Did you know that we are a cat-friendly clinic? We take special care in our cat patients as we know that they need that extra little something to make their vet visit stress-free and comfortable for them and their owners. Here are some of the things that we do to make cats happy to see us!
Your kitten should be fed a high quality kitten food. Hills science diet or Advance are premium diets that are highly recommended by our veterinarians, as they has all the essential components fot kittens and cats. There are numerous other foods available but it is very important that you cat eats dry food +/- canned food that is specific to your pet's lifestage. For instance kittens must be fed kitten food up until one year of age. After one year of age, they can be gradually transitioned to an adult cat food. It is also important for your kitten to have access to fresh, clean water at all times. You may choose to allow your kitten or cat to have access to dry food at all times throughout day. If your cat becomes overweight you may need to restrict its access to food during the day. You pet's primary diet should be dry food, although some people may choose to also feed small amounts of wet food. Wet food is to be the secondary component of its diet and can be fed in addition to dry food. Remember that wet food is high in calories and therefore only a small amount is required. It should not be left to sit out at room temperature for longer than an hour. And if it is not eaten during that time please discard the remainder.
It is very important to contact your veterinarian to set up your new cat or kitten's vaccinations as soon as possible. When you call the clinic, our staff will help you determine which vaccinations your pet requires and set a schedule for your pet. Vaccinations are required to protect your cat or kitten against contagious diseases which are prevalent in our community. Our vaccinations protect your cat against common forms of enteritis and flu viruses.
Vaccinations start at 6-8 weeks of age, and involve a course of 3 injections, each 4 weeks apart. It is necessary to keep your pet indoors until the course has been completed and to ensure that all other cats in the household are up to date with their vaccinations. If there is a chance your cat or kitten will get to spend some time outdoors, then it will require additional vaccinations against FIV (feline aids) and Feline Leukemia. These viruses are carried by other outdoor cats and is common in the stray feline population. These diseases are very contagious are potentially fatal. Your veterinarian will discuss your cat's risks and determine if your kitten should be vaccinated against these diseases.
All vaccinations require annual boosters and will need to be kept up to date to influence the ongoing health of your pet. If you are unsure about your pet's vaccinations, please call us today.
Fleas and ticks are annoying and irritating for both you and your pet as well as carry potentially life threatening diseases. There are numerous different products available to protect your pet against these. We recommend prescription strength products that are available through veterinary clinics. Over the counter products that are available online, through grocery stores and pet shops, are not the same as purchased through a veterinary clinic. The staff at Maraboon Veterinary Surgery will be more than happy to assist you in finding the right product for efficacy and safety. If your pet has any side effects from the medications, we can assist you in dealing with these problems and speak to the drug companies on your behalf. Different pets and regions are affected by different external parasites and we can help determine what is best for you and your pet.
It is not required by law to have kittens microchipped, however we do strongly recommend it. A microchip is a permanent identification device that is approximately the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades by means of an injection. If a pet is found it can be immediately scanned for a microchip and once found, owner's details can be located so that your pet can be returned quickly and safely to you.
Cats are very clean animals by nature and are easily trainable to use a litter tray. Ensure that you have an appropriate sized tray for your pet as it grows. Place a moderate amount of cat litter, clay, newspaper or crystal (whichever your preference) into the tray. Scoop wet and dry eliminations out at least once daily and change the entire litter once a week, as cats prefer a clean bathroom area. Place the tray in an area that is easily accessible and also allows for some privacy. Do not keep litter trays beside your kitten's food or water as it is unhygienic. Cats typically prefer open litter trays without a cover, as the cover tends to trap the odour which is unpleasant for the pet. If you have more than one cat, the general rule is one litter box per cat, which may be placed next to each other.
All kittens should be desexed at five to six months of age. Desexed pets have less health problems than undesexed pets and are proven to live significantly longer. Undesexed cats are unpleasant to live with. Females are extremely vocal for weeks at a time when they are 'in season' and male cats have a very foul smelling urine and often spray or mark their territory inside the house. Having your cat desexed is also beneficial in preventing life threatening illnesses including cancers. Desexed cats are also vital to controlling the stray population and preventing any unwanted pregnacies in our community. If you would like more information on de-sexing procedures and costs, please contact the clinic.
Cats are self groomers and are typically meticulous at keeping themselves clean. They do not need to be bathed, and generally do not enjoy being wet, so it is best to avoid trying to bath them. Regular brushing, especially if you have a longer haired cat, is important to keep their hair coat healthy and to keep the amount of hair in the house to a minimum. Trimming your cats nails every two to six months as required (varies between pets) is important, as is providing a scratching post to help keep nails healthy and provide exercise and mental stimulation for your cat. Scratching posts are necessary as scratching is a natural behaviour for cats and will help prevent them from sharpening their claws on inappropriate things.
If your cat has dry, itchy, or inflamed skin or is losing excessive amounts of hair, contact your veterinarian as this may be a sign of poor health. Also monitor your cats ears and if they are dirty or itchy, contact your veterinarian as this may indicate a problem.
Keeping your cat's teeth clean is also important for their health. Providing a hard dry food helps with keeping teeth healthy but regular brushing (ideally 3 times a week) and dental treats also assist in oral health.
It is your choice (and often your kittens influence) whether you have an indoor exclusive cat or an indoor/outdoor cat. It is completely acceptable to have your cat indoors at all times. They are at much lower risk for disease and illness, not to mention there are much fewer accidents that can happen indoors. It is important to provide exercise and entertainment for your indoor cat to keep them in good health and spirit. There are numerous toys/activities that can entertain your pet. Cat toys, laser pointers, activity stations/cat houses can be purchased, you just need to figure out what your cat likes best.
You could also consider building an enclosure for you cat to stay in while outside to help decrease health risks. If you do decide to allow your cat to roam unsupervised outside, please ensure that all vaccines, deworming, flea/tick preventions are up to date, your cat is microchipped, is desexed, and is brought inside at night and during harsh weather conditions.
Cats are very curious animals and often explore. Ensure that there are no dangerous objects around, bath tubs are empty when not being used and, plastic bags are picked up (to prevent entanglement and suffocation). Do not leave hot objects turned on, and keep all dangerous substances/plants out of reach so your kitten does not accidentally ingest them. Also ensure all electric cords are out of reach and discourage your kitten from playing with such things as they can easily become very dangerous. Do not leave string or rubber bands lying around as kittens and cats often try to ingest these.
Please also be aware of everyday objects and plants that are toxic to your pet. If your kitten accidentally gets injured or ingests something toxic please contact your veterinarian immediately. You may also want to contact the poison control hotline at 131126 (note there is a fee for contacting poison control hotline).
A full list of toxic plants can be found at veterniarypartner.com.