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Cats and dogs

About your cat

Nutrition

It is essential to feed your cat according to the stage of its life and physical condition.

Unless you have a specific recommendation from your veterinarian, it is useless, and can even be harmful, to give your cat supplements or vitamins.

Food and water bowls must be kept in a quiet place.

Is raw food good for your cat?

Visit the petfoodnutrition.com for more information.


Pet insurance

Pet insurance has been available in Canada for several years. Any cat or dog can be insured (any breed and at any age). Different protections and options are available.

For a free estimate without obligation, visit www.petsecure.com


Declawing and other alternatives

A declawing or onychectomy is an elective surgery (unnecessary for the animal’s health) that is performed on cats and involves the amputation of the distal phalanges of the animal’s toes. Although the Quebec Order of Veterinary Doctors has stated in various documents that the procedure is not recommended, declawing continues to be practiced legally on a large scale by Quebeckers.

Declawing is now illegal in more than thirty countries around the world. Declawing is a painful procedure and a radical solution to eliminate a behaviour that is normal for cats. Thankfully, we now have solutions and alternatives to this surgery.

Don’t hesitate to read our document below and contact us for more information.


Reproduction

Female cats come in heat several times a year and can have more than one litter per year.

Gestation lasts from 65 to 66 days.

The signs before giving birth are: a loss of appetite, reduced activity, mucus plugs, nesting, lower body temperature.

Sterilization is strongly recommended by veterinarians. It is also possible to sterilize an animal during gestation.


History

Cats have shared our homes for thousands of years. We do not know exactly when this cohabitation began, but everything leads to believe it would be around 1600 BC. Cats are appreciated for their hunting talents, their beauty and grace.

Egyptians were the first ones to share their home with a feline. Back then, cats were not only companions but also liturgical objects. The cat was immortalized in many different ways: he was often represented in art and was usually embalmed and buried with his master.

Egyptian laws forbade the exportation of cats, which did not stop sailors from smuggling and sending them to Mediterranean countries.

In the 11th century, cats were especially wanted for their hunting talents. It was crucial to get rid of rats during the Black Plague that decimated Europe.

Cats were probably transported to the New World by boat around 1600. Then they accompanied pioneers in the West and helped reduce the rodent proliferation in the fields where colonists sowed their crops.

Today, doctors and psychologists agree that cats contribute to reducing stress. They are also the perfect companion for elderly or lonely people. These are some of the reasons why so many of us live with cats today. In fact, the cat is the most popular pet in Canada.


Litter box

Around four weeks of age, most kittens naturally feel the need to dig and will act instinctively in the litter box. However, you have to make sure that the litter box is always clean. Remove soiled litter frequently and change the whole litter at least once a week. Put the box in a quiet and accessible place for your cat.

If your cat goes outside the litter box, it could be for different reasons: soiled litter, a new type of litter, difficult access to the box, too much action around the box, or stress. Is there a new family member? Did you change your animal’s food? Do you have a new litter box?

If your cat doesn’t use its litter box for a longer period of time, it could mean that there is a serious problem. Urinary tract diseases are painful, they cause a burning sensation and a constant need to urinate, even when the bladder is empty. In such condition, your cat might drop small amounts of urine everywhere in the house. This problem should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Material needed
  • A cage
  • Water and feeding bowls (ideally stainless steel)
  • A litter box
  • A bed
  • A scratching post
  • A collar, a harness and a leash
  • A comb and/or brush
  • Toys : avoid elastics, corks, wires, and balls made of wool or thread, aluminium or cellophane. You can easily use a ping-pong ball, an empty wooden bobbin, a nut in its shell, a ball of wax paper, an empty toilet paper roll or a cardboard box.

Consult this article on how to choose the right scratching post: Scratching post or scratching sofa?


Night owls

Cats are nocturnal animals. They sleep in the daytime and go hunting at night. This explains why your cat might wake you up by playing at night. To modify this behaviour, you can play with it in the evening to tire it out. You can also try to feed your cat earlier, as cats often get reenergized by their meal. If your cat wakes you up, don’t feed it or give it attention, as this might encourage his behaviour.


Parasites

Cats are not just pets; they are often treated like family members. And like any member of your family, it’s important to keep your companion healthy and free of parasites.

It is fairly common for a cat to become infected with an internal or external parasite at some point in its lifetime. Parasites can affect your pet in a variety of ways, ranging from simple irritation to causing life-threatening conditions if left untreated. Some parasites can even infect and transmit diseases to you and your family.

Your veterinarian is there to help prevent, diagnose and treat parasites that can affect your pet.


Toxic products
  • AntifreezeToxique
  • Cleaning products
  • Disinfectants
  • Fertilizer
  • Laundry detergent
  • Tylenol, ibuprofen and Aspirin
  • Mothballs
  • Paint and solvent
  • Pesticides and insecticides
  • Rodent poison

Safety

Cats are very curious. Here are a few tips to insure their safety:

  • Make sure all windows have a screen to prevent falls;
  • Prevent access to balconies and galleries;
  • Store toxic products in a safe place. Cats are very good when it comes to opening doors;
  • Keep the toilet lid closed;
  • Put away plastic bags to make sure your kitten doesn’t get stuck in a bag or swallow pieces of it;
  • Shorten electric cords as much as possible, or affix them to a baseboard to prevent your kitten from playing with them or chewing on them;
  • Store sewing articles as well as any small sharp object out of reach.

If you have any toxic plants in your house, put them in a suspended basket, out of reach. Here is a list of some plants that can be harmful for cats :

  • Amaryllis
  • Azalea
  • Madeira Cane
  • Clematis
  • Cyclamen
  • Foxglove
  • Dragon Tree balsamic
  • Weeping fig tree
  • Morning glory
  • Mistletoe
  • Holly
  • Iris
  • Yew
  • Oleander
  • Ivy
  • Read
  • Narcissus
  • Pavier
  • Poinsettia
  • Philodendron
  • Rhododendron
  • Caster-oil plant

Dental care

Your cat’s adult teeth will appear between the 14th and 30th week. The most frequent dental problem for cats is the accumulation of dental plate, which leads to deposits of hard tartar on the teeth. If left alone, tartar can cause gum and ligament inflammation. Teeth eventually become loose and fall out.

To avoid dental problems for your cat, try to clean its teeth regularly. Use a toothbrush and some toothpaste available from your veterinarian. Never use toothpaste made for humans, as your cat could swallow it and get digestive troubles.


Sterilization

Veterinarians recommend pet neutering for many reasons:

  • Reduced health problems
  • Signs of heat and spotting in females – Spayed females stop having heat cycles thus eliminating spotting and the obnoxious mewing. The female cat is in heat about 10 days every two or three weeks until it mates.
  • Wanderings – Since sexual drive is suppressed, the search for a mate will no longer be a priority for your pet. Consequently, there will be less wandering, risks of accident and of developing a contagious disease.
  • Territory marking – Since your animal is no longer sexually active, it will not feel the need to defend its territory. Also, the urine odor of a male cat that is not neutered is often unbearable compared with that of a neutered male.
  • Aggressiveness and fighting risks – Since your animal does not feel the need to defend its territory, it is possible that the number and the intensity of fights subside.

Female

For the female cat, sterilization consists of removing the ovaries and the uterus. The intervention requires general anesthesia. The veterinarian has to open the abdomen to have access to the organs, which leaves a 3 to 5 cm long surgical scar located near the umbilicus. The cat can go home the same day with specific instructions to follow. Anti-inflammatories or pain-killers are administered for the intervention and have to be administered at home for a few days after surgery.

Male

For the male, sterilization is less invasive, as it doesn’t require the veterinarian to open the abdomen. The intervention requires general anesthesia. The surgery consists of removing the testicles and leaves two small incisions on the scrotum. Male cats can go home the same day with specific instructions to follow. Anti-inflammatories or pain-killers are administered for the intervention and have to be administered at home for a few days after surgery.


A new environment

If you have young children, introduce them to the kitten gradually, over short periods of time, and always under supervision. The children can pick up the kitten and play with it gently. They have to understand that this is a living creature and not a toy. Teach your children how to pick up and hold the kitten. They have to learn that they can’t squeeze or slap, pull ears or tail, make loud noises around him or rush in his direction. Even the nicest cat could scratch or bite to protect itself if it is afraid.

If you have other animals at home, introduce them to the new kitten. An older cat, male or female, usually accepts a kitten well. But be sure they get along well before you leave them together. The majority of dogs and cats eventually get along, but this can take more time. You should never force the oldest cat to accept the new kitten right away. Let it do it at its own pace.


Vaccination

Vaccination protects your cat from many common infectious diseases, which can be serious, or even fatal. By helping avoid diseases, vaccination enhances your cat’s quality of life. In addition, some infectious diseases like rabies also affect people, so vaccinating your cat also helps protect you and your family.

During a consultation, your veterinarian will discuss with you of your pet’s lifestyle and will determine which vaccines should be given to your cat. The first vaccines can be given when the kitten is six weeks old. Don’t forget to mention if your cat goes outside, in which case a vaccine against feline leukemia virus should be administered.


Grooming and hair balls

Grooming is an important part of your cat’s life. The sooner you start, the sooner it will get used to it. At first, your cat will probably try to resist, but it will eventually like the extra attention given at that time. If grooming is a good moment for you, then it will be pleasant for your cat too.

For long-haired cats, use a metal comb with long teeth and a hard brush. Comb the coat backwards to give a downy aspect when you’re finished. For a short-haired cat, use a soft rubber brush or a glove. Long-haired cats should be groomed every day, while short-haired cats can be brushed only once or twice a week. This will help control shedding.

A cat can lose a certain amount of hair all year-round, but shedding is more important in the spring and the fall, as it will help your cat to get rid of dead hair. A smooth and shiny coat reflects your cat’s good health and diet.

As far as washing goes, cats do a very good job themselves, so bathing your cat is not a necessity. However, even an impeccable cat can have hair balls. One day you might see it vomit a dark, long mass which is in fact a hair ball composed of your cat’s hair swallowed during grooming. Both long-haired and short-haired cats can be affected by hair balls. Brushing and combing your cat regularly will help reduce the amount of hair balls.

If your cat has problems with hair balls, you can give it food specially formulated for that. Remedies against hair balls are also available from your veterinarian. A well-balanced diet is important to keep your cat’s coat healthy and shiny looking.