Caring for your cat - vaccinations, fleas, worms, feeding, general care

Congratulations on the arrival of your new family member. The following information is provided to help you with all the necessary health care your new cat will require, including:- 

Wellness for life^

Did you know pets age around seven times faster than you? Taking your cat to the veterinarian once a year is the same as a person seeing a doctor or dentist once every seven or eight years. That is why all cats need twice a year health and wellness check-ups. Wellness check-ups allow your veterinarian to detect, treat and help prevent health related problems early before they become painful and sometimes untreatable.

Vaccinations ^

To safeguard your pet from potentially serious and sometimes fatal diseases, we recommend vaccinations. Cats are vaccinated against:

  • Feline Enteritis
  • Cat Flu
  • Feline Chlamydia
  • FIV

Learn more about cat diseases here.

Your cat may require a course of two vaccinations, each one a month apart, to fully protect them from the above diseases.

To protect against FIV, we need to do a blood test prior to vaccination to ensure your cat does not have the disease. Vaccination requires a course of 3 vaccinations, which are given 2-4 weeks apart. Adult cats require an annual vaccination booster for life. You will receive a reminder when your cat's yearly vaccination is due.

Desexing ^

We strongly recommend desexing all cats, male and female, between 5 and 6 months of age. As well as reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, desexing prevent pets from roaming, fighting, spraying and night prowling.

Once your cat has been desexed, a tattoo is placed in their left ear. This is a requirement to identify that your pet is desexed. Read more about desexing your cat here.

Heartworm Prevention ^

Heartworm can affect cats and is spread by mosquitoes. Although heartworm is not prevalent in South Australia there is a monthly spot on available to prevent heartworm in cats.

Heartworm prevention is needed for the lifetime of your pet. Find out more about heartworm disease here.

Worming ^

The most common worms that affect cats in Australia are roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm. Worms are a common cause of ill health in pets and can cause signs such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and in severe cases even death.

Adult cats should be wormed every 3 months for life with an allwormer and more frequently for kittens. eg. Drontal tablet or Felix paste. Learn more about worming here.

Flea Control ^

Fleas are unfortunately an ever present nuisance to our pets. If they exist in the environment they will find a way onto your cat's coat.

Fleas can be prevented easily and effectively with a once a month topical solution. All pets in the household need to be treated. Our Veterinary Healthcare team can provide you with more detailed information about effective flea control.

Dental Care^

Teeth cleaning and gum massage are very important and probably best achieved by supplying your cat with the appropriate things to chew on. This helps exercise the teeth and gums and helps to prevent boredom. A well balanced diet, regular check ups and brushing will assist in maintaining good dental health. For more information visit Dental Care for Cats

Nutrition - a healthy diet ^

To maintain your cat's health and wellbeing he/she must have a balanced diet. The most reliable and convenient way to provide a balanced diet is to feed a high quality prepared cat food. We stock several varieties of premium quality cat foods at our hospital. Cats often prefer to eat several small meals per day but will do equally well if fed one meal at the same time each day. Milk is unnecessary and can cause diarrhoea in those that are lactose intolerant. Clean water must be available at all times. Learn more about feeding your cat.

Bathing^

Cats generally do not require much bathing, however if this becomes necessary ensure you use a mild shampoo. Cat skin is very different to ours. Unless absolutely necessary, do not bath more than once a week.

Environment^

At home your cat needs somewhere comfortable to sleep, and access to somewhere protected from the weather so they do not get too hot or cold.  To keep your cat’s bright little mind active, supply a good range of toys such as cat Kong’s, cat treats, balls, scratching poles etc. which can be rotated over a period of a week to keep them novel. If you are out and about have your cat correctly fitted with a cat harness or use a cat box (particularly for car travel).

Please remember for the safety and well being of your cat and for protecting our native fauna, it is recommended to keep your cat indoors or in an enclosure after sunset. 

Toileting^

At least one litter tray should be provided for your cat and changed daily. The tray should be somewhere private and quiet. As cats are fastidiously clean your cat may refuse to use the tray if it is dirty. If you have more than one cat, providing at least one tray per cat plus 1 extra. Any accidents should be cleaned up with an enzymatic cleaner, and traces of smell eliminated using “Bac-to-nature” spray. 

Socialisation and Training^

Training such as toileting, learning to sit and come, can start as soon as you adopt your cat. They are incredibly responsive and wilful as youngsters. Brief lessons (5-10 minutes) tend to be more rewarding and keep a young cat’s attention. Doing this at least twice a day is a good habit to form, for you and your cat for the rest of their life.
Make sure you provide plenty of praise. Positive reinforcement for good behaviour achieves much better results than old fashioned punishment.

Microchipping ^

Microchipping is a permanent form of identification in the form of a tiny chip, which is implanted under the skin. Registration details are kept with Central Animal Records and can be updated by the owner if there is any change in owner details.

We recommended to microchip at the time of desexing as a tattoo is required in the right ear to identify them as being microchipped.

Pet Insurance ^

Adelaide Vet recommends pet insurance. Insurance is available to cover your pets medical expenses including surgery, illness and accidents. Please ask our healthcare team for a brochure.

Cat Safety ^

Please remember for the safety and well being of your cat and other wildlife it is recommended to keep your cat indoors or in an enclosure after sunset.

Your cat should also wear a collar or be microchipped to ensure that they are properly identified. Some councils require this, so please check with your local council.

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Pet library topic(s): 
Basic health and care