Cats make affectionate and playful pets, but it’s important to have a good understanding of their needs before you welcome one into your home.
Taking care of your cat
Getting a kitten
Getting a kitten is an exciting time but there are certain essentials you will need to know to ensure your new kitten remains fit and healthy.
Even if your kitten has been vaccinated you should still bring he/she in to have a full vet check. As well as the vet being able to identify any health issues, it will also help your kitten get used to being in the veterinary surgery.
The 365 Care Plan
Healthy pets need ongoing care and attention, and no matter what age your cat, the 365 Care Plan is designed to meet your pet’s needs, at an affordable price. Because Oakhill Veterinary Centre puts an emphasis on preventative health care, we have developed the 365 Care Plan to ensure that your pet is protected against preventable diseases, providing annual vaccinations, parasite control and general health checks.
Improving your cat’s indoor environment
Cats use and rely on their environment in a different way from other animals. The inside of the home should be considered the ‘core’ of the cat’s territory. This is somewhere that the cat expects to feel safe and where it can eat, drink and rest in privacy away from potential enemies. Cats also make more use of three-dimensional space than people or dogs; they are keen to climb up high to vantage points where they feel safe.
It is important to provide cats with a home environment that meets their needs, especially in multi-cat households, residential areas that are over-populated with cats or when cats do not have outdoor access. Otherwise, there is a significant risk of frustration, stress and behavioural problems, such as aggression, house-soiling or urine marking.
In almost all cases, it is preferable to give cats outdoor access but, when this is impossible for some reason, it is even more important that the indoor environment provides all the cat’s needs.
Recognising indicators of stress
Stressed cats are often hard to spot because, in most cases they becomes quiet and introverted when they are unhappy. Typical signs of stress include:
- Excessive grooming: This may results in bald or sore patches.
- Lack of activity: Cats that stop playing become reluctant to move about or eat. When in close proximity to each other, the cats may move very slowly as they are frightened of being attacked or chased.
- Hiding: The cat spends most of its time hiding in the same place and will not come out to feed or interact.
- Ease of startle: The cat is very jumpy and will startle at sudden movements or sounds.
- Wariness or fighting around resources: The cat seems hesitant to approach cat-doors, food or latrines. When they are in these locations they may seem very nervous. Hissing and spitting may be seen when other cats approach.
A household full of very passive cats that seem to spend all their time sitting still and watching each other probably indicates a very high level of stress.
The cat’s basic needs are for:
- Space: Including access to height.
- An abundance of resources: Food, water, latrines, resting places. Opportunities to perform normal behaviour: Hunting, clawing etc.
- Opportunities to perform normal behaviour: Hunting, clawing etc.