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Responsible pet ownership checklist

Things to consider:

Feeding

Adapting the feeding program as your kitten grows helps to prevent obesity, joint problems and other disease such as diabetes later in life. Speak to your veterinarian regarding any advice you need on the type of food during the different life stages of your cat (e.g. kitten through to an older cat) and the amount you should be feeding it.

Dental care

It is now commonly recognised that many cats suffer from dental problems even at an early age. This is difficult to avoid, as most cats will not relish having their teeth brushed. Some diets have been developed which may help to reduce the incidence of dental disease.

It is best to have your cat’s teeth checked on an annual basis. The veterinarian can check them routinely at the time of annual vaccination.

Puberty

Generally, between 5 and 8 months your kitten will go through puberty. Desexing both ‘toms’ and ‘queens’ at an early age helps prevent straying and so reduces the risk of accidental mating and contracting infectious diseases, as well as preventing unwanted kittens.

The operation necessary to desex both males and females is straightforward and well worth the cost.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations generally start around 6 to 8 weeks of age. An initial kitten course needs to be completed (usually by around 16 weeks of age) and then booster vaccinations are required for ongoing protection. Talk to your veterinarian regarding an appropriate vaccination program for your cat or kitten.

You can download the FREE FRONTLINE PET CHECK app to create a complete profile of your pet, including its vaccination schedule.

Microchipping

Microchipping is generally done at an early age, your kitten may already be microchipped when you acquire it (remember to update changes such as new owner details and change of address as soon as possible). Ask your veterinarian for further details regarding microchipping at your kitten’s first check up.

External parasites

Control fleas with FRONTLINE PLUS, or control fleas and ticks with FRONTLINE SPRAY.

Internal parasites – worming

Don’t forget worming preparations do not have lasting activity – you must regularly worm your cat.

 

Indoor/outdoor cats

Cats are very individualistic animals and many will be very happy to live indoors all the time, provided that the environment is suitable i.e. clean litter tray, regular supply of fresh food and water, scratching posts and areas that allow the cat to climb and explore without causing damage to themselves.

Other cats find it very stressful if they are not allowed to explore the ‘great outdoors’. Be aware that most road traffic injuries to cats occur during the hours of darkness so it is best to keep cats indoors at night.

Transportation of cats

Even a normally placid cat can become quite frantic whilst being transported. Always use a secure well-ventilated container lined with newspaper or a towel, ideally one that has an opening at the top rather than at one end. It is much easier to lift a scared cat out of this type of carrier. Check with your veterinarian for synthetic analogue of pheromone treatments you can use to make your cat feel more comfortable in this environment.

Holiday provision

Most cats do not travel well and are very territorial so it is not a good idea to take them on holiday with you. If you intend to be away overnight provision must be made for the care of your cat. Either arrange for a neighbour or relative to call at the house at least twice daily. Alternatively your cat should be boarded at a reputable facility. Visit the cattery first so that you know that the facilities are of the standard you would expect.