Cambridge Vets offer tips on how to be a responsible cat owner

April 21, 2022

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National Pet Month (April 1st – May 2nd) promotes responsible pet ownership, but what does that mean when it comes to cats? Lots of people believe that cats take care of themselves, and their aloof behaviour can indeed suggest that they have little need for their human companions. Our Cambridge Vets are here to tell you why this is not the case.

Cats actually become very attached to their humans. Like dogs, cats can suffer from separation anxiety too, although they’re usually not quite as vocal and destructive about it. At Clarendon Street Vets, we believe that being a responsible pet owner means ensuring your cat has everything they need to live a healthy and happy life, and we have put together the following cat care list to make this task easier.

How to take care of a cat …

1. Provide a calm & comfortable environment – Cats can be quite sensitive about their surroundings, so good cat care starts with a comfortable home environment that’s as stress-free as possible. This is particularly important in multi-pet households – remember not all dogs and cats will get on. A plug-in pheromone diffuser may help to ease tensions between pets.

2. Provide enough resources – There are lots of options when it comes to cat beds, including covered beds, radiator beds, beds to go up high or tucked away in corners. Your cat might prefer a certain type or location so provide them with plenty of choices. Some of course will prefer their owner’s pillow or a warm lap!

Indoor cats will also need litter trays. Again this may be open or covered and there are lots of types of litter to choose from, so experiment a little to see what your cat’s preferences are. Multiple cat households need a litter tray per cat, ideally one on each level of your house. Food & water bowls should be located away from the litter trays and if you have several cats there should be a few feeding locations around the house.

If your cat likes to roam, fitting a cat flap will give them the freedom to come and go as they choose. If you have any issues with visiting cats, a microchip cat flap can keep out unwelcome guests.

3. Commit to lifetime cat vaccinations – Making sure your cat is vaccinated every year will help to protect them from harmful and life-threatening contagious diseases, keeping them healthier for longer – book now.

4. Take your cat for regular health checks – Your cat will receive a thorough health check with their annual vaccinations. However, if you have any concerns or think they could do with a general check-up more frequently we are always happy to see them, as detecting any issues early is always beneficial.

5. Keep up to date with parasite control – The best way to avoid your cat picking up fleas or worms is to give them regular, preventative treatments. Most of the products supplied by vets are Prescription Only Medicines, which tend to be a bit stronger than over-the-counter options.

6. Get your cat micro-chipped – A press release was published on the UK Government website recently stating that micro-chipping cats is going to become mandatory with fines for non-compliance. Get ahead of this new law and get your cat micro-chipped. Micro-chipping is a quick, cheap, and relatively painless procedure that greatly increases the chance of being reunited with your cats should they go missing.

7. Try a collar & ID Tag – Many owners tell us that their cat does not like to wear a collar. This is often the case, but Our Vets suggest it is worth persisting as ID tags are the quickest way for someone to contact you if something is wrong with your cat.

8. Feed your cat a nutritious diet – Hard kibble is important for dental health whilst wet food provides moisture. Avoid feeding your cat human foods, instead, opt for good quality cat food. Our Vets & Nurses can provide you with more in-depth, expert advice tailored to your cat’s life stage, activity level, and current health. Chatting to us before changing cat foods is wise too as even small changes can have a big impact on your cat’s health – get in touch.

9. Cat enrichment ideas – Boredom and loneliness can affect both your cat’s behaviour and health. This can be avoided by spending time playing, grooming, or simply snuggling up with your cat, and by providing enrichment toys and activities to keep them busy when you are not at home. There are lots of ideas online for DIY cat toys, cat gyms, scratching posts, and a whole variety of interactive toys. These toys can be rotated to keep them interesting and you can also try storing some in a tin of catnip when not in use so they really get your cat’s attention when offered again!

10. Plan ahead for holidays – Most cats are happier in their home environment where possible but they do also need regular feeding, check-ups, and some company. Booking a cat sitter at your home is one option, alternatively, you can book them into a good local cattery. Most premises will allow you to visit in advance to check out the facilities. Thinking ahead will ensure your cat still gets everything they need when you’re away, bar you.

We hope this list is helpful. You can always ask us cat care questions on our Facebook page, or if you have more specific questions or concerns, come and see one of our Cambridge Vets.

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