Common Cat Questions

Cat with Green EyesThere are a lot of common cat questions that we hear. Because we want you to be able to take care of your pet, we put together this list of the most common questions we hear.

What vaccines are necessary for my cat?

Rabies is mandatory by law, for inside or outside cats!! The distemper vaccine is also recommended for indoor or outside cats. Feline Aids and Feline Leukemia vaccines are only recommended for outdoor cats. These diseases can only by transferred from cat to cat from direct contact. Both of these diseases are deadly and very contagious. Therefore if your cat has exposure to other cats outdoors, these vaccines are very important!

What tests are necessary for my new kitten or cat its first exam?

The Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia snap test is highly recommended for a feline with an unknown status. These two diseases are life threatening and should be known before bringing the cat into a new household. A fecal exam is also recommended to check for internal parasites.

Should I declaw my cat? I feel as though I should but is it mean?

Declawing a cat is a personal choice. Some cats do not need to be declawed because they are not scratchers of skin or furniture, however, there are many cats that use their claws for everything (arms, legs, rugs, drapes, etc.) In this case, declawing is a strong consideration. The younger your cat gets declawed, the less traumatic and uncomfortable it will be for them. There are a few different techniques to declaw a cat. At this hospital, we use a very careful, effective and less painful approach.

Should I spay or neuter my cat?

Absolutely!! We recommend spays or neuters by the latest, 6 months of age. If declawing is going to be performed, we recommend performing both procedures at the same time. A cat that gets spayed before the first heat cycle reduces their chance for mammary cancer. Also, owners do not have to experience lordosis, the act of a female cat screaming and laying on her backside trying to get attention. Neutering a male decreases the male urine odor and prevents marking.

Since my cat has been aging, he/she has been eating a lot but seems to be loosing weight. Is this normal?

No, it is not normal. But it may indicate a condition called hyperthyroidism. This is the most common cat disease (besides dental disease) that cats get as they age. Hyperthyroidism is caused by an over-productive thyroid gland. This makes the cat’s metabolism speed up quickly, causing a cat to eat a lot, but loose weight and vomit as well. A blood test is needed to check the thyroid status and is recommended to be performed yearly after 8 years of age.

My cat does not seem to want to eat hard food as he/she is getting older. Why is this happening?

The most common disease in dogs AND cats is dental disease. Most cats do not like their teeth being brushed. Therefore, as they age, extreme gingivitis and periodontal disease sets in, producing a painful mouth. Most cats that do not have there teeth cleaned at home or at there veterinarians, will wind up with periodontal disease. This can cause a painful scenario and warrant a cat to not want to eat hard food. A dental cleaning would remove this pain and make the cat much happier going through life.

Since my cat is older is it worth taking him/her to the veterinarians?

Cats do not usually indicate a problem until the problem sometimes is severe. A yearly exam at the veterinarians can pick up slight changes or problems that with proper care can prolong the comfort and life of your cat. Weight change, auscultation of the heart or palpation of the thyroid gland can be subtle findings detected on exam that can signify possible problems. Hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and diabetes, along with dental disease, are very common in an aging cat. Physical examination and senior blood work can pin point the problem and hopefully we will be able to correct or possibly cure a life threatening situation.

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