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VI/. You & Your pixiebob
Part 3 - 1 : the health - General considerations

Although he pixiebob is a particulary robust cat when you get your pixiebob, you should register with a local veterinary practice straight away and make an appointment for a check-up. Your vet can then devise a care programme for your cat. Write a list of the questions you want to ask, so everything can be covered.

Vaccination will protect your pixiebob against various diseases which can cause pain, distress and are often fatal.
By vaccinating your cat you have peace of mind, knowing that you have provided protection.

Your pixiebob kittens should be vaccinated before they mix with other animals. It is essential for their normal development that they are allowed to socialise with other animals while they are very young, so you should get them vaccinated as soon as possible. Ask your vet when they can start meeting other animals and begin to socialise them as soon as it’s safe to do so. Vaccines will protect your cat for cat flu, feline chlamydia, infectious enteritis and leukaemia virus.

Do I need to treat my cat regularly for fleas and worms?
Yes. Cats should be given regular treatments to prevent them from suffering from fleas and worms. Worms can also be harmful to owners, which is another reason why it’s important to prevent them. Ask your vet for advice about which products to use and how often to use them.

Should I use flea and worm treatments bought from the pet shop?
‘Over-the-counter’ flea and worm treatments bought from pet shops and supermarkets may not be as safe or effective as those from veterinary practices. Your vet will be able to advise you about which products work and which ones don’t. NEVER use a dog flea treatment on cats, as this can be fatal.

How do I know if my cat’s got fleas?

Fleas can cause itching, chewing and licking. The skin may become red and inflamed. You might see fleas on your cat (though this is quite uncommon), or you might see small dark flecks (flea ‘dirt’) in the fur and on the ski If you notice any of these signs, take it to see your vet. As well as causing severe skin irritation, fleas play a vital part in the tapeworm’s life cycle.

I think my cat’s got fleas – what should I do?

You should take it to your vet. If it has fleas it’s important to treat the house, the cat and all other pets in the household. Your vet can recommend safe and effective products to use. The house should be treated with an effective household spray after vacuuming, because flea larvae and eggs live off the animal, in places like carpets and rugs. Particular attention should be paid to areas where your cat spends time, as well as warm areas such as near to radiators. As well as thinking about fleas, it is important to follow the worming regime recommended by your vet.

What is neutering?
Neutering is an operation carried out by a vet. In male animals, the testicles are removed – this is called ‘castration’. In female animals, the ovaries and the uterus (womb) are removed – this is called ‘spaying’.

What are the benefits of neutering?

There are hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals in need of homes. Neutering stops animals from adding to this problem by having unwanted litters.
It also reduces the risk of our pets developing some serious diseases. This can help them live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.

Spaying female cats - Should I get my female cat neutered (spayed)?
Spaying stops your cat from having unwanted kittens and stops her from developing cancer of the ovaries or uterus. It also stops her from coming into ‘heat’ frequently which may be upsetting for her.

When is the best time to get my female cat neutered (spayed)?

The operation is often done at around five to six months of age, but can safely be done when your cat is younger or older. Ask your vet when the best time is for your cat.

Should my female cat have a litter before she’s neutered (spayed)?

There’s no benefit to your cat, and by delaying getting her spayed you increase her risk of having an unwanted litter.

Should I get my male cat neutered?

Castrating it prevents the fathering of unwanted kittens when he’s away from your house. It also makes it less likely to fight, so reduces its chances of getting feline AIDS (FIV) (which is spread by bites).
Castration also makes your cat less likely to roam, which can reduce his chances of getting hit by a car, and he is less likely to spray urine in the house.

When is the best time to get my male cat neutered (castrated)?

The operation is often done at five to six months of age, but can safely be done when a cat is younger or older. Ask your vet when the best time is.

How do I know if it is ill?
You should check your cat each day for any signs of illness. These might include the following: sickness or diarrhoea, significant weight change (in either direction) over a short period, loss of appetite, drinking much more or less than normal, lack of energy/sleeping more than usual, unusual swellings, skin conditions, limping, coughing, unusual bleeding, signs of pain, such as sensitivity to touch or runny eyes or nose.
There could be other signs of illness, not on this list, and any change in your cat’s behaviour should alert you to the possibility of illness.

What should I do if I think my cat is ill?

If you are worried about the health of your cat it is always best to contact your local veterinary practice.

Should I take out pet insurance?
While most cat owners will have considered routine costs, such as vaccinations and worming, it is the out-of-the-ordinary expenses that you may not be prepared for. The treatment associated with a road accident can run into thousands of pounds. Many cat owners now take out pet insurance, which helps you budget for the unexpected.

Do I need to groom my cat?
All cats need regular grooming, but long-haired ones need more coat care than short-haired.

How often should I groom my cat?
A long-haired cat should be combed and brushed once a day while one with short hair will usually only need brushing twice a week. Get a brush and comb that are suited to the hair type.

Should I get it microchipped?
Microchipping increases the chances of a cat being reunited with the owner should they become separated.

What is a microchip and how does it reunite cats with their owners?
A microchip is a tiny radio chip, about the size of a grain of rice, injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. Missing cats when found can be scanned and the chip can be read. It contains a unique identification number, logged on a national database, which can be matched against your contact details. The chip is made of non-reactive material so doesn’t cause any problems sitting beneath the skin throughout its life.

Last updated: 09/04/2016

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