When should I have my kitten desexed

Desexing of both males and females is recommended before the onset of puberty, generally around 5 - 6 months of age

Spaying of female cats will prevent unwanted pregnancies, the annoying attention of roaming tomcats, and spaying at a young age (before their first season) will lower the risks of mammary tumours (breast cancer) and pyometra (infection of the uterus which is often a surgical emergency).

Neutering, or castration, of male cats before puberty will decrease the problems of aggression, urine marking, fighting and the tendency to roam (decreasing the risk of being lost or hit by a car). Medically, castrated cats cannot develop testicular cancer.

Your Park vet Clinic in Caloundra will be able to give you the best advice on what age your kitten should be desexed.



What vaccines does my kitten or cat need and how often?

Vaccination is crucial to protect your kitten or cat against viral diseases. Vaccinating your cat stimulates its immune system to produce antibodies against the virus, preventing it from causing disease. There are 3 major cat diseases caused by viruses in Australia that are highly infectious and cause serious illness, even death:

Feline Infectious Enteritis (Feline panleucopenia or Cat distemper), Feline Respiratory disease ('Cat flu') and Feline Leukaemia Virus.  Another common respiratory infection for which a vaccine has only recently been developed is Feline Chlamydia. This disease is principally seen as conjunctivitis in young kittens aged 5-9 months.

Kittens are vaccinated at approximately monthly intervals from 6-8 weeks of age until 16-18 weeks of age, and then vaccination is annual.

Kittens are given these boosters because the antibodies they got from their mother actually interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccine. Since kittens lose these antibodies at different rates, we give several vaccinations to ensure all kittens will develop sufficient levels of antibodies to protect them during their first year of life.

Vaccination programs may vary depending on risk factors, the age of first vaccination, and the type of vaccine used, so be guided by your veterinarian’s advice for your situation.



What is microchipping? Does my cat need a microchip?

Microchipping is recommended for both cats and dogs as a permanent and safe form of identification. In some states it is compulsory at 12 weeks of age, or when they go to a new home.

Unfortunately, many family pets are euthanased every day because they cannot be identified. Microchips cannot be altered and do not fade over time, whereas tags and collars can easily be lost. The microchip is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades and remains there for life, ready to be identified by a special scanner and your pet promptly returned to you if lost.

Ask your Park vet Clinic in Caloundra for more information on microchipping and the requirements in your area.



How often should I worm my cat?

Intestinal worms such as tapeworm and roundworm are a common cause of disease in cats, especially kittens. Since roundworm can affect humans, particularly children, kittens need to be wormed at 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age, then every 3 months.

Adult cats should be wormed every 3 months. Regular worming is essential – while treatment kills worms present in the intestine at the time, re-infections can occur from other pets and the environment. Once is not enough.



I think my cat has fleas, what should I do?

Your cat may have fleas, even if you can’t see them.

Fleas can build up rapidly to plague-like proportions under the right conditions. Adult fleas live & feed on your pet but 95% of the flea population live as eggs, larvae and pupae in the dirt, carpet, bedding and cracks and crevices of your home, and jump on your pet to feed on their blood.

Fleas can cause itching, scratching, skin allergies, dermatitis, anaemia, and transmit tapeworms. They can bite humans as well. The only effective way to get rid of fleas is to start a flea control program, both on and off your pet.

All fleas must be removed from the cat and its environment, including other household pets. There are many safe and effective flea products available for killing fleas on your dog and cat (also for puppies and kittens), and for preventing fleas reinfesting them. Your vet will be able to recommend the best product for your pet.

Then you need to kill fleas and the other stages of the flea life cycle in the environment. This means flea-bombing areas in the house that the cat can access, treating sleeping areas, baskets, or bedding, and identifying outdoor areas where fleas may exist. This may mean blocking off access to under the house, and using outdoor flea products in places like sandpits or favourite resting areas. Don’t forget the car if you travel with your pet!



What if my cat won't use its litter tray?

Many medical diseases can cause a cat to urinate or defecate inappropriately outside the litter tray, so a veterinary exam is required to differentiate these problems from behavioural problems.

For example, it is common for cats with cystitis to urinate small amounts in many different areas of the house, also diseases that make cats drink more will mean they need to urinate more, and if the litter tray is already soiled it will seek other areas to urinate.

Sometimes older cats with arthritis may find it difficult to get in and out of a tray with high sides, or to negotiate stairs to the litter tray.

Stress or anxiety may be a contributing factor, such as moving house, other cats in the house or a new family member. The type of box, the type of litter, its location, and how often and with what it is cleaned are all factors influencing the cat’s decision to urinate elsewhere. Here are a few ideas to help retrain your cat to use the litter

Location. If there is one particular area the cat is using, put the litter tray there and gradually move it to the location you want the tray to be. Move it about 5cm a day

Litter tray – the tray itself, the type of litter, frequency of cleaning, and cleaning agents (soapy water is sufficient)

Decrease the attractiveness of the area the cat is using by cleaning it with an odour neutraliser, by feeding it there, or gluing several bits of dry food in the area. You can put its sleeping basket there, or place double sided sticky tape or aluminium foil in the area. Don’t allow access to the problem area. See your vet if house soiling remains a problem.



How can I stop my cat spraying in the house?

Spraying behaviour is when cats mark territory by urinating small amounts on (usually) vertical surfaces. The act of spraying involves the cat backing up to a surface, raising and quivering its tail, and treading with its back feet as a small amount of urine is directed backwards.

Spraying is usually associated with territorial or competitive behaviour, especially in male entire cats. The presence of other cats around the house is a common cause of stress in cats, and may lead to the marking behaviour of spraying.

Check with your vet first to rule out any medical problems. If the problem is behavioural your vet may prescribe medication to decrease anxiety or a pheromone spray that helps prevent and stop urine marking, and also settles and calms cats in unknown or stressful environments. Castrating male cats at an early age is the best way of preventing male urine spraying. Keep litter trays clean (using soapy water) and clean any urine marked areas with adapted products. Ask your Park Vet Clinic in Caloundra for any