After two years of summer ‘staycations’, this year we’re expecting a lot of people to be considering longer holidays away from home. For cat owners, this raises the age-old challenge of how to look after their cat during the holidays.
As you basically have three options – live-in care, day visits, or using a cattery – we thought we’d ask the nursing team at AllPets Vets to offer a few tips on what to look out for, depending on the option you choose. If you’re opting for a cattery, and you don’t already know your cat’s vaccination status, call us to check.
Whichever cat holiday care option you decide on, you should make arrangements early to give yourself the best chance of finding the perfect solution for your cat. Use our cat holiday checklists below to help with your research.
Cat sitting services in Prestatyn and Rhyl
Daily visits can be made by a neighbour or professional pet sitter. Live-in care is similar, but your cat will benefit from company and can live almost as normal. Check with the sitter to ensure they offer:
- Regular visits/interaction: Cats should be visited or played with at least twice daily so make sure this is agreed and your cat sitter is up for it
- Meals: The volume and routine should ideally be the same as if you were at home
- Water: Fresh water must always be available
- Litter: Cat litter trays should be cleaned twice daily, especially during warm weather
Choosing a responsible cat sitter in Prestatyn and Rhyl
You’ll feel much more reassured while you’re away if you know that someone with knowledge and experience is looking after your cat. Our vet nurse, Louise, says you should check:
- References: If it isn’t someone you know, get contact details for some of their clients
- Knowledge: Ask if they can spot signs of ill health and deal with specific issues
- Skills: If your cat needs regular medication, ensure they can administer it
- Quality time: The person should be happy to offer adequate companionship
- Insurance: If your sitter is a professional, they should be insured, so check their docs
Catteries in Prestatyn and Rhyl
If you’re going for the cattery option, then personal recommendation and a pre-stay visit to check the place out is a must. When you visit, talk to the staff and get a feel for how they will take care of your cat. They should be welcoming, ask plenty of questions about your cat, and allow you to have a good look around the cattery. When viewing the facilities, you should check:
- The general cleanliness of the units, litter trays, and feeding bowls
- Ask yourself if the cats look happy, content, and adequately stimulated
- Check indoor and secure outdoor areas for your cat to exercise (if they need both)
- Look for adequate ventilation and ensure the accommodation has a working smoke alarm
- Check for any obvious escape routes and raise them with the staff
Finally, properly run and licensed catteries should insist on seeing an up-to-date vaccination card, showing recent vaccinations against cat flu and enteritis. If they do not, go somewhere else.
You have probably heard the old saying about cats and curiosity being a dangerous combination, so how do you give them any kind of safety net as they embark on a life of adventure? Identification, that’s how.
June is National Microchipping Month, so whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, read on to discover why all cats in Prestatyn and Rhyl need a microchip, by law, in 2022.
Find your lost cat
While some cats probably shudder at the thought of leaving their favourite sofa, let alone the back garden, other cats can wander for miles. What all cats have in common though, is the ability to get picked up by a helpful passer-by or an animal warden for looking lost and taken to a veterinary practice or rescue centre.
Most cats don’t wear a collar and ID tag so without any form of identification, reuniting the two of you could be impossible. When the owner cannot be found, cats are typically put up for rehoming.
The team at AllPets Vets recommend cat microchipping as the best way of ensuring your feline friend can be quickly reunited with you. Contact us to book a cat microchip appointment.
New cat microchip law UK
‘Lost & found’ isn’t the only reason our Prestatyn and Rhyl veterinary team recommend cat microchipping.
DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has announced that cat microchipping will become compulsory in the UK in 2022 as part of a larger animal welfare action plan. The move is aimed at making more cats identifiable, in turn helping with issues such as cat thefts, strays, and deceased cats left by the road following traffic accidents.
This new law, which will carry a fine of £500 for non-compliance, is welcomed by many cat charities including Cats Matter and Cats Protection.
As part of the legislative changes, all cats over 20 weeks of age (unless there is an animal health or welfare reason certified by a Vet) must be microchipped by law. This coincides with the typical age kittens can be neutered from, so both procedures can be done by our team here at AllPets Vets before your kitten ventures outside. If your cat is already neutered, microchipping only takes a few minutes. Call us for more information on 01745 853 366.
What does cat microchipping involve?
Microchips are tiny electronic devices, no bigger than a grain of rice, which are injected under the skin on the back of a cat’s neck. The procedure is quick and perfectly safe.
Your cat’s microchip carries your unique registration number, which links to a database where all your contact information is stored. One of our Prestatyn and Rhyl veterinary surgeons or nurses, and staff at some animal shelters, can scan the microchip and access the database to get your details.
It is likely to also be an offence to not keep your contact details up to date on the database, as it is with dogs. And why wouldn’t you? Out of date contact details are no use to your cat!
Don’t delay, book your cat’s microchipping today
At AllPets Vets, we recommend that owners get ahead of this new law and get their cat microchipped as soon as possible. The unthinkable could happen today and a microchip could make all the difference in reuniting you with your cat.
Cats are very inquisitive creatures and often get themselves into trouble as a result. Head Vet Richard Ryvar and the team at AllPets Vets know this only too well having seen many cat emergencies over the years.
It is always better to be prepared for cat emergencies – pop our number in your phone if you don’t have it already. You may want to give it to your neighbours, family, friends, and your holiday cat sitter too if you have one.
Here’s our number: 01745 853 366
Dealing with Common Cat Emergencies
According to Richard, some of the most common cat emergencies include:
- Road traffic accidents
- Wounds / bleeding
- Broken bones
Below is some more information on each cat health problem and what you need to do in the event of an accident.
Cats and road traffic accidents
With many cats spending lots of time outdoors in Prestatyn and Rhyl, road traffic accidents are always a possibility. Injuries can range from a gentle knock that gives the cat a mild concussion, to more severe broken bones, wounds, or impact to their organs. It is important to ensure that you follow DR ABC’S advice;
- Danger – ensure it is safe for you and the animal before you assist them
- Response – check if they are responsive to you talking
- Airway – is their airway clear?
- Breathing – are they breathing?
- Circulation – do they have a pulse or heartbeat?
- Send – get someone to find help
If there is an obvious bleed, you can use clean material and pressure to slow blood loss – read more about this below. Never try to ‘set’ or straighten a broken bone yourself. It is important that any cat suspected of being hit by a vehicle is checked over by a Vet to ensure there is no internal damage or risk of shock from the trauma. Call AllPets Vets on 01745 853 366.
Wounds or any bleeds should be treated as a first-aid measure to reduce the amount of blood loss. If they are bleeding use a wound pad, a clean towel, or bandaging to press on the wound to help reduce the amount of blood loss and get them to a Vet straight away. Contact your Vet first to let them prepare for your cat’s arrival and injury needs.
Burns often occur when cats jump onto hot cooking surfaces; they can also come from freshly tarred roads, surfaces treated with bleach or other chemicals, electrical sources, or being scalded by hot liquids. If your cat has a burn (not chemical), run cold water over it for a minimum of 5 minutes before getting them to the Vet – try placing a damp cloth over the burn and adding cold water, or immersing the burned area in cold water – be careful as most cats don’t like water. Do not apply any creams to the burn and ensure your cat is kept warm and calm to avoid shock. For chemical burns, wear gloves, goggles, and other safety gear and contact our Vets for first aid advice.
There are many different poisons that can harm cats with some of the most common being antifreeze, rat poison, paracetamol, and lily plants. If your cat has potentially been poisoned move the item away from them immediately. Always call your Vet straight away and be ready to take your cat there quickly so that treatment can commence without haste. Do not try to make your cat sick as this can make things worse. If they have rolled in something such as oil or have lily pollen on their fur, put a buster collar or shirt over them so that they can’t lick and ingest the poison and try to wipe it off with a damp cloth.
Cats can have seizures for many different reasons. If you ever see your cat having a seizure do not pick them up or put anything over the top of them. Turn off any stimulants such as TVs or Radios. Make the room dark and remove anything they may hurt themselves on. Time the seizure and contact our Veterinary team.
Heatstroke and your cat
Heatstroke is common in the summer months, particularly if your cat has managed to become trapped somewhere it is very hot, like a shed or greenhouse. If they are exposed to intense prolonged heat use tepid running water to help cool them down. Do not put any damp towels over them, keep them in a cool area, ensure they have access to plenty of water, and phone the Vet – 01745 853 366.
Treating insect stings
Again, because of cats’ inquisitive nature, they often end up getting stung. If this has happened, pull (or scrape using a credit card) the sting out and apply either bicarbonate of soda to a bee sting or diluted vinegar to a wasp sting. The area may be very swollen and inflamed so apply an ice pack. If the sting is anywhere near your cat’s eyes, mouth, or throat contact our Vets as any swelling here could potentially close airways.
You will never stop cats from being adventurous and unfortunately, having accidents. Our Vet Richard recommends the best thing you can do is to be prepared – know how to apply basic first aid techniques as described above and always have our number to hand.
Call us in an emergency on 01745 853 366.
Cats and dogs are naturally inquisitive animals. This has many benefits but can also get them into trouble! A common problem in the spring and summer months is Bee or Wasp stings. Our Vet Richard Ryvar, has some advice for owners of cats and dogs on this topic.
To help you tell the difference between bees, wasps, and hornets, our Prestatyn and Rhyl vet nurses have put together a handy guide for you to download.
Why do bees sting cats and dogs?
Often in the warmer months we spend more time outdoors and naturally our animals will then spend more time nosing at the flowers. This is typically how cats and dogs get stung as their inquisitive noses disturb the bees and wasps collecting pollen. Trying to catch a buzzing insect can also seem like a fun game…until they get stung!
Signs that your cat or dog has been stung
In most cases, owners will not actually see the stinging occur. Instead, you may see your pet suddenly shaking or pawing at their head or body, or they have a swollen face all of a sudden.
Typical bee and wasp sting symptoms include:
- Swelling (often around the muzzle where they have been sticking their nose in)
- Constantly licking either at a specific area or their lips if the sting is inside the mouth
- Redness around the area where the sting went in
- Pawing at the area
- Vocalising more than usual
Severe symptoms could include:
- Breathing difficulties, especially in brachycephalic breeds if the sting is around the throat area
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Allergic reaction such as anaphylactic shock (although this would be very rare)
How to treat a bee or wasp sting on a cat or dog
Unless you saw the stinging occur, it will be difficult to tell if your pet was stung by a wasp or a bee. Either way, you can use our first aid tips below.
First, you want to make sure the sting is removed. Our Prestatyn and Rhyl vet nurses suggest using something flat like a credit card to scrape the sting off your pet’s skin and dispose of it. Avoid using tweezers to pull the sting out as they could squeeze venom into your pet.
Second, if you do know whether it was a bee or a wasp, you could apply the correct substance to soothe the pain;
- Wasp = vinegar/lemon juice
- Bee = bicarbonate of soda & water paste
Do you know the difference between a bee and a wasp? Download our Know Your Insects Guide
If you do not know the culprit, or after you have used the above first aid advice, you can then apply a cold pack to the swelling.
When to call a Vet
If you are at all concerned, especially if the swelling is causing further distress to your pet or is likely to affect an airway, you should always ring a Vet for advice. Our veterinary teams are here to help, just give us a call on 01745 853 366.
Some pets may need pain medication, which can be prescribed by one of our Vets too.
Prestatyn pet owners sometimes ask if they can use antihistamines to help with the reaction; these can only be prescribed by the Vet to ensure the correct dosage is given, and because some ingredients could possibly be fatal in some brands.
Just to be safe this season, why not print our Know Your Insect guide and stick it on your fridge to help you spot the differences between bees, wasps, and hornets?
Remember to share this advice with your pet-loving friends on Facebook!
With warmer temperatures and pets outside more in spring, parasitic problems can start to ramp up. Your cat cannot avoid all parasites but can be protected from them and believe us when we say, prevention is so much better than cure.
Our Prestatyn and Rhyl nursing team have some advice below for cat owners on which parasites to be more aware of this spring.
Why not come and talk to AllPets Vets’ nurses about the right combination of ongoing flea and worm treatments for your cat?
Fleas are tiny 2-3mm long, blood-sucking parasites that are common in the environment. They are dark brown/black, oval-shaped critters with legs, that grow and turn a lighter colour the more blood they ingest. They excrete a mixture of blood and waste, leaving tiny specs of ‘flea dirt’ behind.
Fleas can jump up to 100 times their body length onto ‘hosts’ e.g. cats, dogs, rabbits, mice etc. Fleas can live up to one year and females can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Around 95% of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae live in the environment (including your home) and not on pets. Fleas can carry diseases and will irritate your cat, other pets, and your human family.
Six common signs your cat has fleas:
- You can see them moving about
- Flea dirt (looks like tiny dark specs) – common around the tummy and groin
- Your cat is scratching excessively
- Bold or sore patches, red irritated skin, spots, or scars from scratching
- Thickened skin in areas such as the edges of the ears
- Members of your human family have unexplained bites
AllPets Vets’ nurses advise that if your cat has fleas you will need to act fast, treating your cat, other pets, and your home to eradicate them. Ask our team about cat flea treatments.
The most common types of intestinal worms that affect cats of all ages are tapeworms and roundworms. Quite often cats won’t show symptoms of having worms until there is a heavy burden of them causing weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, irritation around the bottom area, and a failure to thrive. Some cats may appear constantly hungry but do not put on weight.
- Roundworms – eggs are passed through cat faeces and can remain viable in the environment for several years. Cats might eat eggs from the environment or eat mice and rats who have eaten the eggs and become intermediate hosts.
- Tapeworms – eggs are released from these long flat worms into their host and look like grains of rice in the faeces, around your cat’s bottom and/or in their bed. Intermediate hosts tend to be mice and fleas, which cats eat or ingest when grooming.
- Hookworms – can damage the intestinal lining and cause anaemia, bleeding, and weight loss, but are thankfully rare in the UK. Eggs are eaten from a contaminated environment, or a ‘host’ is eaten. Their larvae can also burrow into your cat’s skin.
Ticks on cats
Ticks are more common in certain areas of the country and generally become more active in warmer months. They tend to live in long grass and fields where livestock graze. Like fleas, they jump onto their hosts and attach their mouthparts to suck blood, growing as they feast. Ticks are particularly dangerous as they can transmit Lyme disease and jump onto humans and other pets too.
AllPets Vets’ nurses advise that if you notice your cat scratching or over-grooming in one area, you should check them for ticks (and fleas). You may feel a small bump under your cat’s skin before you see these tiny critters. It is important to remember that ticks need to be twisted and pulled out slowly using a special tick remover; pulling a tick straight out can leave the head in and increase the risk of disease transmission.
Effective parasite protection
When it comes to preventative tick, flea, and worm treatments for cats, many over-the-counter brands are not effective. The best protection comes from putting your cat on a regular programme of vet-recommended parasite treatments, rather than a one-off treatment when a problem occurs.
Book an appointment with our experienced nurses who can talk to you about the best combination of treatments for your cat, which you can get from our practices.
If 2021 was a hectic year, your cat probably felt it too. Now is the perfect time for you both to de-stress and focus on wellbeing. Our Head Vet, Richard Ryvar, has some proactive advice for helping your cat get their ‘mojo’ back and enjoy the year ahead.
Booking a visit with our fully qualified veterinary nurses in between your cat’s annual vaccination and vet health check, is a great way to assess how they are doing. Our Prestatyn and Rhyl nurses can advise you on ways to boost your cat’s health and mood.
Stroking and brushing your cat’s fur has health benefits for the both of you, thanks to its calming and soothing nature. Cats do love to groom themselves but most will enjoy a little extra help, and will appreciate dirt, debris, and matted hair being removed.
Plus, a cat grooming session is the ideal opportunity for the two of you to bond, and for you to check for lumps, bumps, and fleas. You will need a cat grooming brush and/or grooming glove, and a flea comb.
How often you groom your cat depends on the length of their coat – long-haired cats need grooming daily, whereas shorter coats will be fine with a weekly brush.
Remember, we’re always on the end of the phone should you spot anything concerning whilst grooming your cat. Call us on 01745 853 366.
Cat enrichment & exercise
Providing sources of mental stimulation and enrichment is important for your cat’s wellbeing too. Bored cats can become unhappy and start to develop behavioural issues.
Cat grooming is one form of enrichment, but you should also include some more energetic options. Our cat-loving nurses have pulled together six enrichment ideas that will get your cat moving more, as we all know exercise is good for the body and mind.
Try these ideas:
- Make mealtimes more interesting with cat puzzle feeders, or hide dry kibble around your home.
- Buy toys that help your cat use their natural predator instincts, like ‘prey’ on the end of string, or moving toys they can chase.
- Make DIY toys out of cardboard boxes, tubes, string, and other household items.
- Teach them tricks – this will take patience, perseverance, and treats!
- Scratching posts give cats something to do and help keep their nails trim.
- Try making an obstacle course or a cat home gym – just search YouTube for lots of ideas.
Another way to make your cat happy and healthy is to feed them a good quality, nutritious diet. With so many different foods out there, it can be difficult to know what to choose. Come and talk to our Vet Nurses in Prestatyn and Rhyl about the best types of cat food for age, lifestyle, dental care, and many other health needs.
You may have heard the term ‘compulsory cat microchipping’ in the news last year. You may have even popped it on your long list of things to do. In this article, our head vet Richard, explains why making cat microchipping a top priority in 2022 will give you and your cat the best start to the new year.
Compulsory cat microchipping
In spring of last year, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announced that cat microchipping would become compulsory in the UK as part of a larger animal welfare action plan. The move was aimed at making more cats identifiable, in turn helping with issues such as cat thefts, strays, and deceased cats left by the road following traffic accidents.
It’s only a matter of time before this new law starts being enforced and like compulsory dog microchipping, non-compliance will carry a fine of up to £500 – which wouldn’t be a great start to the new year for pet owners in Prestatyn and Rhyl.
Important reasons to microchip your cat
Besides avoiding a potential fine, getting your cat microchipped can make all the difference if the unthinkable should happen. Cats go missing for several reasons including:
- Wandering off and getting lost
- ‘Helpful’ passers-by thinking the cat looks lost and taking them to a vet or rescue centre
- Pet theft – which has increased dramatically since the first lockdown
- Road traffic accidents – sadly, not enough drivers stop to report the accident or help the cat.
Richard explains that a microchip can’t prevent your cat from going missing or getting injured; it will however, significantly increase the chances of you being reunited with them. If your cat is found and taken to a vet practice, a rescue centre, or picked up by the local animal warden, these organisations will use a cat microchip scanner to obtain ownership details.
According to a news article in the Hereford Times last year, 60 cats or dogs go missing every hour in the UK. Every year, tens of thousands of cats are reported lost and 25% of those are never reunited with their owners – two large factors in this are:
- Many cats still aren’t microchipped
- For those cats with microchips, some owners forget to update their details if they move house or change phone numbers
At what age should cats be microchipped?
A good time to have your kitten microchipped is during their neutering procedure at around 4 months old, before they venture outdoors. Older cats can be microchipped at any age and it is a quick and harmless procedure. Our experienced vets and nurses can give you more advice on this so please do get in touch.
How much does it cost to microchip a cat? About the same as it would cost you to buy a posh hot chocolate each week for a month.
So, are you ready to get your cat’s new year off to the best start?
You’ve seen the memes with cats stuck in Christmas trees, but what else can go wrong during the festive season when you have cats? Head Vet Richard Ryvar, shares common causes of Christmas cat injuries and advises how to avoid them.
Given how curious cats are, it makes sense to keep our number in your phone just in case your cat gets into any bother.
Call 01745 853 366 for cat advice
Six common cat concerns at Christmas in Prestatyn:
Road traffic accidents
With all the noise and commotion that comes with Christmas, including extra guests at your home, cats often roam outdoors to escape the mayhem. As it gets darker earlier during winter, your cat is more at risk of being hit by a car. Richard recommends fitting your cat with a reflective collar and providing ‘safe spaces’ indoors for your cat to take solace in when it gets too much.
Consuming harmful food & drink
Christmas can be a fun time of year for cats, with tasty morsels of food and leftover drinks all over the place to try. Some items such as pigs in blankets could give your cat an upset stomach, whereas toxic treats like chocolate or mince pies (containing dried fruit) could cause them severe harm. It’s wise to keep food, alcohol, and paracetamol (for the Boxing Day hangover) behind a closed cupboard, pantry, or fridge door and away from curious cats.
Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are festive favourites for many households. Unfortunately for cats, they can cause a variety of health problems ranging from nausea and vomiting, to collapse and seizures. Richard recommends keeping harmful Christmas plants out of reach, or not keeping them at all.
– This substance is highly toxic to cats but tastes sweet (so we hear). Clean up any spills and keep the container somewhere your cat can’t get to it – remember cats can climb!
Christmas tree injuries
Saying cats and Christmas trees don’t mix well is an understatement in some households. Cats love to play with delicate baubles and wires, climb the tree, eat the needles, and rub themselves against the branches – all of which can end badly. Richard has this advice for cat owners:
- Consider choosing an artificial tree – real fir trees produce toxic oils that can harm cats when eaten or absorbed through the skin and eating pine needles can cause a lot of pain.
- Smaller Christmas trees should cause less damage to your cat if they fall over – secure your tree to a wall or ceiling or use a heavy base to steady it.
- Choose shatterproof or soft hanging tree decorations and nothing edible if you have pets.
- Keep wires contained so they don’t look like string to play with to your cat.
- Decorate your tree without your cat in the room and avoid leaving your cat alone with it.
Burns & scalds
Cats can easily get burned or scalded accidentally at Christmas time, with knocked over candles and cooking pans being the common causes. Avoid injuries by keeping candles out of reach, or your cat out of the room, especially the kitchen when you’re cooking.
We hope you found Richard’s advice useful. As always, if you have any concerns about your cat, get in touch with us here at AllPets Vets in Prestatyn and Rhyl.
Morning sickness, increased appetite, nesting…a growing abdomen…surely not? Indeed, your cat could be having kittens! AllPets Vets’ head nurse Louise, has some helpful advice for unprepared owners of cat-mums-to-be.
What to do if you suspect your cat is pregnant
First, don’t panic. Look for other cat pregnancy signs: red and enlarged nipples, 1-2kg of extra weight, and changes in behaviour such as wanting more fuss. Weight gain can also be associated with other conditions so a health check would be sensible.
If you have your suspicions, or your cat doesn’t seem herself, it’s advisable to book a check-up with one of our vets. They will do an all-over health check, and may be able to confirm a pregnancy just 15 days into her term using ultrasound. By day 40, our vets should be able to tell you the number of kittens your cat is carrying. Cat pregnancies can vary from 61 – 72 days in total.
How to make your cat’s pregnancy comfortable
Be sure to ask us what to expect when your cat is expecting. From a cat pregnancy timeline, to safe flea & worm treatments and the birthing process, our experienced vets can help you get prepared. You will also need:
- More food: Pregnant cats eat around 25% more food especially in the last 3-4 weeks. Regular meals will help keep her and her unborn kittens healthy.
- More water: She should also have access to more fresh water whilst pregnant, birthing, and lactating. Keep this out of reach of the kittens during and post-birth to avoid drowning.
- A kittening box: Create a safe space in a quiet corner, away from family members and other pets. Line a large box or cat bed with clean blankets and sheets (have extra ready too). Introduce her to it at least 2 weeks before the impending due date.
- Loving homes: ‘Lucy’s Law’ means kittens can no longer be purchased from anyone other than a breeder, or animal shelter. It’s a good idea to start looking for suitable homes early in the process.
How could this have happened?
Many cat pregnancies are unplanned; think unneutered cats in the wrong place at the ‘right’ time. Until your female cat has been neutered, she is at risk of becoming pregnant from just 4 months old. Typically, between February and October, cats have multiple short ‘heat’ cycles and are ready to mate.
You wouldn’t think this, but cats can get pregnant whilst pregnant! Some cats continue to have heat cycles during their pregnancy, so they are at risk of being ‘successfully mated’ multiple times.
Neutering is the only sure-fire way to avoid your cat having kittens, and it can be done from around 6 months of age. Stopping your cat going outdoors and mixing with unneutered male cats is recommended too.
Is it dangerous for a kitten to get pregnant?
Cats should ideally be fully grown and healthy before they get pregnant – around 18-24 months of age. Any younger and there is a risk to your pet’s health as she has not fully developed herself. Carrying kittens will use up valuable nutrients needed for her own growth and development.
At AllPets Vets in Rhyl, we’re highly experienced when it comes to cat pregnancy and kittens. Our team is happy to help if you have any questions.