A lot of people are put off from adopting a cat with health issues, we are here to give you advice and support on the best way to look after and treat your pets.
Every year we rescue hundreds of unwanted kittens which is heart-breaking. The only solution to this problem is neutering. It is a simple operation that will benefit your cat in many ways.
With over seven million cats in the UK, we haven’t got the resources to care for every cat, and feral colonies are becoming a growing concern.
The benefits of neutering,
As well as preventing unwanted litters, neutering a cat has many other benefits, such as:
Less strain for the Cat
The hormone levels in unneutered cats can lead to increased activity and restlessness, which can put a physical strain on their bodies. For females the process of producing and looking after a litter of kittens is exhausting.
A healthier and longer life
Unneutered female cats are more likely to suffer from pyometra (an infection in their womb) and cancers of the ovaries, uterus and mammary glands later in life. Female cats should be spayed at 4 months (before her first heat) so that she cannot have kittens and is protected from these diseases.
Unneutered cats are more likely to contract life-threatening diseases such as FIV which is passed on via the infected saliva of another cat. A neutered male cat is less likely to fight over territory and females, which reduces the risk of him contracting these diseases.
More attention for you
Neutered cats aren’t interested in mating so they focus their attention on their humans. Neutered cats are less likely to wander far from home or get into a traffic accident.
Preventing cat odours
Getting your male cat neutered can prevent him from spraying foul-smelling urine in your home to mark his territory. It can also prevent aggression.
Helping rescue centres
Charities such as our constantly struggle to keep up with the number of unwanted cats and kittens that are need of a new home. If you adopt a cat from us (or another reputable rescue centre) your cat will already be neutered.
Your Cat’s Diet
Extra weight on a small animal like a cat can lead to serious health problems and it’s essential that we help to keep our pet’s weight in the healthy range.
How much should my cat weigh?
As a general guide, a domestic cat should weigh between 8 -10lbs (around 3.5 to 4.5 kilos). Some cats are stockier than others but if you can feel the ribs of your cat, it’s probably not overweight. But to be sure, have your cat weighed by a vet.
How can my cat lose weight?
The same principles apply to cats as humans. They will lose weight if they eat less calories and exercise more.
Much will depend on the age and health of your cat, so always get advice from your vet. But if you cat is overweight you should:
- Give it smaller more frequent feeds
- Weigh or measure the amount of food you provide
- Make sure your cat has a daily fresh supply of water
- Encourage your cat to exercise more by engaging it in play and providing cat toys and if possible, a climbing frame.
Your vet may suggest a low calorie food, but you should never put your cat on a ‘crash diet’.
Once you know how much food your cat needs, stick to it. It may seem like too little to you, but it will keep your cat at a healthy weight. For cats, it’s hard to get the weight off once they get overweight.
If your cat goes outdoors, there is a danger that other people might feed it. To prevent this, you can put a ‘don’t feed me’ collar onto your cat, and speak to your near neighbours to explain that you cat is on a diet and they should not feed it.
What should I NOT feed my cat?
- Tuna. Most cats love tuna and a small amount as a treat is OK. But a diet of tuna will make your cat unwell. It does not have all the ingredients that your cat needs and too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning.
- Milk and other dairy products. Despite the popular image of a cat drinking a saucer a milk, most cats are lactose-intolerant. Their digestive systems cannot process dairy foods and they may cause diarrhoea.
- Grapes and raisins. Keep your cat away from the fruit bowl. Fruit is not good for cats and in particular, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.
- Chocolate. It is not a treat for a cat and can be lethal. It can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and death.
- Table scraps. These may contain bones which will choke your cat. Table scraps are often very fatty which can cause an upset stomach and vomiting in cats.
- Raw meat or raw fish. The biggest danger with raw meat or fish is that it can contain bacteria that leads to food poisoning. Also, raw fish contains an enzyme which can destroy thiamine, a B vitamin which is essential to your cat’s health.
- Dog food. A diet of dog food will leave your cat undernourished as it is not produced to meet the needs of a cat.
- Liver. A small amount of cooked liver is OK, but too much leads to vitamin A toxicity. This can affect your cat’s bones and lead to osteoporosis.
- Treats. Just like human’s too many treats will make your cat overweight.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a viral infection that attacks a cat’s immune system. Because of this, it can cause some health problems, but most cats with this condition can live a relatively normal life.
It can only be transmitted from cat to cat, not to humans or other animals. FIV belongs to the same group as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which is why many people are frightened of it. Because it is sometimes wrongly known as ‘Feline Aids’, it strikes unnecessary terror into the heart of many cat-owners. But the viral strains used in laboratories on experimental cats were very virulent, and FIV strains in cats living normal lives tend to be much more benign, and may never cause disease.
Infected cats carry the virus in blood and saliva and infection is usually passed on when an infected cat bites another.
The saliva of the infected cat can then be injected directly into the blood of the cat it has bitten. But even if this happens, the virus is very weak and not easily passed on. Conversely, a cat which bites an infected cat, is even less likely to be infected, as the virus would not be injected straight into the blood stream, although there is still an element of risk.
Cats who fight, usually tom cats, are most at risk. But if your cat is neutered, it is less likely to fight other cats, and is less likely to be infected. There is a higher incidence of FIV in feral cats as they tend to be unneutered and they compete for food.
Signs that a cat has become infected can vary greatly, so it is not always apparent until a blood test is carried out. A cat may develop raised lymph nodes around six to eight weeks after being infected. A high temperature is another symptom. Sometimes diarrhoea or conjunctivitis may develop, possibly lasting days or even weeks, with the cat then returning to apparent health. Other common signs are gingivitis (gum inflammation), sneezing, snuffling, a discharge from the nose or eyes, or kidney failure. The eyes or brain can be affected in a very small number of cases, resulting in changes in behaviour. If you have any concerns that you cat might have contacted FIV, seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.