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Cattery for Cats, Kennels for Dogs!

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 27th, 2017 at 5:19 pm

At Catseye Cattery, our philosophy is simple. We believe that cats should never be boarded in a facility that has dogs too! The two species have totally different needs and cats especially require a calm, peaceful environment to be cared for in!

It really only stand to reason that you should always try to book your cat/s into a cats ONLY facility. Dogs should never be near to the cattery units or indeed simply “walking around” the cattery!

Some of our clients do have dogs, but the vast majority for cat owners would never want their loved-one anywhere near to a dog, and certainly not for a prolonged period such as a holiday!

So, if catteries are new to you, pop round to Catseye Cattery for a cattery tour to fully appreciate our first-class facilities for CATS ONLY!

Filed under: Cat Care, Catseye News — Tags: — Michael

Summertime Cat Care from Expert Vet Mike Hall

This entry was posted on Monday, July 4th, 2016 at 6:08 pm

“Summertime, and the living is easy…” apparently, although as I write this I can hear the rain hitting the windows. We all love the Summer – warmer weather, the chance to be outdoors, longer evenings, a chance for holidays and time away from work….

Summer is also usually a good season for our pet cats – whether it’s indoor cats following the sun’s rays around inside the home, or outdoor cats on the prowl in the garden or thick undergrowth. Most cats will tend to be a bit more active during the Summer months – we see this when many cats tip the scales at lower body weight than during the Winter months.

But the Summer months can also pose some problems to cats that all cat owners should consider.

Fleas: Most cat owners are now aware that fleas can be an all year round parasite challenge – but that challenge is at its greatest during the Summer months. Higher numbers of cats spending time outdoors in better weather, plus the abundance of wildlife that can carry fleas mean that your outdoor puss is more likely to come into contact with this pesky parasite. Also, the flea lifecycle speeds up in response to warmth and humidity, so this accelerates the growth in flea numbers. One flea on your cat can lay >200 eggs. These drop off, develop and hatch in amongst carpets and furnishings, and then emerge as new adult fleas to jump back onto your cat – or even yourself. In this way a very small flea challenge can lead to an indoor infestation! It’s essential to use an effective flea treatment – so that rules out flea powders – and your vet can provide the one best suited to your cat and you.

Ticks: are becoming much more prevalent in central Scotland than they ever were, and that’s due to change in climate – it’s warmer and more humid than ever before. Ticks lie in wait on grass or bracken or heather and hop onto unsuspecting passers by. They are predominantly a parasite of sheep, deer or cattle but will happily attach onto and feed from cats, dogs, rabbits, people(!) – they are fairly undiscerning! Once attached they feed by sucking blood from their host, but they can also pass on disease. The best known is Lyme’s Disease, which can make people, dogs and cats very unwell and is difficult both to diagnose and to treat. Prevention is better than cure, so if you live – or are visiting – a “tick area” then you should treat your cat with a preventative. These come in form of sprays, collars or tablets and again your vety will advise you what will suit your cat best.

Bee and Wasp stings: May cats find the buzzing insects just too tempting and may get more than they bargained for. Cats do get stung and react in different ways – some will develop a tender swelling at the site, others can even develop a fullblown anaphylactic shock, so it’s important to be aware. If you suspect your cat has been stung adopt the maxim – if in doubt – check it out and have your vet examine and treat accordingly. If you witness the stinging episode you can employ some home first aid – the antidote to a wasp sting is vinegar, and to a bee sting is bicarbonate of soda (but nowadays how many folk have this among their baking ingredients??).

Sunburn: I saw another puss yesterday with damage to the margins of its ears – this was due to sunburn.  The ear edges were red, crusty and tender. We normally associate this with white cats but this poor guy – called Lucky(!) – was ginger and white, but half of his ear areas were white, and these had become damaged by the sun. So if your cat has white ears, it is wise to apply some high factor sunblock before they go outdoors each day during the Summer.

Fights: better night time weather increases the numbers of cats outdoors which in turn increases the risk of cat fights, so check your cat over daily when they return from their outdoor adventures.

Barbeques:- one of my own favourite bits about Summer. There can often be scraps left after or around a Barbie, and we have seen some cats presented because they have eaten bones – spare ribs can stick in the throat, or chicken bones can get stuck in the mouth! Take care to keep all BBQ foods out of reach of your cats.

Overheating: This is a much more common problem with dogs, but any cat in a car on a hot day is at risk of overheating – with potentially fatal consequences! If the temperature outside a car reaches 20 degrees then that inside the car can easily reach 40 degrees when the engine and air con is switched off. So take care, and don’t leave them there!!

Wandering: Cats are naturally curious and are at risk of wandering, or of being shut in neighbours’ garages or sheds. Your best chance of having him/her returned safely is to make sure they have a Microchip identity – and that your address details are up to date!

Many of these topics can be dealt with by a visit to your vet, when a health check and all parasite risks can be covered. Then we can all enjoy the long, hot Summer!

Mike Hall is Vet and Partner at BRAID VETS EDINBURGH

Filed under: Cat Care, Our Cattery Vet — Tags: — Michael

Preparing your Diabetic Cat for a Stay at Catseye Cattery

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2016 at 3:27 pm

We are very experienced in looking after diabetic cats at Catseye Cattery. We owned a cat ourselves who was diabetic and on daily insulin injections so we know all about the care and attention required and also understand the anxieties that can exist when handing over the care of your cat to someone else!

Even a normally very stable diabetic cat may become quickly unstable as a result of stress. We make every effort to help your cat settle in as quickly as possible into the cattery, but we will have to pay extra care and attention to ensure that he/ she is eating well and is happy.

Most diabetic cats that stay with us are happy, comfortable and have no problems at all while they are with us. We have put together a few hints and tips for your information before you bring your cat to stay with us.

  1. Even if your cat has very stable diabetes at home we recommend that you visit the vet to have a check-up within a few days of boarding for reassurance that everything is well.
  2. Make sure that you bring sufficient supplies of syringes and insulin with you. We will need enough syringes for the number of days boarding. Check the expiry date and the opening date of your insulin. It is a good idea to write the opening date on the box as it should ideally not be kept open for longer than 4 weeks. Insulin should always be kept in the fridge. Syringes should be single use only to prevent any risk of infection. We have sharps containers so no need to bring one with you.
  3. Make sure that you give us clear instructions about number of units to give, frequency and time of each dose. Let us know what your cat’s normal routine is, the time that the last insulin injection was given and how much your cat has eaten that day. As it is important to give insulin at specific times we keep a special Diabetes Management Chart to ensure that all information is carefully recorded and your cat is visited and checked frequently.
  4. Please do let us know if there is any important medical information or past history of any other conditions. It is most helpful if we have this information so that we are well informed if any medical problem arises while you are away. Make sure we have full contact details of your vet and also be aware of their emergency out of hours cover and costs.
  5. Finally please make sure that we have full details of your vet surgery and contact details for you while you are away.

With all of that in place you will be able to go away, relax and enjoy your holiday. We are more than happy to keep in touch with you by telephone, e-mail or text so that you have the reassurance that all is well.

Filed under: Cat Care, Catseye News — Tags: — Michael

Cattery, pet-sitter or friend…the choice is yours!

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2016 at 12:33 pm

We all love our cats to bits and strive to make sure that they are happy, settled, well cared for and wanting for nothing while we are away! Often people worry that the ultimate best choice is to keep their cat at home in their own environment and that this is the most important decision above all else.

There are a number of things to think about and several options available:

Neighbour/ Friend

There is often an obliging neighbour or friend who offers to ‘feed the cat’ while you are away. There is usually no additional cost involved and the cat can stay at home which initially sounds like an attractive option!

Many cats, however, enjoy human contact and company – albeit on their own terms. They can become lonely if left alone in the house with only a brief visit from a stranger once or twice a day, especially if it is for more than just a couple of days.

If your cat goes missing or doesn’t turn up at tea time, this can cause a great deal of anxiety to the person responsible for your cat’s care. If your cat develops any kind of medical problem this could be overlooked if a person is just popping in for a few minutes every day. Sometimes people are fine dealing with the cat’s food but not so keen on handling litter trays. Trying to give medication to a cat when you are either inexperienced or unfamiliar to the cat can be a complete non starter!

“Pet Sitter”

Some people employ the services of a “pet sitter” ( a term that can be misleading ) – many of these will visit once or twice a day to check on the cat and to feed it and deal with litter trays. Service varies with regards to how much human contact time the cat will have in this arrangement. Although your cat/s are staying in their own home, it’s likely that they will be left alone and without human contact for up to 23 hours per day. If the cat has a cat flap and can come and go independently then sitter may never have much opportunity to spend time with the cat or to really check how he is doing.

There are pet sitters who come and stay in the house for the entire duration of your holiday to care for the cat. Obviously this means that the cat has company and can stay at home but this arrangement is usually very costly. It also means that you could have a stranger staying in your house.

Cattery

Standards of accommodation and care in catteries can vary enormously. It is always best to look at a few catteries before booking your cat in to stay to make sure you know exactly what accommodation and service is on offer and you can ask any questions that you may have.

At Catseye Cattery we offer the very best individual care for your cat. We keep a close eye on whether your cat is settling or whether there are any signs of stress or anxiety. We monitor whether the cat is feeding well and using the litter tray regularly and appropriately. We make sure the cats get their regular preferred food and encourage customers to bring with them familiar rugs etc from home. If your cat is on medication we are happy to administer this as required. There is always someone around in the cattery and each individual cat is visited regularly. Some cats, especially kittens and young cats, need extra attention to ensure they are stimulated and have toys etc to keep them amused. Older cats may not require so much stimulation but we make sure that they are comfortable and warm and have everything they need. When cats return to stay with us on a regular basis we get to know the customers and the cats as individuals and they learn to trust us and become much more relaxed in our care. Our pens are spacious and the peaceful countryside offers an idyllic setting with plenty of countryside interest to watch.

We are always on hand to pick up on any signs of illness or problems, and always spend extra time if needed either helping an anxious cat settle and trust us, or grooming a cat who enjoys it.  We can be in regular contact with owners to give updates on progress and give reassurance that their cat is settled and content. We can send e-mails and photos and we also have a webcam facility which can provide additional reassurance to an anxious owner.

We have many customers who have previously never used a cattery, even some with quite elderly cats. It is so rewarding watching both customer and cat relax and become confident in us and the care we provide. Many customers tell us that it is so reassuring knowing that their cat will be safe and comfortable with us while they are away so that they can enjoy their holiday without any worries!

Filed under: Cat Care — Tags: — Michael

How do you deal with a fussy cat?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 at 2:19 pm

If a dog is being fussy about its food then determination on your part will usually solve the problem as the dog will eat when it is hungry.

Cats, however, require a totally different approach. So how do you deal with a fussy cat?

Cats will often refuse food because the texture is not what they are used to, i.e. if they were only fed dry food as a kitten they may refuse any other types of food as an adult.

Cats don’t just go by the smell of the food, texture is very important too. Studies have shown that cats usually eat their prey head first and that this is dictated by the direction of the fur growing on the prey. They appear to dislike foods which are sticky or greasy and prefer their food at body temperature (like live prey!). If moist food is not used in one serving and then kept in the fridge it should be allowed to reach room temperature before being offered. Adding warm water to dry or moist food can encourage an anorexic cat to eat as it strengthens the smell.

The first few months of a cat’s life are when it learns what is safe to eat. This is why, if you have a young kitten, it is a good idea to introduce as many different textures of food as possible. However, you should be aware that chopping and changing the diet can result in digestive problems (most commonly loose or strong smelling stools). It is a much better idea to offer your kitten small pieces of meat or fish, about the size of your thumb nail, as a treat. This is also an ideal time to occasionally offer dry food soaked in a little warm water to break up the monotony of meal times.

But be warned … if you are not careful you can actually train your cat to be fussy. Constantly changing the actual brand of food teaches it to expect a new food every few days. They learn that if they eat the new food for a couple of days and then stop eating it you will inevitably offer something else!

Over-feeding
As with dogs, one of the main reasons a cat becomes fussy is because it is being overfed. Inadvertently we can compare a cat’s portion size with our own and decide that they must need more. Remember, your cat’s stomach is much smaller than yours and it should only be offered what it needs – just like us, some cats like to eat what they want and not what they need.
It a cat is not hungry it may wait to see if the owner will bring something else to eat – especially if it knows that ‘something’ will be particularly tasty. With dogs, this problem is easily solved as a dog will give in and eat when they realise nothing else is going to be offered. A cat’s natural independence means that if you don’t provide what they want they will probably just find somebody else who will! The idea of playing the waiting game with a cat can raise concerns that if a cat does not eat for a day or two it may result in a condition called fatty liver disease. This is only an issue if the cat loses weight rapidly.
Another unintentional method of over-feeding is ‘free feeding’, which involves leaving the food down all day. This can encourage the cat to eat for the sake of it or through boredom rather than hunger. Set meals are better if your cat is fussy as when meal time comes round the cat won’t have spent all day picking at the food and will therefore be hungry.
If you are constantly offering more food than your cat needs it will feel full and start to refuse food at meal times. Try and offer enough so the cat consumes the whole amount in one go but would eat a little more if offered.
Some cats are just plain greedy! If you have a greedy cat it is better to weigh their daily allowance at the start of the day and split this into small frequent meals. That way the cat is receiving food regularly but you can control the amount. Feeding balls and other food toys can also make meal times last a little longer.
Peace and Cleanliness
You would not be impressed if you were expected to eat your meals in the bathroom or in the middle of a busy pavement, so don’t expect your cat to either.
Cats should always be fed in a quiet area well away from its litter tray or any strong smelling objects, i.e. air fresheners. The food and water bowls should be cleaned daily and placed apart so food can’t fall into the water.
Stress can adversely affect your cat’s appetite. If you have recently moved home, had a baby or brought another pet into the house, all of these factors may upset your cat and reduce his/her appetite. More sensitive souls can even be upset by something as simple as moving furniture around or decorating a room. In stressful situations most cats prefer foods they are familiar with and regularly eat. Cats are naturally very suspicious of anything new so they can appear fussy when they are actually scared or suspicious. The level of this behaviour is also strongly influenced by their experiences as a kitten.
Feeling the Heat
The appetites of many cats (and dogs) will reduce in hot weather. Quite simply, if they are moving around less then they may have a lower energy requirement. Simply reduce the amount of food you offer when it’s hot and the problem should not arise.
Senior Kitizens
As we get older our appetite and tastes change and the same can happen to older cats.
If an older cat suddenly goes off its food, they should be seen by a veterinary surgeon so they can be checked for an underlying condition. Even in younger cats, a tooth or gum problem (amongst other conditions) may stop your cat from eating so the faster it is dealt with the better.

Author Ref:   Burns Pet Foods

Filed under: Cat Care — Tags: — Michael

Cattery Vaccination Requirements Explained.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Vets recommend that all cats, both indoor and outdoor, should have the routine vaccinations against the following diseases depending on your individual circumstances.

EXCERPT from Cat Protection League website

What vaccines does my cat need?
Cats Protection, as a member of The Cat Group, recommends vaccines for the following feline diseases:

Feline infectious enteritis (FIE) - a vaccination must

Feline infectious enteritis (a severe and often fatal gut infection) is caused by the feline parvovirus (or feline panleukopenia virus). Vaccination against FIE has been very successful. Unvaccinated cats are at great risk because the virus is widespread in the environment.

Cat ‘flu - a vaccination must

Two types of cat ‘flu are vaccinated against feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV). These viruses are very common and vaccination will protect your cat against prolonged illness, but because there are many different strains of cat ‘flu the vaccine will not totally eradicate the threat.

EXCERPT from International Cat Care

Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) - a vaccination must for outdoor cats

FeLV is a lifelong infection and unfortunately most cats will die within three years of diagnosis, usually from a subsequent disease like leukaemia, lymphoma (tumours) or progressive anaemia. It is not an airborne disease and can only be passed on via direct contact between cats (usually by saliva or bites). Because of the serious nature of the disease, CP recommends FeLV vaccination.

Feline chlamydophilosis - depends on your circumstances

This bacterium, which causes conjunctivitis in cats, can’t survive in the atmosphere and is thus spread by direct contact between cats (affecting multi-cat households and kittens predominantly). Your vet will discuss your situation and advise as to whether this vaccine is necessary.

Vaccination and protection from disease of cats in a cattery is very important. Anywhere where numbers of cats are kept closely together gives potential for diseases to spread. The cat viruses are very adept at this

For all cats, including those entering a cattery, it is essential that they have received vaccines for the ‘core’ infectious agents — these are:

Vaccines are available against other infectious diseases including Bordetella bronchiseptica, Chlamydophila felis and feline leukaemia virus. However, vaccination against these agents in the well-constructed and well-run cattery situation is not required, as construction and routine hygiene precautions should be adequate to prevent exposure of cats to these agents in this environment.

CATTERY SITUATION

As boarding a cat in a cattery represents a relatively high risk and therefore a special condition, it is prudent to seek a booster vaccine within the previous 12 months for FHV and FCV in this circumstance, and maximum protection may be afforded by giving a booster vaccine in the one to two months prior to entry into a boarding cattery.

If a cat has had a primary vaccination course (minimum of two injections) followed by a first booster within 12 months, it only needs a single booster injection (irrespective of the length of time since the last injection) 2 weeks before it goes into the cattery.

NB: Some vets do insist on restarting the primary two dose schedule if the vaccinations have lapsed for over a year. It is difficult to determine how necessary this is over a single booster, so customers are advised to follow their own vet’s advice.

A veterinary vaccination record where the cat is clearly identified (preferably by microchip) should be used to ensure relevant (FPV, FHV and FCV) vaccinations have been administered.

Filed under: Cat Care — Tags: — Michael

Looking After your Senior Cat By Vet Martha Murphy

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Considerations in Older Cats By Vet Martha Murphy of  The Veterinary Cat Clinic, Edinburgh

Considerations in Older Cats
Intro
It may seem far in the future when we get a new kitten, but the time soon comes around where we start to notice that our cats seem to have aged a little, and are not the spritely little things that they once were. Although the kitten phase is great fun, the more mature years can also be very rewarding. By this time, a strong bond has usually developed between the cat and its owners, and they are just as much part of the family as their human counterparts.
Fortunately, there is now a lot more known about the problems that our ’senior kitizens’ face, and consequently a lot we can do to help them live in comfort and contentment in their golden years.

Mobility
This is hugely important. Arthritis is a very common problem in older cats, and often goes unnoticed. Some studies have shown that the start of arthritic changes is seen in significant numbers of cats as young as 6 years old.
So why doesn’t it always get spotted? Unfortunately for us loving owners and vets, cats have a tendency to try to hide pain, as it is in their nature to not appear to be weak or compromised.
As they get older, and their joints get a little stiffer and aches and pains start to develop, cats will gradually stop various activities that no longer feel manageable to them. Many owners on first questioning of their cat’s mobility and comfort levels will say it is excellent. It is only on further questioning – does (s)he still jump up onto all the places (s)he used to? Does (s)he still climb trees? Does (s)he play as much? – that a different picture is revealed. These changes can appear very subtly at first, especially if you are around the cat every day.
There are a lot of ways to help cats who aren’t as agile as they used to be, starting with small changes around the house. This can include
- steps or an improvised version for them to reach all the higher places where they enjoy spending time. Cats get a great deal of security from being up high;
- raising food and water bowls to standing height so they no longer have to crouch to eat, which puts pressure on their elbows. This can easily be done by placing the bowl on top of an old ice-cream tub or the like;
- providing heated bedding especially in the winter. Cats, like humans, are often worse affected in the damp, colder months.

Another thing we can do is give them supplements or medications to help keep the joints supple, and free from aches and pains. There is now a wide variety of these, many of which are in easy to administer formats. If you think your cat may benefit from something like this, it is a great idea to get them checked with your vet. Remember, they may not be showing signs that you might identify as signs of pain; but if you think carefully and compare their activities now to those of a few years ago, you might realise that there has been a change.
One of the great bugbear sentences uttered to vets is, “Oh he’s not in any pain; he’s just stiff”, stated as a little old cat hobbles across the consultation table. It always makes me wonder what the owner thinks is making him stiff, if not aching joints and sore muscles!

Dental Care
Many cats as they get older will develop varying degrees of dental disease. They are less handy with the Colgate than humans, so after ten years or so of not brushing and flossing this is not surprising. Dental problems vary from a mild build-up of plaque to large cavity-like lesions, eroded roots, infections and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). This can be easily rectified with some dental treatment from your vet, which although usually involves a general anaesthetic and a morning at the clinic, can make a huge difference to their quality of life, and prevent further diseases from occurring. There is a link between dental disease and kidney disease in cats, due to the introduction of oral bacteria into the bloodstream, which can then ’seed’ on the kidneys (or other organs) causing kidney and bladder infections.
A level of prevention can be provided by feeding one of the specialist dental diets, it does not have to be fed as the sole food, but even adding a little of it to your cat’s regular diet can help.

Common illnesses
The most common presenting complaints of older cats are: changes in weight, appetite and thirst. Of course, many different diseases can affect these things but our top three in senior cats are:
- Kidney disease
- Diabetes
- Hyperthyroidism.
These illnesses can present in a variety of ways, but invariably affect the appetite, thirst or weight of the cat. They are all manageable and best caught early. They can usually be diagnosed with an examination and a simple blood test. So if you have noticed any changes in these aspects of your cat, a check-up is recommended.
Unfortunately, as animals get older, when signs of illness occur, cancer is something that moves up in the list of likely possibilities. It is a word that often brings with it a lot of fear and upset, but as with human medicine, there have been great advances in cancer treatment in animals too. As with other medical issues, the chances of successful treatment are better when it is caught in the early stages.

Euthanasia
A sad topic, but an important one for older cats. It can often make the process easier when the day comes if some consideration has been given to the matter prior to the event; of course this is not always possible in acute situations, but is something that can be thoughtfully planned for older cats with long-term illnesses.
Many vets will come to your house for this, so you don’t have to face other people at the clinic, and your cat can be relaxed as possible in its own environment. They will usually require some notice to arrange this as cover must be ensured for the clinic as well.
There is also the consideration of what your wishes are for the cat after (s)he has passed away. Some people have a favourite spot in the garden where they wish to bury them, while for others this is undesirable or unfeasible. In this case, your vet will be happy to assist with arrangements. Pets are normally sent to a specialised pet crematorium. There are options to have the ashes returned to you, although this does incur a greater cost.
It can be very stressful, especially if the euthanasia was unexpected, to try to make all of these decisions on the day, so it is a good idea to think it over at a non-emotional time, and have an idea of what you would like to happen.

Conclusion
As cats get older, their needs change, and it becomes even more important to monitor their health. Six-monthly or annual veterinary check-ups are a great way to pick up on subtle changes in weight, early signs of disease, and also to discuss prevention.
With the right care, you can keep your feline friends around for many years, and keep them feeling as good as they possibly can at each stage of life, so you can enjoy those years to the fullest together

About the Author.

Martha graduated in 2008 from Edinburgh Vet School. She initially worked in a busy small animal practice in Yorkshire before gaining a variety of experience working as a locum in practices around the UK. She joined The Cat Clinic team in 2010, initially working part-time while she completed the University of Sydney’s post graduate distance learning course in feline medicine before becoming a full time member of the team. Martha has been a cat owner since she was born, and dreamed of being a feline vet since she was a toddler. She is intrigued by all things cat, & is self-confessed “cat crazy”! She currently has an adopted rescue cat named “Alfie” who was born deaf, which gives him some curious personality quirks such as staring very intently at people, and chasing the noisy hoover!

Filed under: Cat Care, Our Cattery Vet — Tags: — Michael

Catseye Cattery cat food Menu

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 at 11:31 am

To ensure that our guests are always happy and relaxed, we feed them their favourite cats foods that they would have at home!

Having the correct cat food is essential to a contented cat staying with us at the cattery!

This means that we carry a wide selection of wet & dry cat foods, and a few treats too!! Please tell us what your cat/s prefer to eat and we’ll ensure that we have this in stock ( excludes special prescription diets ).

Filed under: Cat Care — Tags: — Michael

International Pet Transport Advice from Braid Vets Mike Hall

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Thanks to Mike Hall from BRAID VETS EDINBURGH

International pets

The World is a shrinking place. Brits travel all over on holidays, or for work, and more and more people want to take their pets with them. Vets in practice are now frequently asked to assist with pet travel. However, just as with the human population, there are certain disease risks associated with travel that have to be addressed. In the UK we pride ourselves on being Rabies-free and, believe me, that’s the way we want to stay! We have one big advantage over our fellow Europeans – we are an island, so we have a very effective barrier to keep Rabies out – and a number of other diseases too.

Historically, any animal entering the UK had to spend six months in quarantine, to ensure that it was not harboring Rabies. Only after six disease-free months could the animal then settle in our country.

Since 2001 however, Pet Passports have been available for dogs, cats and ferrets(!). These passports enable animals to travel between participating EU countries without the quarantine requirement, providing that certain criteria are met.

  • The pet must have a Microchip. This enables it to be identified and related to its paperwork.
  • The pet must then receive a Rabies vaccine – a single injection of vaccine, given painlessly under the scruff of the neck, conferring protection that lasts for up to three years.
  • A passport can then be completed, listing the owner’s details, the animal’s details, the microchip details, and the rabies vaccine details. Once a pet has a passport it can be updated, with further Rabies vaccinations being recorded in it. This way, one passport can last the lifetime of the pet.
  • For European travel there is a minimum 21day delay after Rabies vaccination before the pet can travel.
  • Travel can then be arranged, by road through the Channel Tunnel, by sea – certain Ferry companies, or by air – certain airlines.
  • When returning to the UK, pets must have treatment against Tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis. This must be given by a vet, 24 to 120 hours prior to entering the UK, and the treatment needs to be recorded on the pet’s passport. This is a parasite that is currently not present in the UK – and is another disease we definitely do not want!

Providing these requirements are met, pet cats and dogs can now travel freely with their owners throughout the majority of EU countries. Pets can enjoy the foreign holiday with their owners, rather than perhaps being booked into a very plush cattery in the gorgeous East Lothian countryside!

It all seems very simple and straightforward. It can be, but there are other considerations to be made. The Pet Passport takes account of only two diseases – Rabies and Tapeworm. It does not consider the fact that pets taken abroad will be potentially exposed to a number of parasites and diseases that they would not meet at home. For instance, hot Mediterranean climates will harbor mosquitoes, and biting insects such as ticks, that may carry a number of potentially serious diseases.

When the Pet Passport was first launched, it included a requirement that pets were also treated against Ticks prior to re-entering the UK. This requirement was dropped however, in 2012. Up until this time there was also a requirement for a Rabies blood test to be carried out. The test was done 3-4 weeks after the Rabies vaccination, and the level of antibodies was measured, to assess whether the pet was protected or not. On January 1st 2012 both requirements were dropped.

A number of vets believe that these moves are not in the nation’s best interests. The Rabies bloodtests would occasionally show that a pet had not responded to the vaccine and therefore was not protected. In these cases, a second dose of vaccine was give]n, followed by a second bloodtest. If the pet “failed” again then it was deemed ineligible for a Passport.

There are certain ticks in mainland Europe that we do not have in the UK, and they can carry diseases that will affect not only pets, but livestock, and people too. We don’t want these ticks to bring disease into the UK so, whilst it is not an essential part of the Pet Passport legislation, vets strongly advise that pet dogs and cats travelling to mainland Europe are treated with appropriate insecticides that will prevent Tick infestation.

It is also possible to transport our pets farther afield than the EU. Pet Passports will not be sufficient, and every country will set its own import requirements. If you are considering long distance travel for your pet then I would highly recommend that you speak to your vet well in advance so that she/he can guide you through the minefield that is Pet Export. The procedure may need to start as far away as six months prior to the travel date, with bloodtests or even faecal tests required, and may involve some quarantine time on arrival, so do not consider it lightly.

Perhaps, indeed, if your upcoming longhaul foreign work journey is not for good, that cosy cattery in East Lothian is sounding even more attractive!

Filed under: Cat Care, Our Cattery Vet — Tags: — Michael

Vet Liz Mullineaux Shares her Hints & Tips on Cat Feeding

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 8th, 2014 at 1:15 pm

How to feed your cat

Like many things in life, feeding your cat can be as difficult or as simple as you want to make it. At the simple end, a measured amount of dry complete food is scooped into a bowl and at the more complex end a carefully formulated home-made diet is produced supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Both these ‘extremes’ of diet have their critics and advocates, and both if selected incorrectly can lead to dietary and medical problems. So just how do you feed your cat safely?

Cats are not small dogs

All cat owners know that cats most certainly are not small dogs, however one of the most common feeding errors is to feed cats dog food. Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores, they need a diet high in protein, with moderate amounts of fat and low in carbohydrate. Cats also require some specific nutritional components, including the amino acids Taurine and Arginine, in their diets. Dogs are able to use carbohydrates better than cats and do not need the same dietary vitamins and amino acids. Cats fed, or more often stealing, dog food may be deficient in protein, taurine, niacin, vitamin A, and fatty acids.

Commercial cat foods

A commercial cat food is undoubtedly the easiest way of feeding a cat for those of us with busy lives. Cat foods come in various forms including dry, soft-moist, and canned. Most foods contain the essential nutrients the cat needs, although it is worth checking on the packaging that the food is complete and balance. In terms of quality, with cat food you generally get what you pay for. The cheaper foods (both wet ad dry) tend to be carbohydrate rich and contain poorer quality meat, good quality dry foods are typically more economical to feed. With all good quality foods the main difference between the food types is the amount of water in the product. Wet cat foods are sometimes more palatable and useful for those with picky appetites including older cats. There can be issues with water intake with dry foods and certainly a constant supply of water in a form the cat likes (dripping taps or water fountains in some cases) is essential with ALL foods.  Dry food has the advantage of being more ‘chewable’ and may help maintain good dentition, although many cats just swallow their dry foods with little chewing at all.

It is important to feed your cat a food appropriate to its life-stage (kitten, adult, senior) as diets are formulated to support the needs of growth, maintenance and old age. Much of what the pet food companies have learnt about nutrition of specific medical problems has been transferred to these diets so they do make a real difference, not just in kittens but also to older cats. Various special and prescription diets are also produced for those cats with dietary and other medical problems that can be helped by reducing or increasing certain dietary components. Prescription diets can be a great benefit to cats with specific diseases and often reduce or take away the need for medication.  Remember prescription diets will be balanced differently to normal cat food so only feed them with veterinary direction and do not feed them to other clinically well cats as this can be dangerous.

Home made diets

It is possible to formulate a safe home made diet for your cat and there are a couple of reliable websites to help you do this. It is not a simple process however. Home-made diets are meat rich, usually with an offal component and always with nutritional supplements including taurine. There can be some serious safety issues associated with feeding raw meat especially if this is not classified as ‘fit for human consumption’. Remember all meat diets without supplementation result in medical problems and are especially dangerous in growing kittens.

What not to feed

There are some foods that are poisonous to cats (and dogs) and these included onion, garlic, kelp, grapes or raisins, and chocolate. These foods should always be avoided and veterinary advice sought if your cat has access to these. Most other foods can be eaten safely by cats in moderation, but are best avoided in any quantity. These included salty foods (ham, tuna in brine), raw fish (which causes thiamine deficiency) and large amounts of unsupplemented meat. Most cat owners do not plan to feed their cat a diet of just tuna in brine but it is amazing how quickly a cat can drift into eating just one thing and care must be taken to ensure that this does not happen. As with all of us however, the odd treat is unlikely to do any harm.

Finally

Unfortunately one of the biggest and increasing medical issues in cats, as in people, is obesity. Ensuring that your cat does not eat too much, providing regular exercise and having regular weight checks, is every bit as important as what you choose to feed.

About the author:

Liz Mullineaux has worked as a small animal vet for over 25 years, many of those as a director of a large veterinary hospital. She now works for Vets Now emergency service in Edinburgh and in a variety of other clinical and academic roles. She is also a huge fan and client of Catseye Cattery.


Filed under: Cat Care — Tags: , — Michael
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