Cat care

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Vaccinations

Vaccinations are one of the most important things you can do for your cat.

Feline vaccines are grouped into ‘core vaccines’ and ‘non-core vaccines’.

Core vaccines are recommended for all cats regardless of their lifestyle or risk factors and include protection against feline panleukopenia (feline enteritis), feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus. An F3 vaccine will cover these diseases.

Non-core vaccines are only given to cats who are in specific risk categories. These include vaccinations that protect against feline leukaemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus and Chlamydophila felis.

One of our vets will discuss your cat’s lifestyle with you so we can individualize its vaccination program.

6-8 weeks of age F3 vaccination
12 weeks of age F3 vaccination
16 weeks of age F3 vaccination

Annual cat vaccination

A first annual booster should be given 12 months after the 16 week vaccination. A reminder will be sent to you prior to your pets vaccination due date.

After that the frequency of the booster vaccination varies depending on the individual risk of the cat. Most cats require a yearly ‘cat flu’ vaccination to prevent against feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus.

Testing for vaccine immune response

New studies have shown that after the annual vaccination booster many cats retain their immunity against the panleukopenia virus for 3 years or longer.

A blood test can be taken from your cat to determine if a three yearly vaccine is necessary or if your cat’s immunity levels are high enough to last another 3 years.

Your cat will still need a ‘cat flu’ vaccination yearly as, like our flu vaccines, the immunity will only last for 12 months.

Non-core vaccinations

12 weeks of age FeLV, FIV, Chlamydophila vaccination
14 weeks of age FIV vaccination
16 weeks of age FeLV, FIV, Chlamydophila vaccination

Yearly booster for those cats at continued risk.

Worming and flea control

Intestinal worms

Kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then treat monthly until 6 months of age and then every 3 months for life.

Treat all pets in the household at the same time.

Heartworm disease in cats

Heartworm disease is much more common in dogs than it is in cats, however cats are still susceptible if at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

Monthly treatments such as Advocate or Revolution can be started at 12 weeks of age and will treat against fleas, heartworm and some intestinal worms.

Monthly treatments should be given on the same day every month.

Flea control

There are a large number of products available to both treat and prevent flea infestations in cats.

Monthly ‘spot on’ treatments such as Frontline, Advantage, Revolution & Advocate are very safe and effective and cam be applied from 6-12 weeks onwards, depending on which product you choose.
Our staff can advise you on which product is best for kitten.

Beware of topical flea products for dogs as some of these contain pyrethrins which are highly toxic to cats. Cats can be severely affected by just coming into contact with a treated dog and toxicity can be fatal.

Oral tablets are also available for flea control and our staff can advise you as to which products may be suitable for your kitten.

Pet insurance

Veterinary care is a lot more advanced these days with the use of specialized equipment for diagnostic tests and treatments on par with human medicine. As such the costs for operations and general care are climbing.

For peace of mind we highly recommend that you take out pet insurance.

Pets can unexpectedly become sick or injured. By having pet insurance, you can take the financial aspect out of the equation and base your costly medical decisions purely on what is best for your pet.

Microchipping

In Western Australia it is compulsory for all cats that have reached 6 months of age to be microchipped for the purpose of identification and registration. Breeders are required to have their kittens microchipped prior to selling.

Microchipping is a safe and simple procedure where your pet’s permanent identification in the form of a tiny chip is implanted under the skin via an injection.

Microchipping can be done at any age and can be implanted into un-sedated animals. We recommend that your kitten is microchipped at the same time as he or she is de-sexed as this alleviates any undue stress at microchip implantation.

Registration details are kept at the Central Animal Records and can be updated if there are any changes in owner details. So if your pet is lost, you will find it again.

Registration with the council

All cats over 6 months of age are required to be registered with the local council.

De-sexing

We recommend de-sexing cats at 4 to 6 months of age.

Female cats are de-sexed to avoid unwanted pregnancies. If your female cat is not de-sexed she can come into season every 2-3 weeks. During this time female cats can exhibit extreme behavioural changes.

Male cats are de-sexed to prevent straying, fighting and spraying urine on various structures.

Admission to hospital for surgery link

Diet

A balanced healthy diet is essential for normal growth and development.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to eat animal protein to meet all their nutritional requirements. It is important to train your kitten to eat a variety of different foods as cats can become very fussy if they are only fed one type of food.

Good quality commercial kitten food is best. Feed three small meals three times a day until 6 months old and then twice daily.

When your cat reaches full maturity try to encourage them to eat mainly wet food (sachets) and only small amounts of dried food. This will reduce the chances of them developing urinary tract disorders and obesity/diabetes.

Raw meat can also be given as a treat from 6 months onwards. Never feed your cat cooked bones as they can splinter and cause internal damage.

Cat friendly clinic

The trip to the vets can be quite a stressful time for cats. At the Halls Head Small Animal Clinic we strive to ensure that your cat’s visit to the clinic is as stress free as possible.

We recommend that you transport your cat in a robust cat carrier crate. Never travel with your cat loose in the car.

Leave the carrier crate in a familiar place at home with their favourite rug or soft bedding in it so your cat can enter the carrier willingly in the weeks prior to coming to the vets. This way your cat will become comfortable with the carrier crate and regard it as a safe place.

Keep your carrier covered with a towel when transporting and in the vet waiting room and avoid placing the carrier crate on the ground as cats are vertical animals and prefer to be high up.
If there are noisy dogs in the waiting room then ask our receptionists if you can wait in one of our spare consult or comfort rooms.

If your cat needs to be admitted for hospitalization, we have a dedicated cat ward separate from the dogs or any other noise. Our hospital cat cages have igloo beds for your cat to hide in so they feel more secure and we use cat pheromones in the ward to also help reduce stress.