General Qs kitty parents ask

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Here are a few FAQs kitty parents often ask.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Q: Should I keep a male or a female cat?

I don’t want kittens.

A: Have your cat neutered. It is not true that neutering causes obesity or laziness. I have had my animals

neutered and they are exactly the same. The best time for a female’s operation is six months of age, before the first heat. Here pre- and post-operative procedure will have to be followed. Don’t feed the cat 12 hours before surgery. Keep the incision clean afterwards and check for swelling or discharge. Sutures can be removed in a week.

Castration, in which the testicles are removed in a male cat, is a small operation with the cat coming home the same day and should also be done at six months.
If your cat has accidently bred, an estrogen injection – if given within 24 hours of the mating – is usually successful in preventing pregnancy. But estrogen can have toxic side effects. Neutering is really the best.

Q: What are the vaccines that I should give my cat?
A: A feline panleucopenia or feline enteritis anti-serum: at 7-9 weeks and again at 12 weeks, to be repeated every year. Feline pneumonitis: 12-14 weeks and every six months thereafter.
An anti-rabies vaccine at three months,
a booster at six months and then
every year.

Q: My cat scratches a specific chair or claws the curtains or rugs. What should I do to stop it? 
A: Clawing is a way of marking territory. While you cannot stop normal behaviour, you can divert the cat by placing a scratching post _ a strong piece of wood placed vertically _ near the object being scratched and move the cat’s front legs and claws on the scratching post. Over a period of a few days the cat will get
the message.

Q: What basic grooming does the cat need?
A: You need to brush her regularly, to bathe her every month, to have the nails trimmed every six months or so and to clean the ears weekly.

Q: What does a cat eat?
A: Cats don’t just eat fish, meat or milk. They need an all-round diet. Nothing raw and certainly not raw fish. If you don’t give them vegetables you will find them
eating grass.

Q: My cat sometimes sprays small quantities of urine. Why?
A: This is usually done by male cats, even if they are neutered, as a response to a perceived threat. New additions to the house, a furniture change, a new cat, make the surroundings seem unfamiliar and the cat sprays to re-own or re-familiarise itself with its environment.

Q: How do I know when my cat is sick?
A: She becomes less active and withdrawn. Her appetite changes – either increases or decreases. She urinates more or less than normal. She exhibits vomiting or diarrhoea. If you notice any of these signs, consult your vet immediately.

Q: When do I know when my cat is in pain?
A: Lameness, a stiff neck, tense abdominal muscles and reluctance to get up or
lie down.

Q: What is the cat’s normal temperature?
A: Anything from 101oF to 102.5oF

Q: How do I know if my cat has fever?
A: Believe it or not the cat starts looking sad! This is added to by the lack of appetite. Some cats shiver, others pant and seek cool places. You will notice an increase in the heart and respiratory rate. Take the cat’s temperature by using a stubby rectal thermometer. Put a little vaseline on the bulb and slide it gently into the anus after restraining the cat. Leave for two minutes and then read the mercury level. If it is over 105, apply ice to the forehead and inner thighs to bring it down. And then take her to the vet.

Q: What is the most common disease that attacks cats?
A: Female enterites: A highly contagious disease (however, not to humans) with 90 percent mortality in the unvaccinated cat. It is characterised by high fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea. It is spread by sick cats, fleas and flies. Treatment is widespread and non-specific like distemper in dogs, with antibiotics, fluids, vitamins, anti-vomitting and anti-diarrhoeal medications and force-feeding. Disinfect the environment to prevent re-contamination.

Eye problems: A thick discharge indicates conjunctivitis. Flush the eye gently with clean boiled water. Mild infections can be treated with neosporin opthalmic medicine. Sometimes the hair in the inner corner of the eyes or nasal fold hairs irritate the eye. The nasal fold hairs can be rubbed down with a bit of vaseline.
Ear problems: If there is a slight redness, some pus, an odour, if the cat is shaking or scratching its ears, the ear is in trouble. First check for an insect bite or a haematoma _ a swelling that contains blood. Clean the part you can see with baby oil and a cotton swab, gently removing the earwax and debris. Use tweezers to remove any insects at the openings of the ear canal. Do not go deep-leave that to a vet.

A bacterial infection can be cleared by antibiotics but if it doesn’t clear up do a fungus and yeast test. If the infection is chronic, some vets recommend surgery to keep the ear dry. Check weekly for early signs of trouble. Smell the ears regularly. Put cotton in the ears before bathing because soap and moisture may lead to infection.

(Visit: www.peopleforanimalsindia.org and for any issues related to animals, contact Shilpa Chaudhary at: 09953313319).