and talk to our Vet Nurses in Staines-upon-Thames about the best types of cat food for age, lifestyle, dental care, and many other health needs.
You may have heard the term ‘compulsory cat microchipping’ in the news last year. You may have even popped it on your long list of things to do. In this article, our head vet Emma, explains why making cat microchipping a top priority in 2022 will give you and your cat the best start to the new year.
Compulsory cat microchipping
In spring of last year, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announced that cat microchipping would become compulsory in the UK as part of a larger animal welfare action plan. The move was aimed at making more cats identifiable, in turn helping with issues such as cat thefts, strays, and deceased cats left by the road following traffic accidents.
It’s only a matter of time before this new law starts being enforced and like compulsory dog microchipping, non-compliance will carry a fine of up to £500 – which wouldn’t be a great start to the new year for pet owners in Middlesex!
Important reasons to microchip your cat
Besides avoiding a potential fine, getting your cat microchipped can make all the difference if the unthinkable should happen. Cats go missing for several reasons including:
- Wandering off and getting lost
- ‘Helpful’ passers-by thinking the cat looks lost and taking them to a vet or rescue centre
- Pet theft – which has increased dramatically since the first lockdown
- Road traffic accidents – sadly, not enough drivers stop to report the accident or help the cat.
Emma explains that a microchip can’t prevent your cat from going missing or getting injured; it will however, significantly increase the chances of you being reunited with them. If your cat is found and taken to a vet practice, a rescue centre, or picked up by the local animal warden, these organisations will use a cat microchip scanner to obtain ownership details.
According to a news article in the Hereford Times last year, 60 cats or dogs go missing every hour in the UK. Every year, tens of thousands of cats are reported lost and 25% of those are never reunited with their owners – two large factors in this are:
- Many cats still aren’t microchipped
- For those cats with microchips, some owners forget to update their details if they move house or change phone numbers
At what age should cats be microchipped?
A good time to have your kitten microchipped is during their neutering procedure at around 4 months old, before they venture outdoors. Older cats can be microchipped at any age and it is a quick and harmless procedure. Our experienced vets and nurses can give you more advice on this so please do get in touch.
How much does it cost to microchip a cat in Middlesex? About the same as it would cost you to buy a posh hot chocolate each week for a month.
So, are you ready to get your cat’s new year off to the best start?
You’ve seen the memes with cats stuck in Christmas trees, but what else can go wrong during the festive season when you have cats? Head Vet Emma Fisher, shares common causes of Christmas cat injuries and advises how to avoid them.
Given how curious cats are, it makes sense to keep our number in your phone just in case your cat gets into any bother.
Call 01753 316081 for cat advice
Six common cat concerns at Christmas in Middlesex:
Road traffic accidents
With all the noise and commotion that comes with Christmas, including extra guests at your home, cats often roam outdoors to escape the mayhem. As it gets darker earlier during winter, your cat is more at risk of being hit by a car. Emma recommends fitting your cat with a reflective collar and providing ‘safe spaces’ indoors for your cat to take solace in when it gets too much.
Consuming harmful food & drink
Christmas can be a fun time of year for cats, with tasty morsels of food and leftover drinks all over the place to try. Some items such as pigs in blankets could give your cat an upset stomach, whereas toxic treats like chocolate or mince pies (containing dried fruit) could cause them severe harm. It’s wise to keep food, alcohol, and paracetamol (for the Boxing Day hangover) behind a closed cupboard, pantry, or fridge door and away from curious cats.
Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are festive favourites for many households. Unfortunately for cats, they can cause a variety of health problems ranging from nausea and vomiting, to collapse and seizures. Emma recommends keeping harmful Christmas plants out of reach, or not keeping them at all.
– This substance is highly toxic to cats but tastes sweet (so we hear). Clean up any spills and keep the container somewhere your cat can’t get to it – remember cats can climb!
Christmas tree injuries
Saying cats and Christmas trees don’t mix well is an understatement in some households. Cats love to play with delicate baubles and wires, climb the tree, eat the needles, and rub themselves against the branches – all of which can end badly. Emma has this advice for cat owners:
- Consider choosing an artificial tree – real fir trees produce toxic oils that can harm cats when eaten or absorbed through the skin and eating pine needles can cause a lot of pain.
- Smaller Christmas trees should cause less damage to your cat if they fall over – secure your tree to a wall or ceiling or use a heavy base to steady it.
- Choose shatterproof or soft hanging tree decorations and nothing edible if you have pets.
- Keep wires contained so they don’t look like string to play with to your cat.
- Decorate your tree without your cat in the room and avoid leaving your cat alone with it.
Burns & scalds
Cats can easily get burned or scalded accidentally at Christmas time, with knocked over candles and cooking pans being the common causes. Avoid injuries by keeping candles out of reach, or your cat out of the room, especially the kitchen when you’re cooking.
We hope you found Emma’s advice useful. As always, if you have any concerns about your cat, get in touch with us here at Travel Vet in Staines-upon-Thames.
When the days and nights start getting colder, the veterinary team at our Spout Lane North practice recommend bringing your cat to see us for a pre-winter health check, to make sure they’re in tip-top condition.
Autumn is a good time to make sure vaccinations and parasite treatments are up to date and nip any emerging problems in the bud, to avoid them worsening during the colder months. After all, it’s a time when we’re all at our most vulnerable.
So, what will we look out for at your cat’s pre-winter health check?
1) Vaccinations and parasite prevention
The first thing we’ll do when you attend a pre-winter health check is to review the basics by weighing your cat and checking their vaccinations and parasite treatments are up to date.
2) Weight and body condition
If it’s appropriate, we may have a chat with you about making sure you don’t end up with an overweight cat. As temperatures fall, it’s tempting (and natural) for us all to eat more food (back in the day because we needed more energy in winter but now…) for comfort and warmth. Also, nowadays, treats typically become more frequent in the approach to Christmas. Your cat might eat up to 25% more food during this time than they would in other seasons.
3) Common cat health conditions
If you have an older cat, arthritis can strike during cold weather. Poor vision can also be an issue, especially as the nights draw in. But at any age, we can give your cat a thorough examination to spot signs of anything that may require treatment or extra care.
Like vaccinations, a seasonal check-up is a great opportunity to make sure your pet has no dental concerns. Extra treats and other rich food over winter might pose a greater threat than usual so it’s a good idea to get ahead of any issues.
If there’s anything else that worries you about your cat during autumn and winter in Middlesex, please don’t hesitate to speak to Helen, our head nurse, or any of our team; we’ll refer you to one of our friendly Vets if we feel that more attention is required.
The natural behaviour of cats can be hilarious, mischievous, loving and annoying in equal measure, as any owner will testify. You only have to look at YouTube or Instagram to see how they amuse and frustrate with their antics.
Whilst we sit back and enjoy the entertainment, every cat lover should ensure their pet stays in peak condition with a regular check-up. If your cat has not seen a vet for a while then why not contact us on 01753 316081 to book an appointment now?
In the meantime, we’d love to see the fun your cat gets up to. So, we’re inviting you to check-out our list of Ten Truths every cat owner will know below, and share a pic of them living one of these truths on our Facebook page.
- You can have a cat, or houseplants. Not both.
- You just have to accept that your sofa is now a scratching post. That’s never going to change.
- The one day you walk downstairs barefoot will be the day the cat has left a furball for you to tread on.
- If the cat falls asleep on you, you can’t move until it wakes. However long that takes.
- When you’re sound asleep, your feet are fair game.
- Cats will always prefer the box to the toy.
- They won’t often have a mad five minutes, but when they do it’ll be loud. And at 3am when the whole house is asleep!
- You no longer have your own food, just what the cat lets you eat.
- When they need to vomit, they’ll do it on your most prized possession.
- It doesn’t matter how naughty or destructive they’ve been, you’ll always forgive them – and never stop loving them.
Obviously, the above also applies to kittens, only with extra helpings of cuteness.
If you have a new addition to the household, you can make an appointment to register it with Travel Vet on 01753 316081. Let’s get a check-up booked in to make sure those endearing moments don’t get interrupted by an unexpected health issue.