Category: caring for your cat

Kitten care

Cats are now our most popular domestic pet. Some people acquire a cat almost by accident but if you make a conscious decision to get one you should think carefully about what sort of cat you want – short or long haired, pedigree or ordinary ‘moggie’, etc. Although obtaining a kitten may be a particularly attractive proposition because of its playful and endearing personality, taking on a young cat also involves extra responsibilities.

If you decide that you want to get a pedigree kitten, you need to find a breeder (your vet may be able to supply a list of breeders or contact details) and be prepared to pay a substantial sum of money. If your vet does not feel able to ‘recommend’ a suitable breeder you can contact the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).

Non-pedigree kittens can often be obtained free, or at least for a nominal amount. Animal welfare charities may ask you to make a donation towards their running costs. Other places to look for kittens are the advertisement board in your veterinary practice, newspapers and your local post office or newsagents shop. If you know of a friendly good natured cat in the locality that is about to have kittens it may be worthwhile waiting until they are available.

It is not a good idea to obtain a kitten from a pet shop as they often carry diseases and can be very stressed. Try to see a kitten with its mother and brothers and sisters as it is easier to judge its temperament in a natural setting.

If you get a kitten that is already carrying a disease, it may never recover full health and the treatment may be expensive. A healthy kitten will have clear bright eyes, clean nostrils and ears and a shiny coat. If your kitten has runny eyes, sneezing or a nasal discharge it may have a severe respiratory infection. Being able to see the third eyelid (a membrane in the corner of its eyes nearest the nose) or a dull coat are also signs of ill health. Avoid taking on a kitten with dirty ears which may be infected with bacteria or ear mites or an animal which is thin and has a pot-belly as it may be heavily infected with worms.

If you are in any doubt, ask to have the kitten examined by your vet before agreeing to take it on. In any case, make an appointment for any new kitten to be examined by your vet on the second or third day in your care. Your vet will check that your kitten is healthy, and give you advice on feeding your kitten, vaccination, worming and neutering.

A normal kitten should be active, playful and comfortable with people. It is a bad sign if the kitten runs away and hides or appears sleepy all the time. However, normal kittens do sleep for long periods and it is worthwhile watching it for some time or visiting on several occasions before reaching a decision on whether you want to take it home. Normal kittens suddenly change from being playful to being tired or hungry.

A kitten that has interacted with people and other animals in the first eight weeks of life will be able to deal with new situations and owners more easily than one that has been kept in quiet isolation. Early experiences are important for a confident, well balanced cat. Avoid nervous kittens as they seldom become the outgoing friendly cat that most people want. Choose the kitten to suit your lifestyle. If you have children and dogs try and find a kitten that has previous experience of these.

Before taking a kitten home find out about the type of care it was getting. Kittens can leave their mothers from about the age of eight weeks and most ‘moggies’ will not be vaccinated (inoculated) by then. If you are buying a pedigree kitten it will not be able to leave the breeder until it is 12 weeks old and will usually have had some, or all, of it’s vaccinations. Ask which vaccinations it has received and you should be given a vaccination record signed by a vet (with details of the kitten’s identity).

You also need to know whether your kitten has been treated for fleas or worms and what sort of food it has been eating. Feed the same food for a few days and reintroduce new foods gradually (if you need to) so that your kitten’s system does not get too much of a shock.

Have all the necessary equipment ready before bringing a new kitten into your house. You should have the following:

  • a carrying box
  • food and water bowls
  • food
  • a comfortable bed
  • a litter tray with litter (preferably the same brand that the kitten has been using so far)
  • a grooming brush or comb
  • a collar with name and address tag.

Make sure the collar is not so tough that it will not snap if your kitten gets caught by it. It may also be a good idea to have some toys to keep the kitten amused and a scratching post so that it does not exercise its claws on your furniture. Sometimes nail clippers can be helpful in trimming your kitten’s claws but these are not recommended for anyone who is not used to handling cats.

The first days away from its mother and littermates are understandably stressful for most kittens. Bouts of diarrhoea are common and should not cause too much alarm. Your kitten will need plenty of love and attention until it settles into its new home. Show it the litter tray and its food/water bowls that should not be too close to the litter tray. If there are young children in the house they must not become overexcited or treat the kitten like a toy. All doors, windows and cat flaps should be shut and the kitten should not be allowed outside for at least 2-3 weeks, until it has completed all its necessary vaccinations.

Until it is fully protected against the common preventable diseases of cats, your kitten should only mix with cats that are already fully vaccinated and known to be healthy. If you have other pet cats or a dog these should be introduced gradually to the kitten. During the first meetings the kitten should be safe inside a cage that allows the other pets to see and smell but not touch it. Later your kitten may also need a ‘bolt hole’, where it can escape if the other pets become aggressive or overly playful. Your old and new pets may never become the best of friends but with care and time they should learn to tolerate each other.

One of the attractions of cats is that they require very little maintenance. A kitten will have to be wormed approximately every two weeks from four to sixteen weeks and older cats approximately every three months. Once your kitten has had its first course of vaccinations it will need an annual booster vaccination.

Regular daily grooming for long-haired cats is recommended to keep their coat in good condition and short-haired breeds will also benefit from grooming, particularly when they are moulting. Brushing its coat, and teeth to prevent dental disease, is easier if your kitten is used to it from an early age. Your vet may be able to supply you with a finger toothbrush that is often easier to use in cats. The eyes and nose of long-haired breeds may also need to be wiped occasionally with damp cotton wool.

Kittens can be neutered from a young age but this is usually done between the ages of four and six months. Some females can be fertile at six months so make sure you arrange to have your kitten neutered promptly to avoid adding to the mountain of unwanted kittens, which are produced every year.

Cats can make valuable additions to the household and generally require much less maintenance than dogs, providing they are healthy and happy.

Register your new pet with your vet as soon as possible and visit the practice to get advice on routine health care and neutering before problems develop.

Introducing your new baby to your cat

Bringing a new born baby into the home can be a stressful and exciting time for parents. Spare a thought for your cat for whom it will seem that their whole life has been turned upside down. Not only will your cat be exposed to the baby’s crying and smells, but it will also have to tolerate physical changes to its environment, i.e. new baby equipment and furniture. Inevitably, once the baby is born, you will not have the same time to give to your cat.

Cats can react in different ways to the introduction of a baby. Those that have had previous experience of babies may take the new addition in their stride. However, others may hide all day or spend more time outside in order to avoid the ‘horrors’ associated with a new baby. Others may start to show inappropriate behaviour, such as persistent attention seeking, or even more upsetting stress-related behaviours such as aggression or house-soiling.

Cats that enjoy their owner’s attention may suffer most from the change in their routine. If your cat is an attention seeker you can start to get it used to less attention even before the baby is born. Ignore any attempt made by your cat to get attention but when they are resting or amusing themselves, reward this independent behaviour with attention and play. This will teach your cat that there is no point coming to you for attention but that you will fuss it when you have time.

There are, of course, many changes created by the presence of a baby. In advance of the baby’s arrival, purchase or make a recording of baby sounds, e.g. crying and gurgling. This can be played quietly to your cat when they are eating or playing. Very slowly turn the volume of the recording up, all the time rewarding your cat’s relaxed behaviour with play or food rewards. If your cat seems anxious about hearing the baby sounds then stop the recording and play it again later but at a lower volume so that your cat learns to associate the sounds with a positive experience.

If you know anyone that has just had a baby, ask to borrow a used baby blanket and leave it lying around your house so that your cat can experience the smells of a new baby in an unthreatening way.

It is important not to rush things. If you carefully introduce the different aspects of a new baby in the house your cat will slowly accept this change to its environment. Try to buy new furniture and equipment over a period of time, rather than all at once. This way your cat will get used to the presence and smell of each new item on its own, rather than being overwhelmed by everything at once.

It is important that you introduce your cat to the disruption caused by bringing home a new baby in a gradual and staged manner. If you gradually expose your cat to the changes, preferably before the baby arrives, your cat will cope much more easily. You will then be able to enjoy many happy family moments with your baby and your cat together.

Injecting your cat

Administration of medicine by injection is often referred to as giving drugs by the parenteral route. The other main means of administering treatment is via the mouth and digestive system – the oral route. Effective administration of medicine is a key part of most veterinary treatments and many medications are most effective when given by injection. Administration of medicine by injection is also essential for some drugs that are destroyed by acids in the stomach, e.g. insulin.

Injections can be given into:

  • muscle (intramuscular injection)
  • tissue under the skin (subcutaneous injection)
  • veins (intravenous injection)
  • skin (intradermal injection)
  • body cavities, i.e. the abdominal cavity (known as intraperitoneal injection) or thoracic cavity (known as intrapleural injection)
  • bone (intraosseous injection).

Abbreviations are often used for injection routes, e.g. IM for intramuscular; SC or SQ for subcutaneous, and so on. This factsheet will only consider the intramuscular and subcutaneous routes as these are the techniques most likely to be encountered by cat owners.

Clean techniques should always be used when administering injections. If the coat is very dirty it should be clipped and cleaned. Skin should be swabbed with alcohol. Never administer an injection through dirty or infected skin.

Different formulations of injection are used for the different routes and it is particularly important not to administer an injection directly into the blood unless it is specifically recommended for this route.

This is the route used for administration of most injections and vaccinations/boosters. Domestic animals have plenty of loose skin so it is very simple to lift a flap of skin and insert a needle into the subcutaneous tissue. There are very few important (or easily damaged) structures under the skin so this is a safe route of medicine administration; it is also usually quite painless.

Owners can easily be taught to give injections in this way, e.g. owners of diabetic animals are taught how to administer insulin subcutaneously so that they can give regular injections to their pet at home. This route is not suitable for administration of irritant medications as they may cause severe skin reaction and damage.

Drugs given into muscles are absorbed very quickly because there is a good blood supply to muscle tissue. Injection into muscle is not without some risk since there are many important structures e.g. arteries, veins and nerves running through the muscle tissue. It is important to check that the needle has not accidentally been placed in a blood vessel (particularly an artery) in the muscle, before giving the injection.

Once the needle has been inserted into the muscle, gentle suction should be applied to the syringe to ensure that blood does not flow back into the needle. If blood does flow back, a different injection site should be chosen. This technique can also be used for subcutaneous injections, though penetration of a blood vessel is far less likely to occur here.

Appropriate sites for intramuscular injection are:

  • the quadriceps (muscle on the front of the thigh)
  • lumbodorsal muscles (muscles either side of the lumbar spine)
  • the triceps muscle (behind the humerus (arm bone) in the front leg).

The hamstrings (muscles at the back of the thigh) should generally be avoided due to the possibility of damage to the important sciatic nerve that runs in this area. Volumes of injection should not be more than 2 ml in cats.

Intramuscular injections are more painful than subcutaneous ones. Good technique minimizes this but even so, many animals will react to the injection. A positive action for insertion of needles into muscles reduces muscle damage and pain and massaging the site after injection disperses the injection and may help to reduce pain. Use of a fine needle minimizes discomfort. Owners are not often called upon to give intramuscular injections but they may be asked to hold their pet while it receives one.

Some drugs are specially formulated so that they are more slowly absorbed and can sit in the muscle, being absorbed gradually over many months and producing a long-acting effect (so called ‘depot injections’).

The other injection routes mentioned above are mainly used in hospitalized animals and are given by those professionally trained to do so. These routes may be used for specific purposes – often because a very fast reaction to the drug being administered is sought, as in intravenous injections of anaesthetics. Shaved or clipped areas on the cat’s leg usually show where an intravenous injection has been given.

The lining of the respiratory tract is thin and vascular and absorption of some drugs from this site can be very rapid. Intranasal vaccines, e.g. for kennel cough in dogs, are given into the nose and the live virus is able to penetrate the lining of the nose. Nebulised drugs can be used for the treatment of respiratory disease and administration by this route allows rapid penetration to the local site where they are to have their action. However, the use of nebulised drugs means that the patient must breathe air containing the drug. Nebulised drugs can be delivered via a face mask although many conscious patients will not tolerate a face mask, so a special nebulisation chamber is often required.

In cardiac arrest, adrenaline is sometimes administered through the endotracheal tube and absorption via this route is rapid and the technique is much safer than the alternative, intracardiac adrenaline injection.

This may happen when you are learning to give injections, especially when using the very fine ultra-sharp needles used for insulin administration. It is easy to penetrate two layers of skin so that the drug ends up on the coat instead of under the skin. If you are absolutely sure the cat received no drug, it is safe to repeat the injection. If some may have been received, the safest course of action is to give no more. Contact your vet for advice.

After use it is very important that needles have their protective caps securely replaced to prevent someone becoming injured. The used needles and syringes should then be carefully stored in a sealed container or ‘sharps’ box and returned to the veterinary practice for safe disposal.

Wearing disposable gloves is a useful measure for giving injections. Your veterinary practice may be able to order large boxes of these for you, which is more economical than buying from a pharmacy, etc. Some owners prefer not to wear gloves as they feel it is more awkward.

First cap the needle and syringe carefully and put it out of harm’s way. Then thoroughly wash your finger with soap and water for 5 minutes, preferably using a soft nail brush on the affected area. Dry the skin and apply a bandage. You should contact both your veterinarian and your doctor for advice. Note that any lasting harm is very unlikely indeed.

Indoor cats

Cats are increasingly being kept indoors, for many reasons. Owners may want to protect their cats from road traffic accidents, from sustaining injuries from fights with neighbouring cats, and theft. Alternatively, some owners may wish to prevent their cats preying on local wildlife. Despite increasing the average life expectancy of cats, can an indoor life lead to ill health and mental suffering?

Cats have specific needs which are not always satisfied in an indoor-only environment. On average, feral domestic cats spend approximately 8 hours hunting every day and therefore spend a lot of their mental and physical energy engaged in gaining enough to eat. Because hunting is such an important activity for cats, pet cats that have free access to the outdoors often engage in hunting activity even though they are also fed by their owner.

In contrast, cats that don’t go outside, or have restricted access to the outside, are unable to display their full range of normal behaviours and may become inactive and depressed, or show signs of frustration. A monotonous and predictable indoor environment will exacerbate this. Therefore, by keeping our cats indoors, we keep them safe from physical dangers but we also challenge their ability to perform natural behaviours.

At the most basic level, indoor cats require access to an appropriate toileting site such as a litter tray, food, water bowls/fountains, and a comfortable sleeping area. These resources should be placed in separate areas as cats generally do not like to eat or sleep near where they toilet and often prefer to drink away from their feeding area.

They must also be in private, quiet locations away from any noisy household appliances that might come on unexpectedly and scare the cat, such as the washing machine, and any disturbances from other pets or family members.

It is important to provide indoor cats with suitable levels of stimulation by providing an environment that promotes natural behaviours such as chasing and pouncing, climbing and scratching, hiding, and more natural feeding opportunities.

As cats are highly motivated to hunt, owners should encourage hunting-type behaviours indoors. Toys that mimic prey in texture and movement will attract the cat’s attention and stimulate chasing and pouncing behaviours. Being able to catch the toy is very important to prevent frustration, for example, chasing the light from a laser light pen can be frustrating for the cat if it cannot actually catch the light.

Owners should interact with their cat using fishing rod-type toys but should also provide toys that the cat can play with independently. Cat nip toys are suitable for most cats but some do not respond at all and others may become aggressive.

Cats wouldn’t naturally eat just once or twice a day, rather they would have several small meals. Providing the cat with foraging opportunities where they can find small meals in various locations is more natural. Food challenges can be made increasingly more difficult by using bought or home-made puzzle feeders.

Scratching posts should be provided to allow the cat to sharpen its claws. These can be incorporated into climbing and activity centres which encourage the cat to perform natural climbing and jumping behaviours. This also provides much needed exercise. Cats also like to observe and rest on elevated surfaces so make the most of vertical space by providing beds at the top of these climbing trees or on top of wardrobes.

Visual stimulation can easily be provided via a window sill allowing the cat to look outside onto a garden, or a DVD specially designed for the enrichment of cats. However, visual stimulation should be provided with caution as the cat may become frustrated if it cannot access the source of stimulation, for example chase a bird it can see outside.

Outdoor enclosures can provide a cat with the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors but with less of the risks. Ideally, free access should be provided from the house via a cat flap allowing the cat control over its use of the enclosure. The enclosure needs to provide shelter from the elements and a place to hide from other cats if it cannot return to the house by itself. Again the vertical space should be utilised by proving shelves, ramps and climbing trees. Cat friendly plants can be provided and there should always be fresh water and litter tray provided if the cat cannot choose to return inside.

Owners can also provide mental and physical stimulation in the form of positive reward training. Initially, simple, desirable behaviours can be rewarded with small food treats but these can become more complex as the cat gets the hang of it!

Indoor cats are predisposed to developing cystitis because of the stress associated with their lifestyle so make sure they are encouraged to drink by providing clean, fresh drinking water away from their food and in a number of different receptacles.

Cats lead a less active life when kept indoors and so are at risk of becoming obese and developing related medical problems such as diabetes. Therefore, owners should consider feeding the cat a low calorie diet. Owners should also consider providing grass for the cat to eat, this will aid digestion. Puzzle feeders will also extend the cat’s feeding times and reduce the amount consumed. Opportunities for exercise should be provided, such as play and climbing.

Although indoor cats are less likely to be exposed to viral and bacterial infections as outdoor cats they are still at risk from both infections and parasites, especially if they are in contact with other animals in the household that go outdoors or they themselves have restricted access via an outdoor enclosure or from a stay at a cattery. Therefore, vaccinations, internal and external parasite prevention is still important.

Cats are social but they would naturally only live in social groups under very specific conditions of resource abundance and distribution, relatedness to each other, and where there is no competition for resources such as food, water, toileting sites and access outdoors. If these conditions are not met then living in close proximity to other cats can be very stressful. If there is more than one cat in the house, all of these resources need to be provided for each cat and placed in different locations so no cat has to ‘queue’ to access food or the litter tray. These resources should not be placed in areas where one cat can block access to or from these resources by another cat.

Feliway, a synthetic copy of the facial pheromone used by cats to mark areas of their territory to make them feel safer, can be used to reduce stress and increase their feeling of security in areas of the home that may prove challenging to the cat.

Giving medicines to your cat

For most veterinary treatments it is important that medicines are given correctly. In the hospital, trained staff give medicines and it is important to ensure that you are able to continue to give the medicines once your cat has been sent home. If you have any doubts about how to give the medicine your pet has been prescribed, ask your vet or a nurse to show you.

To be effective, most treatments have to be given regularly and for the right length of time. If medicines are not given correctly the active part may be lost or poorly absorbed. This reduces the dose that the patient receives and may delay recovery from illness or early recurrence of disease.

There are several important elements to giving medicine:

  • Ensure treatment is given correctly, i.e. the patient receives the correct dose, as and when needed.
  • Ensure safety of both the patient and the personnel involved in the procedure. In almost all cases, it is easier to administer treatment effectively if an assistant is able to help: one person restrains the cat and the other gives the treatment. However, it is usually possible for experienced owners to give medication by most routes to a reasonably co-operative and obedient cat.
  • Ensure medicine is stored correctly and handled according to instructions supplied.
  • Any untoward effects of medicines should be reported to the veterinary clinic or hospital. Adverse effects are rare, but possible.

Many medicines are designed to be given by mouth – largely because this is a convenient route for home treatment. Oral medicines can be given as tablets, capsules, liquids and pastes. Most medicines given by mouth enter the stomach and pass through into the intestine where they are absorbed into the blood.

The presence of food in the stomach helps absorption of some drugs but hinders the absorption of others. It can therefore be important when you give oral medicines in relation to feeding and you should follow any specific instructions your vet gives you.

Direct oral administration of medication obviously involves dealing with the animal’s mouth. This may be a real problem in aggressive patients and alternative routes of medicine administration (or mixing of medication with food) may be needed if there is a significant safety risk.

Tablets and capsules

Tablets are made from compacted, powdered drug (usually mixed with something like chalk to make the tablet the right size, and often with a flavour to make it more palatable). Capsules contain powdered drug inside a gelatine case – once inside the gastrointestinal tract the gelatine dissolves to release the drug. Some tablets have special coatings to protect the drug from the action of acid in the stomach – the coating is dissolved in the stomach and the drug released once the tablet is in the intestine.

Tablets are often crushed and put into food, but the fussy cat may refuse to eat the medicated food. Keeping the cat slightly hungry before tablet administration and offering the powdered tablet disguised in a small amount of especially tasty food, may get round this problem. The rest of the meal is given only once the medication has been taken. You can buy special treats to hide tablets in, or else you can improvise using, e.g. soft cheese.

This can work quite well but if an animal bites into the tablet they are likely to spit it out and will be reluctant to be fooled by the same trick again. The most certain way is to give the tablet directly into the mouth (see below: “Oral administration”). If the tablet is swallowed you know the whole dose has been taken.


Drugs mixed into pastes can be particularly useful for use in cats. The sticky paste is smeared onto the tongue and the cat is unable to spit it out so has no alternative but to swallow. Some of these medications can be smeared onto an area of fur for the cat to lick off while grooming.

Liquid formulation

Liquids can be very tricky to administer effectively to cats unless they can be mixed with food. If they are mixed with food it is important to ensure that the medicine is thoroughly mixed in and that the patient eats all the food containing the medication. Some liquid medications taste unpleasant so need to be mixed with quite a large volume of strongly flavoured food to disguise them. Animals will often refuse to eat contaminated food or eat around bits of food containing the drug if it has not been mixed in well.

Liquid medications are usually administered directly into the mouth using a syringe. It is very easy for cats to refuse to swallow liquid medications and to dribble it from their mouths. When giving liquids by mouth, great care must be taken, to ensure that the patient swallows the medication and does not breathe it in. Oily medications e.g. liquid paraffin in the lungs can cause severe pneumonia.

Topical (on the body surface) application of medicine can be used to treat specific areas, such as patches of skin, or as a simple way of giving medicine to a patient because some drugs are taken up through the skin into the body. A lot of drugs are readily absorbed through the skin and if given frequently, or for prolonged periods, can build up in the body, causing side effects. For example, steroids put onto the skin can eventually cause signs of a condition called Cushing’s disease.

Most cats will lick off any medication on the skin if they can reach. it This should be prevented by the use of dressings, Elizabethan collars or other protective devices.

Topical treatment for local effect

Ocular (eye) treatment

Eye conditions are quite common in domestic pets and are often best treated by topical therapy. Eye treatments come as drops or creams/ointments. Drops can be easy to apply to the eye (see below; “Ocular administration”) but are washed out quickly and may need to be given many times daily. Ointments and creams persist in the eye for longer and some only need to be given once daily.

Aural (ear) treatment

The inside surface of the ear canal is just a special type of skin. However, this is a very sensitive area, so only treatments specially made for use in the ear area should be used. Drops or creams can be used effectively (see below; “Aural administration”).

Skin treatment

To be effective, a topical treatment must come into contact with the skin. If necessary, hair should be removed from the area to which the treatment is being applied. The skin surface should be cleaned to remove grease, previously applied medication and any build up of crusting or secretions.

Medication for topical application can be mixed with oily or water-based carriers to produce gels, ointments or creams. Creams or ointments are massaged gently over the skin surface until they are absorbed into the skin. Alternatively, application may be by means of washes or shampoos. Remember when treating skin problems that the area being treated may be sore to touch, so be gentle and ensure that the patient is adequately restrained.

In many skin diseases, a combination of topical and systemic treatment is used, e.g. shampoo and a course of antibiotic tablets.

Topical treatment for systemic (whole body) effect

One advantage of giving medicines by the topical route is that they do not have to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. This makes it a useful way to give drugs that would be destroyed by acids in the stomach. Some drugs can enter the body through the skin and affect organs and tissues far away from the site of original application.

Flea treatment

Some of the topically applied flea treatments are absorbed through the skin and then enter the bloodstream. Spot-on treatments are dropped onto an area of the coat that the cat cannot reach when it grooms itself, usually the back of the neck/scruff area. The active ingredient is absorbed through the skin and enters the cat’s blood. Fleas or other parasites receive a dose of the drug when they next bite the cat and are killed.

Heart treatment

Nitroglycerine cream is used to manage heart disease and is more commonly used in cats than dogs. It causes blood vessels to relax, helping to reduce the workload for the heart. It is applied as a cream on a hairless area of skin (usually the inside of the ear flap) from where it is rapidly absorbed, entering the bloodstream and affecting blood vessels throughout the body.

Pain relief

Sticky patches containing powerful analgesics (pain killers) are now available. These can be applied to hairless areas of skin during the recovery from anaesthesia and slowly release small doses of the drug over several hours or days. This gives the patient a pain-free recovery from surgery, without the need for further injections. These pain-relieving patches are only currently used in hospitalised patients.

Remember that drugs can be absorbed very easily through hairless human skin so gloves should always be worn when handling topical treatments.

  • The handler restrains the patient in a sitting position on a non-slip surface so that it feels secure (preferably with its back to a corner). It is often easier to restrain cats at a working height so place a towel or blanket on a table. If a cat struggles a lot or tries to scratch it may be necessary to wrap it in a towel.
  • The person giving the medicine takes the correct dose of tablets in their dominant hand.
  • The patient should be approached from the side and the other hand used to grasp the top of the muzzle firmly but gently.
  • The upper jaw is grasped just behind the level of the canine teeth and the head pulled upwards until the mouth falls open naturally.
  • A finger of the dominant hand can be used to press down on the lower incisor teeth to open the mouth a little more.
  • The tablets are placed at the back of the tongue and the jaw is allowed to close.
  • The mouth should be held shut until the patient has swallowed. Gentle stroking of the throat area might encourage the patient to swallow. Licking of the nose indicates that swallowing has occurred.
  • The patient should be watched closely immediately after medicine administration to ensure the tablets are not spat out!
  • The handler restrains the patient in a sitting position on a non-slip surface so that it feels secure (preferably with its back to a corner). It is often easier to restrain cats at a working height so place a towel or blanket on a table. If a cat struggles a lot or tries to scratch it may be necessary to wrap it in a towel.
  • The handler grips the head of the cat from underneath. Now they can tilt the cat’s nose upwards using one hand (it may be possible for them to hold the eyelids open with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand when doing this).
  • Alternatively, with one hand on the top of the head and another under the jaw the eyelids can be gently held apart and the head steadied at a suitable angle.
  • The person applying the eye drops opens the bottle or tube and holds it in their dominant hand.
  • They use the thumb and forefinger of their other hand to hold the eyelid open (if necessary).
  • Holding the bottle or dropper above the eye, it is gently squeezed so that the correct amount of medication falls into the eye. Take care not to touch the surface of the eye with the nozzle as this can contaminate the contents and damage the eye.
  • Resting the side of the hand against the muzzle whilst holding the applicator between thumb and forefinger helps to steady the applicator away from the eye and gives good control.
  • When applying creams or ointments it may be necessary to trail the ‘worm’ of ointment against the lower eyelid to detach it from the tube.
  • Keep the cat restrained for a few seconds to allow the treatment to spread over the eye surface – then allow them to blink before releasing them.
  • The handler restrains the cat in a sitting position on a non-slip surface so that it feels secure (preferably with its back to a corner). It is often easier to restrain cats at a working height so place a towel or blanket on a table. If a cat struggles a lot or tries to scratch it may be necessary to wrap it in a towel.
  • The handler restrains the patient from the side ‘cuddling’ it to them with a hand placed over the muzzle pushing the muzzle down and holding the head firmly against their body.
  • The person giving the drops lifts the ear flap to expose the ear canal.
  • The ear canal is cleaned to remove any discharges or previously applied medication before putting in new treatment. Use a large piece of dampened cotton wool.
  • Do not insert cotton buds, instruments or small ‘twirled’ pieces of cotton wool into the ear canal. Only material easily visible at the surface should be gently wiped away.
  • The nozzle of the treatment applicator is held next to the opening of the ear canal and drops or cream are applied into the canal. The nozzle is withdrawn and the vertical ear canal gently massaged from the outside to disperse the treatment (whilst the patient is still restrained).
  • Take care as you release the patient as they are likely to indulge in vigorous head shaking.

In many cases, a missed dose is corrected by giving the dose as soon as you remember and then giving the following one when it would have been due anyway. This applies to most ear and eye treatments, and to many tablets. However because some medication should not be repeated too soon, it is always best to check with your veterinary surgeon as to what to do. Note that intervals of 1-2 hours either side of the specified time are unlikely to make much difference. If it is not possible to contact the veterinary surgeon, then the safest course is to skip the missed dose and just give the next one when it would have been due.

Always contact the veterinary practice for advice. Some tablets have a tendency to do this – the dosing may need to be altered or else an alternative drug may need to be found. Stop the tablets in the meantime.

No, your other cat needs a veterinary check-up first. It could be a different condition that just looks the same, or your other cat could have individual problems that require a different approach. If you used the same product, you would not anyway have enough to complete the course of the first cat’s treatment.

It depends on the problem and the policy of the cattery. Most reputable catteries can cope with routine treatment for problems such as arthritis, heart conditions and skin conditions. Experienced catteries can also handle more complex medical conditions such as the daily injections and treatment for diabetic animals. Speak to both your veterinary surgeon and the cattery in plenty of time.

Furballs in cats

Most cat owners will have seen their cat produce a furball at some time. Although this can appear rather distressing it is a normal event for a significant number of cats so it’s nothing to get unduly concerned about.

Wild cats need different coat densities according to the seasons of the year. In the summer they need a light coat while in the colder months it needs to be thicker and more insulating. As the new coat grows the old coat is lost by moulting. Most pet cats have the luxury of central heating and constant all year round temperatures and this has resulted in almost continuous moulting.

The cat’s instinct is to care for its coat by grooming. Cats have a tongue like a rasp and when they groom loose hair is dislodged and swallowed. In most cats the hair passes through the digestive tract in small amounts and causes no problems. In others, the hair remains in the stomach and gradually accumulates to form a furball. Long-haired cats can be problem. They are much more prone to developing tangles and knots in their fur which tend to tug and put the cat off being groomed. A long-haired kitten may look very cute but the coat will need a lot of time and attention.

The furball (or trichobezoar as it is officially called) rarely causes any problems. As it grows it will eventually be eliminated from the stomach. Sometimes this will mean it travels down the gut and is expelled with the faeces. Often the furball is vomited up it mixed with food or stomach contents but, in many cases, it appears as a clump of soggy hair.

Sometimes attempts to vomit furballs are initially unsuccessful, and only fluid or partially digested food is produced. Affected cats tend to keep vomiting until the furball is finally produced and once the furball has been eliminated the cat usually immediately bounces back to normal.

In very severe cases furballs can cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. Fortunately this complication is very rare, because if it does occur the furball has to be surgically removed. A common misconception is that furballs cause coughing. Some confusion may be derived from the fact that a coughing cat looks very similar to a retching cat.

Although furballs are frequently observed in normal cats, they can be associated with ill health. Irritable skin or psychological disorders can cause a cat to overgroom and take in excessive quantities of hair. In cats with a disease of the gastrointestinal tract which causes an obstruction or a motility problem hairballs may cause frequent blockages.

You should come to recognise what is normal for your cat and if there is any change in the pattern of furball production, or it is associated with weight loss, diarrhoea or a picky appetite, you must consult your vet for advice.

Laxatives lubricate furballs and allow them to progress along the digestive tract. Flavoured petroleum-based laxative gels are favoured for furball treatment and prevention and they tend to be easier to administer. The required dosage will vary according to the individual cat. Some need treatment every few days while others need help only at times of heavy moulting. If your cat still appears to have a problem eliminating a furball, your vet may prescribe drugs which enhance gut motility. Persistent or frequently recurring furballs are likely to need further investigation.

A number of steps can be taken to help prevent furballs. One of the most important is frequent grooming which significantly decreases the amount of loose hair your cat will swallow. If you introduce grooming as part of a kitten’s daily routine it tends to accept the process. Many older cats love being groomed but others will put you in your place if you dare to impose this strange ritual on them.

A popular grooming tool, particularly for shorthaired cats, is a rubber brush. It is soft enough not to cause any discomfort (in fact, it’s a bit like using a massage mitt) but it can shift almost frightening amounts of loose hair. It’s not only great for the cat but it works wonders for removing cat hair from carpets and furniture as well.

There is a range of dry foods which are designed to help reduce the formation of furballs in the gut. These foods contain a high level of a particular type of vegetable fibre which helps to “sweep” the fur along the intestines in the right direction.

Fleas – an itchy business

Fleas are the most common parasite in cats and every cat is likely to be infected at some stage in its life. However, with the advent of modern products it is possible to prevent fleas from becoming a problem in your household. Your veterinary practice can give you advice on how to use these products effectively, so you can stop these nasty little insects making a meal of your cat and you!

Fleas are small, reddish-brown insects who lead a complex life away from your pet. Only the adult fleas live on your cat and drink its blood; the early stages live free in the environment, i.e. your home. For every flea that you see running through your pet’s fur, there may be hundreds of young fleas waiting to jump aboard a passing pet – or if you are unlucky – onto you.

Adult fleas lay eggs in the pet’s fur. Each female flea can produce dozens of eggs every day. They are pearly white in colour and about the size of a grain of salt. The eggs do not stick to the fur and soon fall off onto the floor.

After a few days, the eggs hatch into maggot-like larvae which hide in your carpets, cracks in the floor or in your cat’s bedding. They feed on dust and the droppings of adult fleas, which mostly consist of undigested blood.

After a time, the larva spins a cocoon in which it develops into an adult flea. They may stay in this resting stage for several months but finally the adult flea breaks out of its cocoon and crawls out of its hiding place to look for food. If it cannot find a cat or a dog it will hop on to any warm-blooded animal that passes by, including humans.

Centrally heated homes provide ideal conditions for a flea to grow from an egg into an adult. The minimum time for the cycle is two and a half to three weeks, but young fleas can live for over a year before reaching maturity and getting back on your pet. Most adult fleas live for 2-3 months feeding – the females feed on blood from biting your pet.

Fleas are the most common cause of skin disease in cats. Flea spit contains chemicals which stop blood clotting until the flea has finished feeding and these chemicals may cause an allergic reaction in your pet. Most animals are not affected by this allergy, but those which are suffer severe itching. Affected animals lick or rub themselves, wearing away their fur and making their skin red and sore. Sometimes a crusty rash will develop.

Allergies appear most often in summer when the flea population is greatest. Skin problems may continue long after the flea which caused it has gone but they should eventually disappear if you treat your pet to remove fleas and continue treatment to stop the fleas returning. In the short term your vet may prescribe drugs to stop the itchiness.

Immature fleas pick up infection from the environment and may carry the eggs of an immature form of tapeworm. If the flea is accidentally swallowed by an animal whilst grooming, the tapeworm can develop inside the cat’s gut. Once inside your pet, the tapeworm continues to grow and may reach as much as 60 cm long. If you have seen fleas on your pet you should treat your pet with a product to remove tapeworms as well as getting on top of flea control.

  • Take a sheet of good quality white paper and wet one side by running it under the tap.
  • Place the sheet on a flat surface, e.g. a worktop, with the wet surface uppermost.
  • Sit your cat against the edge of the paper.
  • Rub or brush the small of your pet’s back so that scurf and flea droppings fall onto the wet paper.
  • Look for ‘coal dust’ which, after 30-60 seconds, goes reddish brown. (This is the dried blood in the flea droppings.)

Sometimes there are no obvious signs of fleas and your vet might suggest testing your pet’s skin to see if it is allergic to flea spit.

Treating the areas where your pet spends most of its time is also important – particularly the places it lies down to sleep. Washing your pet’s bedding in hot water will destroy the young fleas (but not the eggs) and vacuuming your carpets also helps keep the numbers down.

Some products kill the flea itself and some prevent immature fleas from developing and reinfecting your pet in the future. Your vet can advise you on which product, or combination of products, to use. You must continue to treat your pet and your home all year round, even if you do not see fleas.

All the cats and dogs (because most fleas on dogs are cat fleas), in a household should be treated even if only one animal appears to be affected by flea bites. If you do not continue treatment, the affected animal may be reinfected with fleas carried by other animals in your home or by fleas it picks up outside.

Fleas can be a real menace in centrally heated homes, particularly if you have more than one pet. Regular treatment with the products recommended by your vet should keep fleas under control all year round. Use your diary or calendar to note down when the next flea treatment is due – do not rely on your memory.

Flea control

Fleas are the most common parasite in household pets and every cat is likely to be infected at some stage in its life. Fortunately, with the advent of modern products it is possible to prevent fleas from becoming a problem in your home. Your veterinary practice can give you advice on which flea control products to use, and how.

Fleas can be a real menace in centrally heated homes, particularly if you have more than one pet. They are the most common cause of skin disease in cats (causing allergies as well as irritation) and may also carry other diseases. Unfortunately, fleas are not too particular and will happily bite you and your family if they cant find a convenient pet!

To ensure your home is free from fleas you must control them on your pets and in the environment. There are many products available to kill adult fleas on pets. These products work in different ways – some are more effective, work faster or longer than others. There are many ways of applying the products and you should be able to choose something that you find convenient and simple to use. Prices of products may vary but the most convenient and effective are usually more expensive. If your pet is allergic to fleas it is very important to prevent any flea bites, so you should use a product which kills fleas rapidly.

Products for controlling fleas act in 1 of 3 ways:

  1. Chemicals which are toxic to the adult flea: These products are usually applied to the animal’s coat and poison any flea that passes through. Some chemicals can also be applied to the house so that fleas can be killed whilst they are away from the pet.
  2. Hormones which make the adult female fleas sterile: These are hormones that can enter your pet’s blood stream and, whilst they have no effect on the pet, when a female flea bites and drinks the blood the hormone effectively sterilises her so that any eggs she lays will not hatch. This can be a good way to prevent fleas from coming back but since adult fleas are not killed you may need to use another product in the meantime to remove them from your pet.
  3. Chemicals which prevent development of immature fleas: These can be applied to the environment and act as a growth regulator preventing the immature fleas developing into adults.

Some products kill adult fleas and are available as a pump or spot-on treatment that is applied to your pet’s coat (topical). In some cases these can be used on animals as young as two days old.

Other products contain a chemical that prevents the flea eggs from hatching. These can be given to the cat as a liquid once a month or by injection every six months (systemic). However it is important to remember that these treatments do not kill adult fleas.

There are also products that can be used to treat the environment. Sprays contain substances that prevent development of the flea’s hard coat and these stop larvae developing into adults.

Chemicals which mimic juvenile hormones such as methoprene and pyriproxifen also prevent flea larvae developing into adults. A single application of these sprays to the environment can last for six months to a year, depending on the product used. These products also kill flea eggs.

Fleas can breed and cause problems all year round in centrally heated homes. Regular treatment with the products recommended by your vet should keep fleas under control. The interval between treatments will depend on your particular circumstances and the products that you use. In most cases you will need to treat your pet’s coat at least every 3 months (and with some products as often as once a week). Some products are given monthly by mouth. The key to success of whichever product you choose is to use it regularly according to the manufacturer’s guide.

Collars containing insecticides to control fleas are not very effective. Very quickly they only affect fleas very close to the collar and by the time a flea gets there it may already have bitten your pet elsewhere. In addition the collars themselves can cause an allergic reaction in some pets. Ultrasonic flea collars probably do not work.

The chemicals used to kill fleas are produced in all sorts of formulations. You will usually be able to find a product to suit your needs. If you are really unable to treat your pet by yourself you may need to get someone to help you hold your pet. This may be a friend or a professional (dog groomer, or veterinary nurse).

Some products can be given by mouth as tablets or by injection and you may find it easier to treat your pet in this way.

Only the adult forms of the flea live on your pet. The immature forms (larvae) are tiny maggot-like creatures that live in carpets and your pet’s bedding. If you are going to tackle fleas you must address this pool of developing parasites that are ready to leap back onto your pet as soon as you remove the resident adult fleas.

It is important to treat the areas where your pet spends most of its time – particularly the places where it sleeps. Washing your pet’s bedding in hot water will destroy the young fleas (but not the eggs) and vacuuming your carpets also helps keep the numbers down.

Vacuum bags should be disposed of to prevent collected immature flea stages continuing to develop in the house. Cleaning carpets with a steam cleaner should kill some of the larval fleas, and also remove the bits of organic matter that accumulate in carpets that the larvae feed on.

Anything that is heavily infested, such as pet bedding, should be disposed of. However in most cases you will need to use a chemical to kill the immature fleas as well as the adults.

Insecticide spray treatments can be used on carpets to reduce numbers of fleas. Some products target the adult flea whilst others are growth regulators that prevent eggs from hatching and the larval fleas from turning into adults that can re-infect your pet.

You must never apply a product designed for use in the environment directly to an animal. However there are some products that you can apply to your pet that will also have an effect on fleas where your pet spends a lot of time.

Your vet can advise you on which product, or combination of products, to use. You must continue to treat your pet and your home all year round, even if you do not see fleas.

Unless you remove all the immature fleas from your house they will keep getting back on your your pet. There are a number of ways of preventing your pet being re-infested with fleas.

Long acting products can be used to kill all the flea stages in the house. In order to do this effectively the whole house must be treated which is expensive and difficult as immature fleas often live in hard to reach places.

Many people find that they prefer to use something that prevents the immature forms from developing into adult fleas. If you can break the flea lifecycle and adults are not produced they will not be able to reproduce. There are number of products that will do this but they must be given to all dogs and cats in the household. These products do not affect adult fleas. Alternatively a long acting treatment that kills adults on the infested animal can be used on all animals in the household which will prevent egg laying and thereby break the cycle.

Most products are very safe if used strictly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Always follow these simple rules:

  • Read the instructions carefully before using the product.
  • Never treat a cat with a product designed for use in a dog (unless instructed by your vet). Cats are particularly susceptible to developing toxic reactions to flea control products containing traditional insecticides.
  • Never treat an animal directly with a product designed for use in the environment.
  • Do not apply the product more often than recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If treating a young animal ensure the product is safe for that age.
  • Do not combine products (unless instructed to do so by your vet).
  • Where possible treat animals in a well-ventilated area and after treating the house air well before accessing again.

Some animals can also be sensitive to other chemicals in the flea control product.

Feeding your kitten

The adage ‘You are what you eat’ applies to cats as well as people – however more is not necessarily better. Over-feeding and over-supplementation with unnecessary nutrients and minerals can have serious consequences. If you are getting your first kitten make sure you ask your vet for advice on feeding them.

No, it is important that kittens have a diet specially designed for growing cats. These animals have requirements which are different from adult cats, and most reputable manufacturers now make ‘growth’ or ‘junior’ foods which supply the young cat with all the essential nutrients required for normal growth and bone development.

In general, it is safer to stick to reputable brands (ask for advice at your veterinary hospital), as these are manufactured to strict quality control guidelines. Prepared mixed feeds available through other outlets, such as agricultural feed merchants, may not have the same quality control procedures applied. These may be cheaper than other commercial brands of cat food but they can have disadvantages. Some of these feeds have been shown to lack some essential diet components and may deteriorate if stored.

It is very dangerous to over-feed growing cats. This can result in severe and permanent damage to bones and joints. Steady, controlled growth should always be the aim. An over-fed young cat may remain obese, with bone and joint problems for the rest of its life.

No, cats differ from dogs and many other animals in being completely dependent on meat. A vegetarian diet would make your young cat very ill. A kitten needs a high protein diet with components that are only found in animal tissue. Veterinary advice should be sought to ensure that all nutritional requirements are being met as a haphazard approach is likely to cause problems.

If you are feeding a correctly balanced diet, it is quite unnecessary to supplement – the cat receives no benefit.

Veterinary staff can weigh and condition score your cat to ensure that body development is progressing normally. You can request this every 2 months or so. A fast growth rate should be avoided and young cats should be allowed to develop slowly if they are to avoid bone and joint problems later in life.

Most reputable cat feeds come with detailed charts showing the amount to feed. However, these recommendations are only guidelines – individual cats may require more or (quite commonly) a little less than that stated. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

If the breeder of your kitten gives you anything to supplement your kitten’s diet see your veterinary surgeon and take the product along with you. You can discuss with your vet the current diet being fed and whether any supplements are required. Most breeders are well informed about dietary matters but some persist in following their own particular beliefs, which may not be scientifically validated.

The first step in keeping your cat healthy is establishing an appropriate diet. You may be bombarded with information in the first few days of owning a kitten. Let your vet help you select an appropriate diet for the needs of your pet.

  • Feed a food from a reputable manufacturer that is appropriate for your cat’s age.
  • Do not give any form of vitamin or mineral supplement to your cat except under specific veterinary advice.
  • Avoid over-feeding young and growing cats.

Feeding your cat

The modern domestic ‘moggie’ is descended from wild cats that hunted for their living in the desert regions of North Africa and the Middle East. Although most pet cats are now fed entirely on tinned or packaged food, their nutritional requirements are exactly the same as their ancestors’ centuries ago. So to stay healthy, a domestic cat must receive a balanced diet containing all the nutrients that would be found in the natural diet of a hunting cat.

Cats differ from dogs and many other animals in being completely dependent on meat. Dogs can survive happily on an almost vegetarian diet that would make your cat very ill. A cat needs a high protein diet with components that are only found in animal tissue.

Two of the building blocks of proteins, the amino acids taurine and arginine, are rarely found in plant material. Your cat cannot manufacture its own taurine or arginine and has to get them from animal tissue. Your cat also needs vitamin A and a compound called arachidonic acid that can only be found in meat.

Your cat also needs a balance of other nutrients. Many of these are found in tissues forming part of the natural diet, like bone and skin, so a diet of lean steak will not give your cat everything it needs. Most of these ingredients are either present in, or added to, commercially prepared cat foods.

Animal fat is important both as an energy source and because it contains essential vitamins like vitamin A. Fat also gives flavour and texture to the food. The carbohydrates used for energy by humans and other animals are less important for cats because they use proteins for the same purpose. Indeed, a diet containing too much carbohydrate is likely to give a cat an upset stomach.

It is a myth that cats need to be given milk. Milk is certainly a good source of calcium for building bones but calcium is usually found in sufficient quantities in commercially prepared pet foods. As kittens are weaned they lose the ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in cow’s milk. Too much milk may therefore give an adult cat diarrhoea.

Water is the best thing for your cat to drink. As the cat is still, at heart, a desert animal it can survive on less water than many other animals. But it does need a regular supply of clean fresh water, particularly if it is being fed dried food. Canned food is three-quarters water so cats fed on a moist diet may not be seen drinking.

Anyone who has ever looked after a cat will know that they are very particular about their food. They all have individual preferences about which types of food they enjoy – cats often seem to enjoy a varied diet but will starve themselves rather than eat a food they do not like. Ill health or anxiety can also put a cat off its food.

It may be possible to persuade a cat to eat by warming up the food to about 35°C, the temperature of freshly killed live prey (another option is to feed a powerful smelling and tasty food such as tinned fish or oxtail soup). Uneaten moist or canned food should be removed after about 20 minutes as stale food smells will reduce a cat’s appetite even further.

If your cat turns its nose up at an unfamiliar food there may be a good reason, cats appear to know instinctively when a food is lacking in essential nutrients.

Generally cats are able to regulate the amount of food they eat and it is uncommon for them to become too fat (obese). However, if large quantities of tasty food are always available they may start to overeat and older, neutered cats that spend most of their time indoors are most susceptible. Weigh your cat regularly to make sure it is not gaining or losing weight and adjust the amount of food accordingly.

To weigh your cat:

  1. Get onto the scales yourself and record your weight
  2. Pick up your cat and record the weight of both of you
  3. Finally deduct your weight from the second reading to find how much your cat weighs.
  4. Alternatively cats can be weighed in a carrying basket, but remember to allow for the weight of the basket when calculating its weight

If your cat needs to lose weight your vet will be able to recommend a special low calorie diet but do not attempt to put your cat on a ‘crash diet’ as this could be very damaging to its health.

There are several stages during your cat’s life when its food needs are greatly different from normal. These include:


A pregnant cat will need much larger amounts of food to support its unborn kittens. During the final stages of pregnancy the queen (mother cat) may need double her normal quantity of food. However the pressure of the growing kittens in her belly may restrict her ability to eat large meals. Feed your cat more frequently or get a high energy diet especially formulated for pregnant cats. Your vet will be able to advise you on this. When your queen is producing milk for her kittens (lactation) her nutritional requirements may increase even further.


During their first few months kittens will grow exceptionally fast. This puts a big strain on the mother cat and the kittens should be weaned on to solid food as soon as possible. Try giving some solid food at three weeks and gradually giving more until they eat only solid food at about eight weeks old. The first food should be soft and easily digestible so dry food should be soaked in water or kitten milk. A kitten’s stomach is small so it cannot eat large volumes in one go.

A kitten should be fed about five times a day at eight weeks and the frequency of meals can be gradually reduced to two a day when it reaches six months old. Your vet may recommend putting your kitten on a specially formulated high energy diet to guarantee that it gets the right balance of nutrients needed for growth.

Old age

As a cat becomes less active with age it may use up less energy, but be careful about reducing its food intake too much. Older cats are also less efficient at digesting their food so they may need to eat relatively more food to absorb all the nutrients they need. There are conveniently prepared special diets available for the older cat that can be obtained from your vet.

There is a wide range of commercially prepared foods to suit your cat’s needs. However, be cautious if you see an unfamiliar brand in the shops, especially if it is one of the cheaper foods. As in all things quality comes at a price, and a cheaper brand will often contain inferior ingredients.

The well known brands are usually formulated to give your cat everything it needs and have been tested to prove that they will be enjoyed by most cats. Your vet or veterinary nurse will be able to give you impartial and well-informed advice on feeding your pets.