Caring for your Cat

To help you care for your cat we offer the following information and advice

Microchip your cat.
A small microchip is inserted under the cat's skin between his shoulder blades. It offers cats a safe and permanent method of identification and increases the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with its owner. It is more reliable than other forms of identification such as collars which can get snagged or lost. Each microchip carries a unique identification number linked to a database containing details of the pet, as well as the owner's contact details. When a scanner detects a microchip, the vet can obtain the owners details from the database and contact the owner very quickly. Once micro chipped, you must keep your pets' registration details up-to-date, if you move house or change your contact numbers.
Microchipping can be done by a vet/nurse or other trained personnel. It is very small and is simply inserted under the cat's skin between his shoulder blades. If possible, it is inserted at the same time as neutering, so the cat is not even aware that of the procedure. But it can be done at any time, and is no more painful than an injection.
Every year, many, many cats are lost, and without proper identification, can often not be returned to their owners, causing heartbreak and hardship for all concerned. All good rescue charities will scan any new arrivals to double-check that they don't have a microchip.
So don't delay, make that microchipping appointment today!

If you have adopted a cat from the Scratching Post, please ask us about our microchipping scheme, which we have recently introduced for all cats, past and present, who have been adopted from our charity.'

Neutering your cat

This information has been published by Cat Chat PO Box 358 Ramsgate Kent CT12 6YP and has been reproduced here with their kind permission. Photos are courtesy of the Celia Hammond Animal Trust

Why Neuter?

There are 21,000 reasons why you should get your cat neutered ~ because that's potentially how many offspring could result from one un-neutered female cat and her descendants in just seven years!
There is a cat over-population crisis in the UK today, which results in 1,000's of healthy but unwanted cats and kittens being destroyed EVERY DAY because there are not enough homes to go round. This sad fact is true also for dogs, and neutering is the only humane answer.
Neutering your cats, male or female, is the best and most humane way of reducing the stray cat population, helping lower the instances of F.I.V. and fight-injuries, and preventing healthy cats from being destroyed.

Female cats ~ 'Shouldn't we let her have one litter?'

It is a complete myth that a female cat should be allowed to have one litter. There is no biological or psychological benefit to the cat whatsoever. If you allow your female cat to have a litter, and manage to find homes for the kittens, they have then used up homes that kittens sitting in a rescue centre could have had, which may then end up being destroyed.
Many female cats come into season, get chased far from their home by un-neutered males and end up completely lost, pregnant, and living on the streets. This is how feral cat colonies are formed. They struggle to survive, often hungry, and frequently becoming sick or injured.
Many stray, un-neutered males carry the FIV virus, and female cats are often infected if they are bitten during mating. Males often infect each other with FIV or feline leukaemia when fighting over a female.
A female cat should be neutered at 5 - 6 months but can be neutered at any age. Even if your cat is kept indoors, it is kinder to neuter her, as she will still come into season, which is very frustrating for her and for you. Un-neutered females are also more at risk of developing cystic ovaries and the potentially fatal pyometra.

Male cats ~ if you love them, get them neutered!

When an un-neutered male reaches maturity, he will begin to roam further a field in his quest for females, exposing himself to territory battles with other males, and risking his life on busy roads. Those that roam too far will join the UK's estimated two and a half MILLION strays living on the streets today, and face a very bleak future.
Un-neutered male cats are very aggressive towards other cats, particularly other un-neutered males. Their fights result in horrific bite injuries, abscesses, damaged eyes, and infections such as FIV. With no-one to take them to the vet, many injuries become infected, and often result in death.
Male cats should be neutered at six months, but can be neutered at any age thereafter. If your cat is kept indoors, neutering is still the best option. Neutering will prevent him from become sexually frustrated and continually trying to escape, and will also save you from the smelly problem of urine-spraying. Having the snip will not 'change his personality', that is another common myth without any basis in fact.

Please neuter your cat ~ be part of the solution, not the problem

KEEP YOUR CAT IN AT NIGHT!

As Spring approaches, it reminds me of a visit I made to the vet last year, on the first mild weekend of 2005 in the start of Spring. As I sat waiting patiently with my little cat in her basket, I chatted amiably with the vet nurse on duty.
The phone rang, and sadly it was an enquiry about cremation for a pet cat who had been run over in the night. After she had completed the call, the vet nurse told me that it was the third such phone call she had received that morning.
It understandable that we all want to give our cats more freedom to enjoy the great outdoor as the days become longer and the temperatures heat up, but please keep your cat safe by still bringing him or her indoors at night.
More cats go missing overnight than at any other time. Some are involved in accidents, and others just disappear without a trace, leaving a heartbroken owner behind to search over days, perhaps weeks or even months for their beloved pet.
A lot of people ask us whether foxes are a danger to their cat. It is likely that a fox won't often attack a cat, as they have good defence mechanisms (i.e. sharp claws!). However, a young vixen with a litter of babies to feed will take more risks to provide food for her family, and kittens and older cats are especially at risk. The introduction of plastic 'wheelie bins' has also removed an important food source for these scavengers, and many have been starving over Winter and will be more willing to take on a cat.
I often hear people say that it's impossible to persuade their cat of the merits of staying in at night, but there are ways and means to assist you here! A 4 way-locking cat flat that can be set to 'in-only' is my personal favourite. Once your cat comes in, give him/her a small treat as a reward, and lock up your cat flap (you don't want to wake up to find the neighbourhood cats have moved in!) I find the cats understand that it's 'bed-time' best if I then place an item in front of the flap, so they can see that it is 'closed' and don't scratch away at it trying to get out, in their confusion.
Keep your cat interested in coming home, by keeping them a bit hungry. Keep them close to home by providing them with an interesting and safe garden to play in, and by interacting/playing with them (especially youngsters) when they do come home, and also play with them in your own garden so they see it as a fun place to be and don't need to wander off to find excitement elsewhere.
Ensure your cat has proper identification - a microchip is the best way, but identification can also be attached to collars (the snap-off ones, or at minimum elasticated, and reflective.)
There's no sleep so sound as one in the knowledge that your cats are safely tucked in for the night….and the local wildlife population will thank you for this too!
If you have any other hints or tips you would like to share on this subject, please email the webmaster.''