PDSA Weekly Cat Q&A  

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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
03/10/2018 8:07 am  

Dear PDSA Vet, a tom cat has appeared in the area and he’s bullying my placid cat, sneaking in through the cat flap and stealing her food. I’ve also found him cornering her in the garden. How can I stop this? Lajina

Dear Lajina,

It’s important that your cat feels safe in her own environment and has somewhere safe to retreat to. You can get cat flaps which scan, and only open, for your cat’s individual microchip, so other cats can’t sneak in and steal her food or upset her in her home. You cat will be familiar with when the other cat is around, so she can choose when it’s safest to go outside. Try keeping an eye on when the encounters normally happen and see if keeping her inside for a few hours around that time reduces her stress. Finally, try to make your garden really secure and enclosed to stop wandering toms, with a high fence so she has a good view of her surroundings.


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RoseyToesMeows
(@roseytoesmeows)
Reputable Cat Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 357
04/10/2018 4:03 pm  
Posted by: Medran

Dear PDSA Vet, a tom cat has appeared in the area and he’s bullying my placid cat, sneaking in through the cat flap and stealing her food. I’ve also found him cornering her in the garden. How can I stop this? Lajina

Dear Lajina,

It’s important that your cat feels safe in her own environment and has somewhere safe to retreat to. You can get cat flaps which scan, and only open, for your cat’s individual microchip, so other cats can’t sneak in and steal her food or upset her in her home. You cat will be familiar with when the other cat is around, so she can choose when it’s safest to go outside. Try keeping an eye on when the encounters normally happen and see if keeping her inside for a few hours around that time reduces her stress. Finally, try to make your garden really secure and enclosed to stop wandering toms, with a high fence so she has a good view of her surroundings.

Just thought I'd mention that we've used microchip cat flaps for quite a number of years now. 

We initially used a flap that would allow any cat to go outside. But only a cat programmed into the cat flap can come back inside. It worked great, and we no longer had neighbourhood cats sneaking in and eating our cats food.

Then we had cats then needed to stay indoors, but our outdoor cats got depressed if they couldn't get out during the day. So we then got a dual scan cat flap. With this, the cat flap is programmed to know which cats are allowed outside. All cats are programmed to be allowed back inside, in case any accidentally get outside somehow. This is working well too. ?

Rose.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
26/11/2018 8:25 am  

After a lot of thought we’ve decided to adopt a cat. Our children are very keen and we know we can care for it properly, plus afford the costs involved.  I wanted to get it as a Christmas present, but I know animal charities often advise against this. What would you suggest? Belinda

 

Dear Belinda, pets bring companionship and enjoyment to millions of people but they are also a big responsibility, and you must be able to care for their welfare needs. They rely on their owners to provide them with everything that they need during their whole lifetime. Visit www.your-right-pet.org.uk to check that you can provide everything a cat will need to be healthy and happy. If you are still sure you want to go ahead then consider the timing – Christmas is a chaotic, noisy time of year and this can be a very stressful environment for a new pet so it isn’t the best time to bring them home. Perhaps wrap up a photo of the cat you intend to adopt, or make a short video for your family to watch on Christmas morning. You can then bring your new addition home after the bustle of Christmas is over, and you have more time to help your new pet settle in calmly.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
26/11/2018 8:26 am  

Dear PDSA Vet, for the last few weeks my cat Bongo has been limping on his back leg. There are no signs of injury and it only seems to happen when he’s been sleeping or lying down for a long period of time. What could it be? Emma

 

Dear Emma, you should take Bongo to your vet so they can check him over. Limping after a period of rest can be a sign of arthritis, especially in senior pets. But there are many other causes of stiffness and limping including; something stuck in a paw (e.g. a grass seed or an ingrown nail; a pulled muscle, or a strained or broken ligament (though these are less likely to come and go). Cats with arthritis may give subtle clues that something is not well with small changes in their behaviour, such as resting more or not jumping up as much as they used to. They may also become more withdrawn or even irritable due to their sore joints. If Bongo does have arthritis, a few changes around the home can help him get around, and keeping him slim is essential to make sure extra pressure isn’t put on sore joints. Medication can also be prescribed to help control the pain and inflammation. 


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
26/11/2018 8:26 am  

Dear PDSA Vet, I’ve recently started feeding my cat, Silver, jelly-based cat food and now he can polish off six pouches daily. Is this normal because it’s costing me a fortune? Steph

 

Dear Steph, the amount of food to meet a pet’s requirements varies from brand to brand so I would recommend having a look at the packet and feeding Silver the recommended amount for her ideal weight. If you’re not sure if she’s on the best food or what her ideal weight would be, book an appointment with your local vet nurse who will be able to help you. While wet foods are ideal for cats with (or at risk of) certain medical conditions, feeding dry food is generally much cheaper and can improve dental health, so it’s usually not wrong to keep them on one or the other or even a mix. If she’s still ravenous it’s best to book a vet appointment as that could be a sign of a hormone issue. 


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
25/01/2019 7:24 pm  

Dear PDSA Vet, I’ve noticed that my cat, Tilly, is limping on her back left leg. Although she still runs around normally and is eating fine, she won’t put all her weight on it and meows when I touch it. What could be wrong? Forrest

Dear Forrest, you need to take Tilly to your vet as soon as possible to see what is causing the lameness. Although she is still running around and eating, she may still be in pain. Cats tend to show subtle signs of pain or stress but not bearing weight and reacting when the area is touched are tell-tale signs of discomfort. Your vet will do a thorough examination and may suggest taking x-rays to help make the diagnosis. They can then advise on the likely cause of her limping, and what treatment is needed to make her comfortable and keep her pain-free while she heals.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
25/01/2019 7:25 pm  

Dear PDSA Vet, my old cat has arthritis, is there anything I can do at home to help ease the pain? Jemima

Dear Jemima, with proper management it is possible for cats with arthritis to enjoy a good quality of life. Your vet may prescribe medication to help control the joint inflammation or reduce any pain, and they should discuss lifestyle changes too. This is because it is important to ensure your cat is a healthy weight, as any extra pounds will put additional pressure on their joints. If he is overweight then ask your vet about a suitable weight loss diet, but even if he is a healthy weight, feeding him correctly will help prevent any future weight gain. Gentle exercise is also important and cats with arthritis will benefit from small amounts of regular activity, although this can be difficult to impose on a cat! You can play with them using a variety of different toys and games. Make sure they have lovely padded beds in easily accessible locations. Keeping his joints warm may also help, as can certain massage or physiotherapy techniques – ask your vet for advice though as what will be beneficial to your cat will depend on his individual condition.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
31/01/2019 10:52 pm  

Dear PDSA Vet, why do my cats always pounce on my ankles? They always do it when I’m walking down the stairs and it can get quite sore. How can I get them to stop? Christina

Dear Christina, cats have an instinct to chase and catch prey. Even if they are well-fed, it’s fun for them to stalk and pounce on moving targets. Unfortunately, the current target is your ankles. To help prevent the problem, increase playtime with your cat using toys which they can chase and jump on, such as rod-type toys. This mimics natural hunting behaviour. More sessions may be needed for indoor cats, who don’t get the chance to chase things outside. Providing a sturdy scratching post means they can stretch and wear down their claws more easily. Making sure they have somewhere comfortable to hang out away from the stairs will mean they won’t come into contact with you as you are passing by. If they continue pouncing on your ankles after all this, then temporarily wear wellington boots when you use the stairs and enlist expert help from an accredited behaviourist.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
31/01/2019 11:30 pm  

Dear PDSA Vet,

I have a cat named Sox and when I stroke her, her fur falls out. I’m quite concerned there could be a problem. What should I do?

Carole

Dear Carole, whenever cats are stroked it is normal for some hairs to come out, but it’s unusual for this to be excessive. Regular grooming with a comb and brush will remove loose hairs, so if she isn’t being groomed regularly enough, your hands may be removing them instead. Long-haired cats should be groomed daily to prevent painful mats and fur balls developing; short-haired cats at least twice a week. Sometimes problems with their teeth and mouths mean they aren’t able to groom themselves either which leads to a poor coat. Fleas are a common cause of fur-loss in cats, so discuss preventive flea control with your vet. It would also be sensible to get Sox’s fur and skin checked by your vet to make sure there isn’t a health problem. Remember, never use a flea treatment intended for dogs or cats, as this can cause fatal poisoning.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
12/02/2019 8:53 pm  

Dear PDSA Vet,

My kitten has been diagnosed with kidney problems and needs special food, which is quite expensive. Are there any cheaper alternatives? Leanne

 

Dear Leanne

Although kidney disease is most commonly diagnosed in elderly cats, some kittens can be born with kidneys that don’t function properly. Making sure they drink plenty of water and carefully managing their diet are the best ways to support your kitten’s kidneys. Cats with kidney disease can find it harder to maintain muscle or a healthy weight, so these prescription renal diets ensure they get their recommended calorie and nutrient intake. Renal diets are lower in protein and sodium, and higher in vitamins, fibre and antioxidants. With the right diet, cats with kidney disease can live for longer. Speak to your vet to check whether there might be a more affordable option for you. Sometimes it can also be cheaper to buy food in bulk.

 

 

Dear PDSA Vet,

My cat seems to do nothing but eat and sleep all day.  He’d prefer to lay on the couch rather than go outside or play and he’s putting on weight. What can I do to get him moving? Sam

 

Dear Sam

Less-active cats generally need fewer calories, so check the feeding guide on your cat’s food to ensure he is not being overfed. Cats naturally prefer lots of small meals. Try hiding some of his food in a treat ball or puzzle feeder to increase his exercise. Fishing rod-style toys will encourage his natural behaviour of chasing and pouncing. Cats hunt and chase in short bursts, so play in five or ten minute sessions. You can also buy indoor cat climbers and trees with lots of places to explore. Even a cardboard box might be fun for him. Your vet or vet nurse can advise on your cat’s ideal weight and body shape.

 

 

Dear PDSA Vet,

My one-year-old cat has started meowing early morning and she also scratches. She is an indoor cat, so it’s not as if she wants to go outside. Please help. Dean

 

Dear Dean

Cats are what’s called ‘crepuscular’ – meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk, whilst resting during the day. Your young cat may have slept through the afternoon and have an excess of energy stored up in the evening. Playing energetic games just before your bedtime will help her to burn off energy. Feeding her in the evening means she shouldn’t be hungry in the early hours, which should reduce any meowing. An automatic feeder may also reduce her meowing and scratching. Ignore her if she wakes you, as she may see your reaction as a ‘reward’ for her behaviour. If you are still having trouble after trying these things, speak to your vet who may recommend seeing an accredited behaviourist.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
20/02/2019 7:18 am  

Dear PDSA Vet

My Persian kitten, Candy, has very matted fur on her tummy but won’t let me brush it. Is it true that she needs to have her tummy shaved? Harper

Dear Harper, as Candy’s tummy is matted, brushing is more painful for her. Shaving might seem extreme but remember fur does grow back! She should be shaved by a vet or professional groomer because the skin can be damaged if it’s done incorrectly. Your vet can check for any problems that might be stopping her from grooming herself properly. Once Candy has had her tummy shaved, daily brushing will prevent this from reoccurring. You can gradually build up her acceptance of grooming; start by just stroking her tummy and slowly moving away before she reacts. Then introduce the brush, ensuring she remains calm and relaxed. By building up slowly over a couple of weeks, Candy should learn grooming is nice.

Dear PDSA Vet

I have a 22-year-old cat called Andre. He is spritely enough but, recently, I’ve noticed he has started drooling. What can I do? Angie

Dear Angie, it’s great to hear Andre has reached such a grand old age with vigour! Drooling can be a sign of mouth or dental problems, so I’d recommend a trip to your vet to get him checked out. While you’re there, they can also give Andre a health check to make sure nothing else is causing him any trouble in his golden years. Crunchy food can be more painful on sore teeth so if Andre is struggling to eat, a wet food (or soaked dry kibble) might be a bit easier for him. After any necessary dental treatment, brushing his teeth can help to reduce future problems. Special cat toothbrushes and toothpastes are available which may help. Don’t use human toothpaste though, as the ingredients can be harmful to cats when swallowed.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
26/02/2019 9:35 pm  

Dear PDSA Vet

My cat Ollie is 16 and recently he’s been vomiting a bit. Not constantly, but more than before. Does he need to visit a vet? Ann

Dear Ann, you do need to get Ollie checked by a vet to see what’s going on. Ongoing vomiting can be due to tummy issues like inflammatory bowel disease, or even something more serious like a problem with Ollie’s metabolism or organs. Keep a diary of how frequently this happens, what Ollie is eating, whether he’s going to the toilet ok, and any changes you notice in his behaviour.  This will help your vet to pinpoint any issues. As pets get older they can become prone to a number of health issues, so we advise regular check-ups – every six months is ideal for cats over 12. This ensures that any problems are picked up as early as possible, which can increase the chances of successful treatment if any illnesses are diagnosed.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
04/04/2019 9:19 pm  

My kitten, Juliet, has an obsession with tearing up paper, especially at night while I’m asleep, but I’m worried she might choke on the small pieces.  Why does she do this, and how can I get her to stop? Rob

Dear Rob, Juliet is probably just looking for things to play with. I would recommend you play with her as much as possible throughout the day, and particularly in the evening. Restrict access to any rooms with paper in, especially overnight, and get her some appropriate kitten toys to help prevent boredom and encourage activity. Those that she can chase and pounce on, such as fishing rod-type toys, are ideal. Get several toys but only have a couple out, then rotate them to prevent her getting bored. You should also invest in a sturdy cat-scratching post so she can focus on clawing that, helping to redirect her attention from the paper. If the problem persists, take Juliet to your vet to get checked over and for further advice.


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Medran
(@medran)
Reputable Cat Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 251
30/04/2019 9:01 pm  

Dear PDSA Vet

My elderly cat Button has suddenly started acting more like a kitten than a 15-year-old senior. He dashes about and plays with toys all day, and cries for attention at night.  What’s wrong with him? Lexi

Dear Lexi, playing with toys could be a sign that Button is fit and well, as many adult cats like to play as much as kittens. But this sudden change in behaviour could also be due to an underlying medical condition. An overactive thyroid gland is quite common in older cats and can cause hyperactivity and crying at night. Other possible causes of personality change include feline dementia and environmental factors. It is always recommended to take older pets for regular health checks so that conditions like these can be diagnosed as early as possible. I would certainly suggest that you take Button to get checked over. Many diseases linked to old age can be managed with medication to improve the pet’s quality of life.


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