Common Cat Questions

When should I spay/neuter my cat?
How long do cats live?
How can I tell if my cat is sick?
What types of vaccinations does my cat need?
What should I look for in a Veterinary Hospital?
What should I do about flea control?
Are there any tests my cat should have done?
What should I look for in a kitten/cat?
Are there any plants that are toxic to cats?

When should I spay/neuter my cat?
We recommend that cats are spayed and castrated prior to reaching sexual maturity, which is usually at 6 months of age. In doing so, you can prevent your pet from engaging in certain unwanted behaviours, which can become permanent ( such as SPRAYING in the unneutered male). Spaying your female cat before her first heat can also prevent her from getting mammary cancer later in life. Mammary cancer is usually always malignant. There is NO good reason to not neuter or not spay your cat.
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How long do cats live?
Cats can live for a very long time given the right care mixed with the right genetics. In our clinic, we like to think that the lifespan for a cat should be around 18 years of age. We have had many patients that have lived into their early twenties with ease and grace, and even a lucky few to 25 years of age. Unfortunately, statistics show that the average lifespan for cats is probably 13 years of age. This average however, is including outdoor cats whose lives are often cut short by unexpected tradegies including being hit by cars, attacked by dogs, foxes and raccoons and contracting viral diseases (feline leukemia, feline infectious peritonitis and feline immunodeficiency virus) after being bitten by carrier cats.
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How can I tell if my cat is sick?
Simple observation of even the most subtle of changes in your cat’s behaviour and its eating, elimination and grooming habits are usually your best clue that your cat is not well. If any changes are noticed, then you are best to contact our hospital. The veterinarians are able to let you know if they feel that these changes are normal or indicative of an illness. The veterinarians often rely heavily on owners’ descriptions of these changes and events, so be prepared to answer multiple questions about your cat’s habits and these changes.
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What types of vaccinations does my cat need?
We mold your cat’s vaccination protocol to your cat’s needs, which means that not every cat will receive the same vaccines every year. By asking you questions about your lifestyle as well as your cat’s, we will find the proper regime to keep your cat healthy and free from contagious disease. We emphasize the annual physical exam, discussing any problems that are detected during this exam, wellness, blood and urine analyses. We then use vaccines, where neccessary, to complete your preventive medicine package. There are several vaccines available on the market now. We generally limit our patients to Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicirus and Panleukopenia (Distemper), Rabies and Feline Leukemia Virus. We personally do not use the Feline Infectious Peritonitis Vaccine because of the possibility of problems associated with it. As our clients know already, we do not give all of these vaccines annually. For many years now, the Feline Leukemia and Rabies vaccines have been under attack for causing tumors at the site of injection. Consequently, we encourage minimizing the use of these vaccines. Again, we will discuss the best indiviualized protocol for your cat. Information concerning these issues is available at our clinic for our clients.
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What should I look for in a Veterinary Hospital?
Choosing a veterinary hospital for your cat is like choosing a doctor for yourself. You should find one that you trust, with doctors that you communicate with well. Most of all, you should find a hospital before you need one.  Asking friends for recommendations or asking your current veterinarian for a referral if you are moving from the area, are certainly two ways of approaching this task. Once you have located a new veterinary clinic, introduce yourself and your cat to the new clinic, even if you have to schedule a nail trim. Certainly a facility dealing exclusively with cats, such as Bay Cat Hospital, has a better chance being more cat-friendly. Ask for a tour of the clinic. Does the clinic have a separate isolation area for cats that are harbouring certain viral diseases? Is it clean? Observe the staff members and how they treat cats and their owners. Are they courteous and caring? Does the clinic have laboratory facilities that can give you access to quick and reliable lab results? Is the equipment modern? A good idea is to discuss cat health philosophies with the potential veterinarians to see if theirs matches yours. Having a veterinarian who communicates well with you and is an integral part of a well-cat program will help make that cat a happy member of your family. It will also make you happy to have them there.
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What should I do about flea control?
Fleas are not only a nuisance to your cat but can transmit worms, cause serious skin problems, and often exacerbate other illnesses by causing so much stress to the cat . The aim in flea control is targeted at prevention rather than treatment. Luckily, flea control has been revolutionized over the past several years, by the introduction of safe and easy treatments, ranging from once a month oral liquids or topical applications to a biannual injections. We will help you find the product that will best suit your needs and abilities. Preventives are usually started in the spring, before the flea season begins. Our flea season seems to begin in May and lasts into October. However, if fleas got into your home before your cat was treated, the fleas can live in your house all year around.
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Are there any tests my cat should have done?
We recommend testing your kitten or cat for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodefiency Virus. From the test results, we can make recommendations in regards to many issues. It is an invaluable bit of information. And remember, a positive test is not always a death sentence. Ask us about this test. We also promote periodic blood and urine tests. These are important because cats are very stoic by nature, in that they do not always let us know that they are not feeling well. Blood and urine tests can pick up diseases that are smoldering in their little bodies. Consequently diseases can be cured or maintained before becoming untreatable.
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What should I look for in a kitten/cat?
Once you have decided on adopting a kitten or cat there are many things to consider. We think that the most important issue is type of temperment that you would like your new family member to have. By far the safest bet when choosing temperment is by adopting an adult . By adopting an adult you will already know whether they are aloof or affectionate and so on. By watching a litter of kittens you may also be able to see what their temperments are like, however these clues are not always as predictable. Other considerations are the length of its fur, maybe even the colour of its fur is important to you. Do you like purebreeds or does a domestic breed suit your fancy? It may also make a difference as to whether the new family member is for company for another cat or if it will be by itself at home. Cats and kittens come in all shapes and sizes and temperaments. We feel that you will know when the right cat comes along. They have a way of finding us rather than us finding them. We are always happy to help you with advice when the time comes.
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Are there any plants that are toxic to cats?
There are many plants that are toxic to our cats. The best plan is to keep plants, except those intended for cats to eat (cat grass, catnip), away from their inquisitive mouths. Even a plant not known for its toxicity can cause severe gastroenteritis. Know the plants in your home and if you feel that your cat has become ill and that plant is at the source of it contact us immediately. Remember that something as seemingly benign as drinking water from a vase holding a Lily of the Valley can prove fatal to your cat.
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