FAQ - Cat Advice


Frequently Asked Questions about common cat related problems

My cat has fleas. Can you let me know how to prevent this in future?

Cats can become sensitised to the components in flea saliva, which causes flea allergic dermatitis. The skin can become itchy and ulcerated, which is very distressing. Thinking about prevention for next year is a good idea, but remember it is difficult to eliminate all the fleas from your house, especially if you have more than one cat. You have to be very diligent in using flea prevention methods, both in the house and on any pets you have. There are some excellent preparations available, which we can prescribe. We would suggest you make an appointment at the practice to discuss the best way of dealing with and preventing 'flea attacks'.

Incidentally, remember that fleas and their eggs can survive for some time in carpets and sofas in our centrally heated homes. Vacuum everything well, and destroy any bedding. Throw out the vacuum bag after your first thorough clean and put a flea collar in the bag if the infestation is being controlled.

It is also vitally important that you only use preparations suitable for cats on cats. Never use one that should be used only on dogs.

How can I stop my cat from spraying in the house?

Urine territory spraying is commonly associated with male cats, but females and neutered toms also do it, often through insecurity. They will sometimes only spray new objects, often never in front of the owner who is the symbol of their security. The anxious cat will often direct their spraying towards one thing - it can be a new piece of furniture or even a carrier bag, as these objects don't have familiar 'smells' on them. If a new person, such as a baby or partner induces the anxiety, the spraying may be direct against their specific clothing or belongings.

Firstly, bring your cat to the vets to get him fully checked over.

If everything is OK, you need to increase your cats feeling that the home is 'secure' and break the spraying habit. Punishment has no place in the treatment programme, as it increases the cat's anxiety. If you have a cat flap, it may also increase the cat's worries, so consider blocking it temporarily. Reduce the size of the cat's territory through a covered basket or pen, which should contain food, water and a litter tray as well as a cosy sleeping bed. The cat will then hopefully come to terms with the surrounding environment, and can gradually be allowed out initially with you there, acting as a 'security bridge'.

The next stage is to break the habit of urine spraying. Start off with a thorough cleaning of the soiled area with a warm solution of a biological washing powder, rinsing with cold water and allowing the area to dry. Then scrub with alcohol, such as surgical spirit, again allowing it to be completely dry before the cat is allowed access. The cat must then be deterred from spraying in the area, and a bowl of food works wonders - cats usually never spray where there is food around!