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Healthcare advice for your feline friends

  • Dental Homecare
  • Flea Control
  • Weight Management
  • Worms & Your Cat

Dental Homecare

How To Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

The daily brushing procedure should be pleasant for both you and your pet. Many pets actually enjoy the added attention from their owners when they are getting their teeth brushed.

You will need:

One cat toothbrush per cat. Never share a toothbrush between two cats, as saliva is a major route for cross infection.

One tube of animal toothpaste – Animal toothpaste doesn’t foam in the mouth as with human toothpaste.

Day 1 – Introduce the toothbrush to your cat and allow them to get used to the feeling of the bristles. You can do this by dipping the toothbrush into your cats wet food and allow him/her to lick it off. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.

Day 2 – Then we want to introduce the toothpaste to your cat. Use a cotton bud and place a dollop of toothpaste on it and allow your cat to lick this off. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.

Day 3 – We then want to get your cat used to having his/her lip lifted so gently pet and scratch your cats muzzle and slowly lift the lip for about 30 seconds. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session. This should be done with your cats back towards you, approaching head on may be seen as a threat.

For the next few days – let your cat get used to you holding his/her head and slowly introduce a cotton bud with a little bit of toothpaste on it, gently rub in a small circular motion. Start with the back teeth and make your way to the front of the mouth.

Finally you can start to introduce the toothbrush, use the same action. Start with 10 seconds on each side and build up to 30-45 seconds on each side.

You know your pet best of all. If you feel that they are accepting the brushing well, gradually increase thebrushing time until you are able to spend at least one minute on each side of the mouth. If at any time the animal is resisting, stop and wait until the next day.

Toothbrushing can be a bonding experience with your cat so be patient, give your cat lots of praise, reward your cat (Hill’s t/d food is ideal) and stop immediately if there is any signs of aggression.

Helpful Hints:

  • Be patient
  • Give your pet lots of praise
  • Reward your pet
  • Stop immediately if there is any signs of aggression

Flea Control

Flea infestation is one of the most common health problems seen in cats. Almost every cat will become infected at some time during their life. Fleas are more than just a minor irritation for your pet. They are also responsible for the transmission of the flea tapeworm and in severe cases can cause anaemia. Flea related problems are the commonest cause of skin problems in pets. Usually skin problems arise because the animal becomes allergic to flea saliva. When a flea bites your cat, some of the flea saliva is injected into the skin. If the cat is allergic to flea saliva it will start to scratch, often intensely leading to serious skin disease. Fleas spend only 5% of their life cycle on an animal therefore, it is important to remember that just because you do not see fleas on your cat, does not mean your cat does not have a flea problem.

The Flea’s life cycle

Only adult fleas are found on animals but they represent only 5% of the total flea population. The other 95% consist of immature stages of the flea life cycle which infest the pet’s environment such as bedding, carpets, furniture, car seats etc. The adult flea begins laying eggs in your pet’s coat within 48 hours of it’s first feed. It can lay up to 50 eggs per day or 2000 in it’s lifetime. The eggs then drop off into the environment where they develop into larvae and pupae before becoming the next generation of adult fleas. When it first emerges the young adult flea begins to search for food and one or two days after feeding from your pet the female will start to lay eggs.

Under favourable conditions the whole process can take as little as 12 days. It is easy to see how one or two fleas can quickly turn into an infestation.

Flea control

Successful flea control depends on an all round approach to the problem. This means treating both your cat and the environment. It also means continuing with preventative flea treatment throughout your cat's life to prevent a problem recurring

Vacuum Cleaning

Regular vacuuming and washing of your cat’s bedding will help reduce the number of eggs, pupae and the build up of flea dirt on which the larvae feed. Placing a flea collar in the bag of your vacuum cleaner will help prevent the larvae or pupae continuing their life cycle in the vacuum cleaner.

Environmental Sprays

An environmental flea spray such as Indorex should be used to kill any immature fleas missed during vacuuming. Pay particular attention to under beds, behind settees, under radiators and around skirting boards. One can is sufficient to treat the average three bedroomed house and lasts for up to four months. Always follow the safety instructions on the can.

Your Cat

A variety of products are now available which are safe, easy to use and cost effective. While flea treatment may be available from pet shops and even some supermarkets, these are often old or less effective products and some are even less safe to use on cats. So call in to us and we can recommend the most suitable product for your cat.

Weight Management

One of the most common questions we get asked is “Is my cat the right weight?”

All cats have an ideal weight, depending on their size and breed. Most animals that gain weight are overfed, which results in an intake of too many calories combined with insufficient physical activity.

Factors that can affect your cats weight

Is your cat kept indoors or do they have access to the outdoors?
Is he/she fed dry food exclusively, or are they offered wet food too?
Is your cat neutered?

If you make an appointment, we can discuss your cat’s weight and go through their history. If there is any indication that there may be an underlying medical condition causing your cat to gain weight, we would be happy to carry out the appropriate laboratory tests and investigate your cat’s health further with one of our vets.

Equally, if you have noticed that your cat has lost weight, this may be a sign of an underlying disease that needs further investigation.

As your cat gets older, their metabolism changes and activity levels may also reduce, so it is important to be aware of any weight increase or loss.

If we find that your cat is overweight, there are many options to us, from cutting back on the amount you are feeding your pet to beginning a diet food that we can prescribe. It may even be as simple as changing any treats you give to healthier versions.

We offer regular weight checks and are always happy to advise you on any health issues for your cat.

Worms & Your Cat

Are there different sorts of worms?

The most common intestinal worms affecting cats are roundworms and tapeworms. Most infected cats do not show signs of having worms; however, heavy burdens of worms can cause weight loss, vomiting and diarrhoea, irritation around the anus and failure to thrive.

Importantly, while worms can sometimes cause problems for the cat itself, some worms can also be passed on to humans and on rare occasions can be a cause of serious human disease. For these reasons, regular treatment of cats and kittens to prevent or eliminate worms is very important.


Intestinal roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites in cats and occur in cats of all ages throughout the world.

The two common roundworms of cats are called Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina. Eggs from these worms are passed in the faeces and can remain viable in the environment for several years.

These eggs can infect other cats in two ways. First, a cat may eat (ingest) eggs directly from a contaminated environment. Second, if another animal eats the eggs (e.g. a mouse or rat), these can act as ‘intermediate hosts’ and pass on the infection to a cat if it preys on (and eats) the infected intermediate host.

Toxocara cati is also passed from queens to kittens through the milk she produces. Whenever a cat is infected with roundworms, some larvae remain dormant in tissues in the body. This usually causes no harm, but when a female cat becomes pregnant, these larvae migrate to the mammary glands and are excreted in the milk she produces for the kittens. This is a very common route of infection and we should assume that every kitten will be infected with Toxocara cati as a result.

In most cases, regular routine treatment for roundworms is recommended throughout a cat’s life. However, to determine if a cat is actually infected with worms, a faecal sample can be submitted for parasitology.

Other gastro-intestinal roundworms that may infect cats in various parts of the world include

  • Ollulanus tricuspis (found in the stomach)
  • Gnathostoma spp
  • Physaloptera spp
  • Strongyloides spp
  • Tapeworms

Tapeworms are generally long flat worms composed of many segments. Mature segments containing eggs are released from the end of the tapeworm and are passed in the faeces. These segments often resemble grains of rice and can sometimes be seen on the hair around the anus of the cat, in the faeces and on the cat’s bed.

To complete their life-cycle, all tapeworms require an intermediate host to first eat the eggs from the environment, and then the cat will become infected by eating the intermediate host. Animals that act as intermediate hosts vary depending on the species of tapeworm. The most common tapeworms that infect cats worldwide are Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis.

Dipylidium caninum is transmitted to cats by fleas. The immature flea larvae ingest the eggs of the worm, but infection is then passed on to a cat when it swallows an infected flea during grooming. It should be assumed that any cat infected with fleas also has Dipylidium caninum (and vice versa).

Taenia taeniaeformis is passed on to when they eat small rodents (rats and mice), the rodents having eaten eggs from the environment. This infection occurs very commonly in cats that hunt.

Other tapeworms that occur in some countries include

  • Diphylobothrium latum (fish are intermediate hosts)
  • Spirometra spp (amphibian, reptiles and rodents are intermediate hosts)
  • Diplopylidium spp (reptiles are intermediate hosts)
  • Joyeuxiella spp (reptiles are intermediate hosts)
  • Echinococcus multilocularis (rodents are intermediate hosts)
  • Hookworms

Hookworms are a type of small intestinal roundworm found in most countries throughout the world, but are more common in some countries than others. These worms can cause damage to the lining of the intestine where they attach to the surface, and this may result in weight loss, bleeding and anaemia.

Cats may be infected by ingestion eggs from the environment, from eating an infected intermediate host (as with Toxocara catiabove) or by the larvae in the environment burrowing through the cat’s skin. Common cat hookworms include Ancylostoma tubaeforme, and Uncinaria stenocephala, but other species occur in some countries.

Other worms

In addition to intestinal worms, cats can be infected with a variety of other worms in other sites of the body, although often these worms are not present in all regions of the world.

These include:

  • Dirofilaria immitis – heartworm
  • Aelurostrongylus abstrusus – lungworm
  • Capillaria spp – lungworm
  • Thelazia callipaeda – eyeworm

Worming treatments for your cat

While worming products may be available from pet shops and even some supermarkets, these are often old or less effective products and some are even less safe to use in cats.

A worming treatment for cats will depend on their lifestyle. We can recommend an effective treatment for your cat so call in to us and we can advise you on the most suitable product.

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