Christchurch Vets offer tips on how to be a responsible cat owner
April 7, 2022
National Pet Month (April 1st – May 2nd) promotes responsible pet ownership, but what does that mean when it comes to cats? Many people believe that cats “pretty much take care of themselves”, and their aloof behaviour means they have little interest in or need for their human companions. Our Christchurch Vets are here to tell you why this is not the case.
If you have any concerns about your cat’s health, book them in to see one of our Vets.
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 Best Friends, we believe that being a responsible pet owner means ensuring your cat has everything they need to live a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. To help you, the cat-loving Vets at our Marlow Drive clinic have pulled together the ultimate cat care list for you.
Cat care 101 – How to take care of a cat
1. Provide calm & comfort – Cat care starts with a comfortable home environment that’s as stress-free as possible – remember not all dogs and cats, or multiple cats will get on. A plug-in pheromone diffuser can help to ease tensions between pets – ask us about this.
2. Get these essential items – There are many options when it comes to cat beds, including those that hang over radiators, and yours of course! Your cat might prefer a certain type or a combination. They will also need litter trays, and food & water bowls. Multiple cat households need a litter tray per cat, ideally on each level of your house, and separate food & water bowls away from the litter trays. If your cat likes to roam, fitting a microchip cat flap will give them the freedom they desire.
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 at their annual cat vaccinations appointment at Best Friends. Having 6-month checks-ups in between their boosters can help our Vets to spot any health issues early.
5. Keep up to date with parasite control – The best way to avoid your cat picking up fleas or worms is to give them vet-recommended cat flea & worm treatments regularly. These are typically given monthly and help to protect your pet from the nasty effects of parasites.
6. Get your cat microchipped – A press release was published on the UK Government website recently stating that microchipping cats is going to become mandatory with fines for non-compliance. Get ahead of this new law and get your cat microchipped, which most importantly increases your chances of being reunited with them if they go missing.
7. Try a collar & ID Tag – Many owners tell us their cat doesn’t wear a collar & ID tag because their “cat doesn’t like them”. Our Vets suggest it is worth trying again as ID tags are the quickest way for someone to contact you if something is wrong with your cat.
8. Give your cat a nutritious diet – Hard kibble is important for dental health, wet food provides moisture, avoid human foods, and opt for good quality food brands. 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. Try these cat enrichment ideas – Boredom and loneliness can affect your cat’s behaviour and health. Avoid this by spending plenty of time with your cat playing, grooming, or simply snuggling up together, and by providing cat enrichment toys and activities. Our Christchurch Vets recommend scratching posts and searching YouTube for how to build a cat home gym.
10. Get a cat sitter for holidays – Booking a cat sitter at your home (or taking them to a cattery if this is not possible) will ensure your cat still gets everything they need when you’re away, bar you.
Now, we don’t want you to think that all cats are high maintenance after reading this (well, some are), but we should point out that owning any pet is a big responsibility. You can always ask us cat care questions on our Facebook page, or if you are concerned, come and see one of our Christchurch Vets.