Category Archives: Caring for your Cat

Cat Care Information Evening

You are invited to Hall Veterinary Surgery’s

Cat Care
Information Evening

On Wednesday 21st September, 2011, 7pm

at Hall Pavilion

Gladstone Street, Hall ACT

Learn why your cats behave (or misbehave) the way they do, how to care for your older cat and why regular checkups are vital to cats’ health and comfort. Win heaps of prizes and join us for supper.

Entry is FREE but you MUST R.S.V.P. by 14th September, 2011

Phone 62302223, or talk to one of our Receptionists



August is dental health month at Hall Vet Surgery!

August is dental health month at Hall Vet Surgery! If you’ve not taken advantage of our offer below, please read on.

Bring your pet in for a free dental check this month and learn how to keep your pet’s mouth and teeth clean and healthy.

Dental health is essential to overall health in our pets.

4 out of 5 pets over 3 years old live with dental disease, infection and pain but are very good at hiding it from us. (Source: Dr. Anthony Caiafa. University of Melbourne, Veterinary Clinic and Hospital.)

So make sure your pet is happy, healthy and pain free, phone 6230 2223 to make an appointment for a free dental check during Hall Vet Surgery dental month.


Free dental check in August

August is dental month at Hall Vet Surgery.

Bring your pet in for a free dental check this month and learn how to improve dental health.

Phone us a few days ahead to make an appointment.

Dental health is essential to overall health in our pets as well as ourselves. Dogs and cats hide pain from us. Often they have just got used to a level of dental pain that would cripple us on the first day!

Make sure your pet is happy, healthy and pain free . Phone for an appointment during Hall Vet Surgery dental month.

Cat care

Calling all cat carers! Mark Wednesday 21st September in your diaries. Hall Vet Surgery is holding a cat care information evening at the Hall pavilion.

Learn why your cats behave (or misbehave!) the way they do, how to care for your older cat and why regular checkups are vital to all cats’ health and comfort.

Entry is free.

We have heaps of give-aways and prizes for everyone and a delicious supper to cap the evening off.

Secure a seat by phoning 6230 2223, emailing or telling one of our receptionists at your next visit.

Don’t miss out on a fun-filled chance to improve your cat’s quality of life!

Momo’s war wounds

Momo’s had a bad week. His mum found him shivering under a bush on Thursday morning. When she coaxed him inside he didn’t feel much like breakfast and curled up in front of the fire. He’d eaten dinner on Tuesday and gone out for a stroll around his domain feeling as fit as a fiddle. By the time his mum found him he had a fever and was very miserable.
When she took him on her lap for a cuddle he snuggled up until she rubbed his head – OW!  He sprang onto the floor and under the couch.
His mum realised something was very wrong and whisked him in to see us. We found a tiny wound on his head and extracted a claw. Poor old Momo had taken on an intruder in his garden. No wonder he had a headache – an abscess was forming under the wound.
We started treatment straight away. Blood tests and observation proved that it was a fresh wound so we clipped and cleaned it, started strong antibiotics (cats’ mouths contain some very nasty bacteria that love the airless space under the skin) and gave him something for the headache.
Because Momo’s owner had found him soon after the brawl and the wound was fresh we didn’t have an abscess to lance. The earlier we can treat cats after a fight the less likely it is that a general anaesthetic and surgery will be necessary.
Cats are most active finding mates and defending their territory in late winter and spring. Poor old Momo had got caught up in the annual feline fight festival. His mum is going to keep him indoors after dinner and through the night to try and prevent another episode.

Permethrin flea products toxic to cats

Flea products containing permethrin are highly toxic to cats.

Products for dogs such as Advantix spot on for fleas and ticks and Permoxin, a spray, contain permethrin.  Do NOT ever apply them to cats.

Cats which groom or sleep with dogs treated with these products in the previous 48 hours can be poisoned also.

Signs of toxicity include: tremors, twitching, drooling, incoordination, convulsions, coma and death. Some cats flick their paws, twitch their ears, or are sensitive to touch or sound. Vomiting and diarrhoea are also common.

Signs start within 1 to 3 hours of ingestion or application but can be delayed up to 12 hours. Effects can last more than 3 days.

More than 500 cases of permethrin poisoning have been reported in Australia. A quarter of these cats died despite treatment.

Visiting the vet with your cat?

Veterinary visits don’t have to be stressful for you or your cat. Happy visits to the vet start well before the big day. Ideally we should acclimatise our cats to carriers and cars while they are still kittens.

How can we minimise these stresses here and now though?

  1. Ask reception to book you at a quiet time or when no dogs are around if possible
  2.    Socialise cats to the carrier and car:
    • Leave the carrier out permanently in your home.  Many cats will use it as a comfortable resting or hiding place or play around it, particularly if it has been about since they were kittens
    • Withhold food before travel to prevent travel sickness and consequent negative feelings about car rides
    • Short practice rides in the car followed by a good experience such as a favourite food help some cats to relax about cars
  3. Apply Feliway spray to bedding in the carrier regularly and just before transport. Feliway contains a natural pheromone that relaxes cats.  Familiar clothing from a favourite person before a visit or hospital stay may also calm your cat
  4. Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket or place one over the cat in the carrier so that she can hide if she needs to
  5. In the waiting room place the carrier up off the ground on a seat or bench and well away from dogs

Bored Cat Syndrome

Keeping cats indoors increases their life spans because they don’t become victims of cars, other animals, diseases or thievery. Unfortunately many cats are left alone without stimulation or a feline friend while their human companions are at work and school. Some of these cats develop behaviour problems or stress illnesses while others become dangerously obese from lack of exercise. Most of these latchkey cats suffer from Bored Cat Syndrome!

It is impossible for most people to stay home and entertain their cats all day. Enrich the home environment and give cats choices to avoid Bored Cat Syndrome:

  • Stabilise cat trees with lots of shelves by adding a larger base or fastening the tree to a wall or the ceiling. Position one next to a secure window and hang a bird feeder outside the window to maximize cat fun while preserving birds’ lives.
  • Carpeted shelving around walls at different heights give cats lots of opportunity for exercise and contemplation of their home comforts. Many access points to the shelves give cats choices and prevent them from being cornered without an escape route.
  • Wide window perches allow cats to scope out the neighborhood from the safety of their homes.

Fight obesity and stimulate your cat by making your cat work for his food:

  • Treat balls or shapes packed with healthy treats or dry food provide hours of chasing and playing fun. Make a puzzle out of a cardboard box with two to three holes in each side, just big enough for a paw to reach in for biscuits, but not big enough for a head to be caught in.
  • Play hide and seek with treats or dry food. Scatter them behind sofas, up cat trees or on shelves while your cat is otherwise engaged.
  • Many cats enjoy exercise wheels like these kitty treadmills

Other ways remedies for bored cats:

  • Videos made for cats keep them occupied and stimulated when they are left alone. Video Catnip and The Cat Sitter feature the sights and sounds of birds, fish, mice and other animals. Some cats are fascinated by these videos; others give a passing glance and continue with their own agendas.
  • Television talk shows or home and garden shows keep some cats fascinated
  • Some cats love to play in running water like the Drinkwell Pet, available from Hall Veterinary Surgery.
  • Many cats enjoy the company of other cats. Consider both cats’ personalities before bringing a newcomer into the house. Some cats do not adjust to another cat in the household. Proper introductions can take months even when two cats are well suited.

Help! My cat is urinating indoors

Marking or toileting?

Spraying small amounts of urine against vertical objects such as chairs or walls is a territorial marking behaviour.   Male and female cats urinate in a squatting position leaving a greater volume of liquid.

Why do cats spray?

  • Entire male cats are the most likely to spray
  • Medical problems such as cystitis, diabetes, kidney disease and obesity exacerbate abnormal toileting behaviour.
  • Anxiety and stress are the most common causes of spraying.  Cats are creatures of habit and like to have their own space and toys. Even though they are willing to share a house and bed with you they need places and things of their own to be happy. If they think that something that belongs to them is being taken over by someone else they feel threatened. They have to let everyone know that it is theirs. The natural way to stake their claim is to mark it with the facial scent glands or urine. This is like writing their name on their things. Putting urine or facial scent on a thing or place makes a cat feel secure, especially if they feel out of place, nervous or afraid.

What makes cats anxious?

  • A new cat or kitten.  Introduce a new pet into the household gradually.  Let them get used to each other through a screen or glass door.  Exchange their bedding and let them sniff and sleep on it. Remember to reassure and cuddle the established pet as well as the cute new one.
  • A new baby.  Let your cat hear the sounds and sniff the clothes of a new family member from a safe, private place. Give the cat lots of attention.
  • Changes in furniture or carpets and disruptions such as building or painting.  Lock your cat in a room well away from tradesmen and the strange sounds and smells associated with their work.
  • A strange cat wandering in the garden or even through the cat flap.
  • The loss of a human or animal companion.  Strongly bonded cats will need extra care and attention if mourning a friend who has moved or passed away.
  • Incompatible cats, especially if a lot of cats live together.  Determine which cats do not get along and keep them in separate parts of the home with their own litter and sleeping areas.
  • Stress.  Enriching a cat’s environment minimises stress.

Cat scratching posts, toys that mimic prey, tunnels, outside runs and a variety of high spots and hideouts will keep your cat happy and stimulated. Vertical space is often more important than horizontal space. Some cats appreciate an indoor garden sown with grass, cat nip and cat mint. Find several toys they like and rotate them regularly.  Your company is important.  Even an old cat will appreciate a game with a ribbon on a stick or a glittery ball. Make your cat work for food by hiding it in various locations around the house or in food puzzles such as plastic containers with holes cut in the sides. More stress-busting suggestions for the indoor cat.

Routine is important for some cats.  Ten minutes each day play and grooming your cat to provide regular predictable attention that helps reduce their anxiety. Feed them at a set time.

What if I can’t identify or remove the source of the anxiety?

If you cannot identify or remove the source of the anxiety then provide your cat with a safe haven. A room where your cat can safely retreat or relax without fear of disturbance is ideal.  A small, enclosed and elevated space lined with your worn clothes is also good.  Most cats will mark a limited space with facial rubbing and bunting only.

Clean urine marked areas with a special enzymatic cleaner like Urine Off that eliminates the scent. If your cat can smell urine he will mark it again. You may have to lock him out of the room for a while to help him forget it.

Protect a habitual spraying site by placing dry food or a bed at the base.  Cats are usually reluctant to spray their own key resources. Food and beds are also reassuring and may reduce anxiety.  However, a stressed cat may move to other areas and mark there instead.

A natural pheromone spray called Feliway calms some cats and reduces the urge to spray and mark. Spray it on previously marked areas or plug a Feliway diffuser in or near the area he most marks.

Never punish cats. If caught in the act they can be picked up and placed on the litter tray, stroked and calmed. Never “rub the cat’s nose in it” as this will make a nervous cat even more likely to toilet indoors.

Cats with anxiety related behaviours like spraying often need anti-anxiety medications in addition to the above changes to resolve the problem.

Flea control in cats

Because of the all the rain over the last 6 months and now the very warm days, fleas are hatching in unprecedented numbers  around Canberra.

Signs of flea infestation:

  • Cats develop an allergy to flea bites. They groom or scratch excessively and develop “miliary” dermatitis.
  • The fleas cause anaemia in kittens and debilitated animals.
  • Cats are infested with tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) from eating infected fleas during grooming.

Flea control

  • Conquer fleas on your cat with long lasting flea control products (Frontline, Advocate, Revolution, Advantage) applied as a spot on. Flea collars, shampoos and powders kill fleas present on your cat at the time of application but have little residual effect.
  • Remove flea eggs, larvae and pupae from the environment with regular vacuuming of carpets, sofas and beds. Throw away or burn the dust bag to prevent eggs and larvae developing.
  • Professional fumigation controls larvae and pupae.
  • Wash bedding in hot water or replace regularly.
  • Spray garden sheds, cars and favoured outdoor sleeping spots.

Cat fleas hatch from flea pupae in your house in warm, humid conditions. Our carpeted, centrally heated homes are ideal for the year round development of fleas.

After feeding on a cat adult female fleas lay eggs that fall off onto couches, carpets and beds. The microscopic eggs develop first into larvae that migrate deep into carpets, furniture or cracks in floors away from the light, and then into pupae. The pupae contain adult fleas which lie in wait for the next cat or dog to pass.

Effective flea control depends on knowing the flea’s life cycle.