Cats can make excellent companions and are wonderful pets. However, with an average lifespan ranging from 15-20 years, owning a cat is a long-term commitment and their needs must be carefully considered.
A cat’s housing needs are simple. Whilst they will usually find a corner that suits them best indoors or outdoors, provide them with a basket, box or chair in a place where they feel safe and protected. Increasingly, people are using cat enclosures for outdoor cats. Placed in a weatherproof area, they keep them safe from neighbourhood cats and protect local wildlife. Indoor cats generally live longer and lead healthier lives.
It is recommended a scratching post be available for your cat to keep their claws in good condition for climbing and defending themselves. This will also reduce the chances of your furniture being scratched.
Cats like to be clean at all times. As a result, cats can easily be toilet trained if a litter tray filled with dry earth, sand, or cat litter is available. The litter tray should be cleaned daily to remove faeces and the litter itself changed frequently. Ensure the litter tray is placed in a quiet and private location. You should have more litter trays than ou do cats as unclean littler trays is a leading source of stress for cats. A good rule of thumb is one litter tray for each cat plus one extra.
All cats need to exercise. As cats naturally like climbing and perching themselves up high, trees and fences, for example, provide good opportunities for them if they have outdoor access. Indoor cats, however, will use furniture to climb and perch. Once again, having a scratch pole or indoor cat gym will give an indoor cat an effective alternative. Providing high perching locations will also give your cats a more enriched environment.
Most cats require grooming assistance from their owners to remove excess hair. This helps in the reduction of furballs/hairballs and matted/tangled fur, which if left, may result in a visit to us. Except at moulting time, short haired cats are able to groom themselves adequately. In contrast, long haired cats require daily grooming by their owners. Furballs or hairballs can cause appetite and weight loss, and in a worst case scenario, result in surgery. During the moulting season daily brushing is essential and food designed specifically to assist with the reduction of hairballs will also help your cat process shed hair. Unlike dogs, you should not need to bathe a cat.
Nutrition. Most cats are grazers, so we recommend feeding small amounts often. They require a high protein and fat diet which is complete and balanced. There are many formulations of cat food available and we recommend discussing your cat’s individual nutritional needs with us to choose the most suitable formula.
Ensure a fresh water bowl is accessible at all times, especially if they have a dry food diet. Cats prefer running water so consider investing in a pet fountain. Whilst many cats love to drink cow's milk, it's not recommended as they can be lactose intolerant and experience stomach upsets.
Cats require a minimum of one health check per year and more often for senior pets. Regular visits help us diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening.
Routine vaccinations are essential to ensure the good health of your cat. A course of vaccinations is required in kittens and annual vaccination is recommended for adult cats. FIV Vaccinations are are an important consideration in Townsville, especially if your cat will go outside as it is transmitted through fighting.
Council Registration and microchipping of your cat is an important part of responsible pet ownership and ensures your cat has a better chance of finding their way back to you should they get lost.
Worming and flea control form the basics of feline medical care. There are many flea products on the market and our friendly team can recommend the best option for your situation. Kittens require worming fortnightly until 12wks of age, monthy until 6mths and then every three months for life. In North Queensland Spirometra tapeworm is a consideration as cats can become infected when hunting small prey such as geckos and regular wormers do not contain a high enough dose of praziquantal to treat it. If you are seeing small 'sesame seed' looking things around your cats bottom/ fur/faeces then let us know and our team can dispense specific wormers to treat this infection
Desexing is recommended at 6 mths of age in order to prevent unwanted litters, undesirable breeding behaviours (marking, roaming and fighting in males and prolonged calling during oestrus in females) as well as prevention of health issues later in life such as uterine infections and some cancers.
We can also provide additional guidance on nutrition, behaviour, training and life-stage treatments available.
We welcome you to book an appointment with us to discuss how to keep your cat in optimum mental and physical health.