The Irish Blue Cross, 
15A Goldenbridge Ind Est,
Tyrconnell Road,
Dublin 8.
Tel: 01 416 3030
Fax: 01 416 3035

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Top Ten Questions asked about Cats

1. Should my cat be vaccinated?
All cats should be vaccinated against serious diseases such as cat flu, which is caused by two types of viruses (Feline Calicivirus and Feline Rhinotracheitis), Feline Enteritis (Panleukopaenia) and Feline Leukaemia. Your kitten or cat can get these viruses from other cats or simply by going outside for their regular exercise and walks. The best time to vaccinate your cat is when it is a kitten at 9 weeks old followed by a second injection 2-3 weeks later.
2. Will my cat be safe against these viruses after the vaccination?
But your cat must receive a booster vaccination shot once a year to give it the immunity it needs and protect it against these diseases.
3. Will my cat need a litter tray?
If your cat is kept indoors it will need a litter tray. It is a small rectangular tray containing a type of cat litter i.e. sand, peat or a cat litter purchased from a pet shop. Cats are very fussy about their toilet habits and will only use a litter tray if it is kept very clean and emptied every day. The tray should be placed on some newspaper and kept well away from their food bowls. The tray should also be placed in a quiet area where they will not be disturbed and where they feel safe. It is important that young children or pregnant women should not handle the litter tray and anyone cleaning it out should of course wear gloves.
4. Is it beneficial to have my cat neutered?
Cats left to breed unnecessarily add greatly to the number of unwanted animals on our streets. Many of these animals die, as there are not enough homes for them. Therefore, controlling unwanted breeding is essential for the care of our animals. But there are other advantages to neutering your cat. Male cats become very territorial when they reach sexual maturity. They begin to spray their territory with urine (often indoors) which is very strong smelling and not pleasant. Male cats also roam in search of mates and often get into bad fights with other cats causing disease and infections. Female cats begin to call when they reach maturity, which is a very noisy affair. Neutering can also reduce aggressive behaviour in your cat, which makes for a happier pet.
5. Should my female cat have a litter before she is neutered?
It is not necessary for a female to have her first season or litter before spaying. Therefore we recommend you have your cat neutered at the age of six months. As it is not easy to find good homes for an entire litter and many of them may end up as strays.
6. Can I give my cat, home cooked food?
You can feed your cat human food i.e. chicken, fish, etc, but this type of diet not always provides the nutritional values your cat needs. It is best to use tinned cat food or dried mixer/complete food, which is specially designed for their needs. Adult cats should be fed twice a day. Dried complete food comes in large bags, which is generally cheaper to purchase and last longer. Remember that unlike dogs cats can't be vegeterians so always make sure that your cat eats some form of meat every day.
7. Will my cat need exercise?
All cats need exercise, but unlike dogs they are more independent and do not need to be walked. They will get the required exercise themselves when out and about. Cats still need attention and play time each day which is very important.
8. Should I train my cat?
Cats don't need training like dogs. They are clean creatures and they will use their litter tray without direction, as most cats will observe this behaviour from their mothers. Generally cats will entertain themselves but playtime is essential. They should be given some special cat toys. Cats also need a nice place to sleep and not be disturbed; there are many different types of bedding that can be purchased. A scratching post should be made available to your cat for filing their claws, so it's a good way of saving your furniture too.
9. Can my cat get worms?
All cats can get worms and there are different types of worms too. These worms live in the cat's stomach and intestine and can make your cat very sick if not treated. Kittens should be wormed once a month until they are six months old. Adult cats should be wormed every three months. Your vet will recommend the best type of worming tablets for your cat. If your cat hunts, it can pick up tapeworms from eating small animals which means it must be given a special dose every month to keep it free from tapeworms.
10. Should my cat receive regular health checks from a vet?
Your cat should be examined by a vet at least once a year when receiving its booster vaccination. But you, as a responsible pet owner should be checking your cat's health and condition on a constant and regular basis i.e. when grooming and when playing with it. Its claws will be OK if it has plenty of things to file them against like a scratching post. And do check to see if they are not damaged. Feeding them dried food will keep their teeth clean. Check its coat for signs of skin problems or fleas. Fleas can be picked up from other animals or even from carpets, furniture and bedding which are not properly disinfected after flea infestation. Ask your vet for advice on the best flea treatment available.



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