Here you can find all you need to know about caring for your cats and kittens. We advise you have a read through before considering adopting a cat from Stray Cat Rescue.
Cats are now our most popular domestic pet. Some people acquire a cat almost by accident but if you make a conscious decision to get one you should think carefully before going ahead. A cat needs lots of love and care, including regular worming, vaccinations and dental care; you will also need to keep an eye out for ticks, fleas and ear mites. If your new kitten or cat hasn't been neutered you will also need to make arrangements for your pet to be neutered with your vet.
Cats are very independent and often go wandering over large distances, if your cat goes missing it is going to be very difficult for anyone to know who it belongs to, unless your cat carries some form of permanent identification. It is wise to get your cat micro chipped, this will avoid heartache in the long run, should your cat go missing.
Don't forget that cats need somewhere warm to sleep, a litter tray, a constant supply of water, feeding daily and toys to play with. It costs approximately £25 a month to care for a cat, this includes food, litter, veterinary care and pet insurance; there will be other costs, including buying a litter tray and cattery charges when you go on holiday.
Cats can live up to 20 years old and longer, over this time your cat will expect lots of care, companionship, time for play and grooming. Being able to provide all of this will ensure you and your cat make the most of your time together.
Caring for a kitten
Most people's first experience of cat ownership is with a kitten. Caring for a kitten presents a number of challenges and requires much patience and understanding, but the rewards are great. A kitten is endearing to everyone but they grow up all too fast.
Before you first bring a new animal into your household you should ask for advice from experts including your vet. You will need to research your pet to ensure that you can meet all its needs and that you have all the equipment needed to care for it. Fortunately most pets remain healthy provided they are well cared for and receive preventative health treatment, such as vaccination and worming. However, it is important that you form a good relationship with your vet so that you can provide the best possible care for your pet throughout its life.
Vaccination against Cat Flu (herpes and calicivirus) and Feline Enteritis are needed for all cats even if they are not going outside. Cats that will be allowed outdoors should also be vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia virus. Kittens and cats whose vaccinations have lapsed need two vaccinations, 3-4 weeks apart. thereafter an annual booster injection is needed to maintain the level of immunity.
A microchip is a way to permanently identify your cat so that you can be reunited if they get handed in as a stray or after being injured. Unlike a collar, the microchip cannot be lost. Implanting a microchip can be done from a young age in a normal appointment slot at your local vets. The chip contains all the owner's details including address and contact number which will need updating if you move or change your phone number. Changing these details does cost and the initial micro chipping costs around £15 to £30 depending on your vet.
Kittens should be wormed at the time of the first and second vaccinations. After this, on an average cats should be wormed every 3 months. if you have young children you should consider worming monthly as roundworms may pose health risks especially to children and people with a weak immunity. Indoor cats will not need worming as often as this, but cats that hunt regularly may need worming every month.
Worming tablets can be purchased from supermarkets, vets and pet stores and you can worm your cat yourself. If you find worming difficult then contact your local vets and they will be happy to help. Alternatively you can purchase a 'spot on' wormer which is applied to the skin and can prove to be easier.
Fleas are small insects that feed off cats and kittens. Fleas also bite people. Fleas can cause severe anaemia in kittens and skin disease in all cats. Flea treatments can be purchased from your vets, supermarkets or local pet stores and are fairly simple to apply to your cat following the instructions. It is always best to contact your vets before purchasing flea treatments as they can offer advice on the effectiveness and safeness of the flea treatments.
It is important to feed your cat a balanced diet which is designed for cats, to ensure the right nutrients are present to keep your cat healthy. Food cat be purchased for different age groups from your local supermarket and more specialised foods can be found at your local vets.
It is important that fresh water is available to your cat at all times. A little milk can be given occasionally with medicine but unlike water it is not essential and can give some cats diarrhoea. Wet cat food is a good way to ensure adequate hydration. In the wild cats get most of their moisture from their prey.
Today more cats than ever are suffering from obesity, which reduces life expectancy and leads to conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. Do not feed your cat between meals, encourage exercise through play.
Every year thousands of healthy animals are destroyed because good homes cannot be found for them. It is important not to add to this pool of unwanted cats.
Some of these unwanted kittens and cats will find new homes but many of them will be destroyed because there are simply not enough homes. Stray Cat Rescue will never put a cat down unless in extreme cases under vetinary advise but sadly this is not the case of all animal rescue centres.
Even if you manage to find homes for your kittens, you will have taken those valuable homes away from the many unwanted cats and kittens. Don’t forget that an un-neutered tom will also be responsible for reproducing many litters.
Animal welfare organisations and other professional bodies are desperately trying to control the overpopulation tragedy, by ensuring that people do not allow their pets to breed and by educating owners about the benefits of neutering.
Neutering is usually carried out at 6 months of age for both males (castration) and females (spaying). If female cats are going outdoors before this time and they may be a male cat about then cats can sometimes be spayed earlier. It will cost about £60 to spay a female cat and about £40 to castrate a male cat. Please consider this expense before you take on a kitten.
Other benefits of neutering your cat include male cats will be less likely to wander, reducing the risk of becoming lost or injured. He should stay closer to home and therefore be a better companion. He will be less likely to mark his territory by spraying strong smelling urine around the house and garden. He will be less interested in having territorial fights with other cats. Apart from sustaining injury, he would be at high risk from contracting several potentially lethal infectious diseases, such as F.I.V. and FeLV. Both male and female cats tend to become calmer, even tempered and often more affectionate after neutering. Entire females are more likely to develop reproductive cancers and are also at risk of contracting potentially lethal viruses through mating. There is absolutely no benefit from allowing your female cat to have her ‘first’ litter. It will not make her calmer and it could put her health at risk. For all the information you need on neutering contact your local vet.
Stray Cat Rescue neuture all cats in our care over the age of 6 months. Any exception to this and you will be informed before adoption.
AT STRAY CAT RESCUE WE REALLY CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO GET YOUR CATS AND KITTENS NEUTERED AS WE BURDEN THE RESULT OF UNWANTED CATS AND KITTENS .
Other information cat owners need to know
Lilies are poisonous to cats and should not enter the house or garden of a cat owner. All parts of the plant are deadly to a cat. A cat simply has to brush past a lilly then lick its fur to react very badly and even result in death. Spread the word to other cat owners and your local florists. If you think your cat has come into contact with this plant then contact your vets immediately.
Ethylene glycol is a common cause of poisoning in cats & a leading cause of acute kidney failure. It is a clear, odourless liquid with a sweet taste which is attractive to cats. It is most commonly found in antifreeze, but is also in many other products. Even as little as a teaspoon or two is enough to kill a cat & ingestion of ethylene glycol is always a medical emergency, and you should take your cat to the veterinarian immediately. We recommend you are aware of the dangers anti-freeze poses to your cat or kitten particularly in the winter months.
Washing Machines and dryers
Dryers in particular are an appealing bed for a tired cat or kitten with the clothes providing a cushion and the warmth. As you can imagine the results of your beloved cat or kitten to fall asleep in a dryer or washing machine unbeknown to the owner can be horrific and tragic. Please ensure you shut washing machines and dryers after loading and unloading and always check before turning the machines on. Try to discourage your curious cat from entering the machine by raising your voice and removing them immediately should they enter the machines.
Taking your new cat/kitten home
After adopting a cat, especially for first time owners, it is important to remember that cats are not animals that like change especially within their environment. It may take a cat a while to settle in and feel comfortable in a new home. It is important when you get your new pet home to leave them to explore in their own time and be patient and respect their needs. Some cats settle in quickly other cats will hide for weeks under a bed or sofa. Some cats will play up or cry. It is important to remember this behaviour pattern is likely to stop once the cat feels secure in its new home. It is important to remember that you are not alone and you can always contact Stray Cat Rescue for help or advice as well as your local vets.
Bev Faulkner of Stray Cat Rescue
Tel: 01525 875993
Sue Hourd of Stray Cat Rescue
Tel: 01582 650167
Vets in Bedfordshire:
Boness Veterinary Hospital
125 Bedford Road,
Boness Cat Clinic
83a Bedford Road,
Harding & Michael Ng
Old Ravenstone House,
83, Hockliffe Rd,
324 Biscot Road
Tel: 01582 730105
Medivet, Ridgeway Veterinary Centre
47 The Ridgeway,
Tel: 01525 714892
Registered Charity No. 1098984