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Stress in cats

A number of factors can cause cats stress. Such factors include moving house, a new member of the family (a new baby or a new animal joining the household) or something of shorter duration such as a visit to the

Spraying: urine marking in the house

Cats are usually meticulous in their toileting habits and seldom soil or mark indoors. It is not surprising that when your cat does do this you may be upset and unsure about what to do. Understanding why cats can sometimes

Scratching in the house

Claw scratching is a normal feline behaviour. However, the occurrence of this behaviour indoors can be very unpleasant for the owner as it can cause expensive damage. Scratching indoors may indicate that the cat does not feel completely secure in

Noise phobias

If your cat is afraid of loud or sudden noises life can be miserable for both of you. Thunderstorms can become a major trauma and unless you live in a remote part of the country there is almost no way

Firework fear

Although it appears to be rare in cats as compared to dogs, it is thought that they can often be afraid of fireworks. It is not surprising that animals are scared of fireworks since they are very loud (up to

Destructive cats

Does your cat scratch at the furniture, chew your belongings, dig up your plant pots or steal food? If the answer is yes, your beloved pet might be trying to get your attention, creating its own fun, or expressing anxiety.

Cat behaviour

Cats are very special creatures and, despite the best efforts of humans, are not that far removed from their wild ancestors. They have a large range of behaviour patterns and a secret language of their own. So whilst we bring

Basic training for cats

Thousands of cats end up parting company with their owners every year, often due to behaviours that the owners consider problematic: such as scratching the furniture, jumping into places that owners would prefer them not to (e.g. the baby's cot)

Aggressive cats

Living with a cat that loves nothing better than to ambush your legs, or attack you when you try to stroke it can be very unpleasant and often extremely painful! Treatment of aggressive behaviour can be very successful; however, it

Urine samples: how to collect

Tests are used by vets to help them diagnose disease in animals that are ill, which means your vet may ask you to bring in a urine sample (water sample) from your pet to help find out what's wrong with

Kidney disease in your cat

Kidney failure is a common health problem in middle-aged and elderly cats. A gradual reduction in the ability of the kidneys to do their job is an inevitable part of the ageing process and occurs at varying rates in different

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)

FLUTD is a catch-all term used by vets to describe a number of conditions which cause cats pain and discomfort when trying to pass urine. These include different types of bladder stones, blockages in the tubes running from the bladder

Drinking: increased water intake in cats

Drinking more is a common medical problem in cats, particularly older cats. This factsheet discusses how to tell if your cat is really drinking excessively, the causes - common and rare - and how the issue may be managed. The medical

Cystitis (bladder inflammation)

As anyone who has ever suffered with cystitis (a sore bladder) will know, it is a very unpleasant condition. Although not usually life-threatening, cystitis can be very distressing for your cat. It is important to seek veterinary advice as soon

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD)

AD-PKD is an inherited condition (passed from parents to their kittens) that can cause progressive kidney failure in cats. The disease has become particularly common in Persian and Exotic Shorthaired cats. In the future it may be possible to eliminate

Feline Infectious Anaemia (FIA)

Feline infectious anaemia, also known as FIA, is an anaemia in cats that is caused by a parasite that lives in the blood. If your cat is unwell and pale, it may be that it is anaemic, but there are

Anaemia

Anaemia means a shortage of red blood cells in the circulation. Anaemia is not a disease but it is a sign that there may be something seriously wrong in the body. There are many different causes of anaemia in cats

Radiotherapy for your cat

Pets today are healthier and, in general, living longer than ever before. However the increasing numbers of ageing pets mean that they are at increasing risk of developing cancer later in life. Radiotherapy aims to give a high dose of

Radio-iodine treatment for thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer (hyperthyroidism or over-active thyroid gland) is quite common in middle-aged cats. If your cat has been diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid gland there may well be an effective treatment for your pet. The disease can often be

Lymphoma chemotherapy

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph cells and can arise almost anywhere in the body. Lymphoma is one of the most commonly treated forms of the disease. Modern treatment protocols can be highly effective in controlling lymphoma and affected

Lumps and bumps

Finding a lump on your pet can be a worrying experience. Although most lumps are harmless it is impossible to tell what a lump is simply by looking at it. If your pet has a swelling that lasts for more

Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is a nasty disease in cats. Frequently, these cancers are not identified until the lesion has progressed significantly with associated oral pain and halitosis due to bacterial infection. What is oral squamous cell carcinoma? Oral squamous

Feline lymphoma

A diagnosis of cancer is always frightening. One of the most common forms of this disease in cats is lymphoma. This is a cancer of the lymph nodes and can arise almost anywhere in the body. However modern treatment protocols

Feline injection site sarcoma

Feline 'Injection Site Sarcoma' or 'Vaccine Associated Fibrosarcoma' is a rapidly progressive and aggressive cancer affecting cats. The true cause of the disease is not yet understood but it is definitely associated with the administration of long-acting injections like vaccinations.

Chemotherapy: safe handling

Chemotherapy is now a commonplace treatment for cancer in pets. In many people's mind the term 'chemotherapy' conjures up frightening images of people suffering with cancer (and the effects of treatment) - however chemotherapy in pets is usually very different. What

Chemotherapy for your cat

Although it can be frightening to learn that your pet has cancer there have been big advances in the treatment of cancer in animals. Chemotherapy is now a commonplace treatment for cancer in pets. If your cat is diagnosed with

Cancer in your cat – possible options

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The speed with which a cancer spreads and the severity of the disease it causes depends on the type of tissue cell affected. As many as one in five cats are likely

Worms – A Wriggly Problem

It can be alarming to discover that your cat has worms but it should not come as a surprise. All pets are affected at some stage in their life and many will be re-infected unless they are given regular, routine

Worm Control

All pets will be affected by worms at some stage in their life and many will be re-infected unless they are given regular, routine worming treatment. Getting rid of worms is relatively simple and inexpensive so regular treatment is strongly

Vaccination Protocols And Safety

For a long time all new kittens and puppies were given a standard vaccination, which protected them from a number of infectious diseases. Recently a number of new vaccines have been developed and pet owners and veterinarians have begun to question

Vaccinating Your Cat

There are a number of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases which can affect your cat. There is no treatment for many of these diseases and young kittens who catch them often die. However, for many of these conditions there is

Toxoplasmosis And Risks To Pregnant Women

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease which can affect cats and all other warm blooded animals, including humans. In both cats and humans its effects are usually mild and the parasite is easily kept under control by the body's natural defences.

Tick Removal

Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that can affect your cat, especially if it goes out in the countryside or grassy areas during the Spring and Autumn months. What is a tick? Ticks are blood-sucking parasites. Most live in damp areas on plants and climb onto animals

Tick Control

Ticks are common external parasites (ectoparasites) affecting cats in many areas of the world. Environments suitable for tick development include forest, grass and moorland vegetation, close to wild mammals or birds on which they can feed during their immature stages. Cats most

Senior Cat Care

A kitten is endearing to everyone but kittens grow up all too fast. By a year of age cats of all breeds will be mature. Although individual cats age at different rates, most 10 year old cats can be considered

Saying Goodbye – Options For Euthanasia

Some of our beloved pets are living longer and longer lives. This is due in large part to the amazing care we provide for them. As our time with them grows, so does our bond and devotion. As they approach the

Routine Health Care

We are all familiar with the phrase "A healthy pet is a happy pet" - but there is probably also something to be said for keeping your pet happy in order to maintain its health. Most owners know their pet

Fainting (syncope)

Fainting (syncope) does occur in cats but is less common than in people. When a cat faints it briefly loses consciousness and falls to the ground motionless but in most cases recovers within a few moments without treatment. It is

Epilepsy treatment

If your cat has recently been diagnosed as having epilepsy you may be concerned about the future. Discuss your concerns with your vet - it is important that you fully understand the goals of treatment right from the start. Will

Epilepsy (seizures)

If you have witnessed your cat having a seizure (convulsion), you will know how frightening it can be. If your cat has had more than one seizure it may be that they are epileptic. There are medications that can control

Overgrown teeth

The incisors, premolars, and molars of rabbits grow throughout life. Rabbits do not possess any canine teeth, but do have peg teeth which sit just behind the upper incisors. The normal length is maintained by the wearing action of opposing

Dental disease in your rabbit

Rabbit's teeth are open-rooted, meaning that they continuously erupt and grow throughout its life. If a rabbit has congenital or acquired dental disease, then the teeth may overgrow or grow distorted, which can cause life-long problems. This factsheet aims to

Ear disease in your cat

A cat's ear is quite a different shape to ours. Humans simply have a horizontal tube that runs straight from the side of the head into the inner ear (auditory canal). In the cat, however, the outside opening of the

Ear cleaning

Ear disease is quite common in cats and you should make ear examination part of a weekly health check for your pet. If your cat's ears look red or sore on the inside, if there is a smell coming from

Deafness in cats

Deafness is quite common in cats. Around three in every four white cats are deaf because of a defective gene that causes the inner ear to fail to develop normally. Some of these cats are deaf in only one ear

Poisoning

Poisoning can occur if a poisonous substance is swallowed (solids or liquids), breathed in (gases) or absorbed through the skin (normally liquids). Poisons are substances that damage the cells in the body. In order to cause harm they must enter

Fitting in cats – an emergency?

If you have witnessed an animal or person having a seizure (convulsion or fit), you will know how frightening it can appear. An animal suffering a generalised seizure (also known as grand mal seizure) will be unconscious. They may show

Fever – is it serious?

Often when you put a hand on your cat it feels warm, particularly on a patch of bare skin. This is because the normal body temperature of a cat is higher than that in people. Body temperature is maintained within

Emergencies – what to do

Immediate veterinary attention can mean the difference between life and death for an injured cat following all but the most minor of accidents. Getting your cat to your vet (where all the necessary equipment is on hand) is quicker and

Eye medication: how to give to your cat

Eye problems in cats are quite common. Tears quickly wash out any treatment put in the eye so eye drops need to be given several times a day. This means you will have to learn how to give the treatment

Corneal ulcers – a sore eye

Although cat's eyes have a number of differences which improve night vision, the basic structure is much the same as a human's. Consequently cats can suffer a similar range of eye diseases to humans. Because the eye is complicated, delicate

Conjunctivitis in cats

If your cat has a sore or red eye, or there is discharge from the eye, then it is important to contact your vet. Your cat may have an infection in the eye, but a discharge can also be caused

Cataracts in cats

Cataract is a disease of the lens of the eye in which the normally clear lens becomes opaque or white. You may see the whiteness of the eye when you look at your cat. This interferes with vision and can

Blindness in cats

Just like people, cats normally use their vision for getting around, as well as hunting and interaction with other cats. However, a cat with poor vision or even total blindness can lead a comfortable and fulfilled life. How can I

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Vomiting and diarrhoea are common in cats. Both are symptoms of other conditions rather than diseases in their own right and there is a vast range of cat diseases in which diarrhoea and/or vomiting may occur. In many cases the

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a condition which ranges in severity from almost no clinical signs to severe abdominal upset and even death. It can therefore be very difficult to know if your cat is suffering from pancreatitis Your vet is best placed

Liver problems in your cat

Liver disease is quite common in cats and can occur at any age, from kittens to old age. Usually the signs of liver disease, like many diseases in cats, are a bit vague; affected cats are often just quiet, have

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)

Almost all cats will suffer from diarrhoea at some point in their lives. In most cases this lasts no more than a few days and cats generally get better without any treatment. However, in a few cases the diarrhoea is

Constipation in your cat

Cats are often secretive about their bowel habits and it can be difficult for owners to notice problems. However, if you suspect that your cat is having difficulty toileting or shows a reluctance to go to the litter tray you

Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is one of the more common congenital heart defects in cats. It is sometimes referred to as a 'hole in the heart'. The condition is often discovered in apparently healthy cats by a vet during a

Investigating heart disease

It is important that your vet can recognise the early stages of heart failure (and therefore when to begin therapy, if necessary). Investigations of animals with heart disease are important to identify early signs of failure and to establish the

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Hypertension (high blood pressure) has long been known to be a problem in people and is being increasingly recognised in pets. Hypertension is very common in older people and is often associated with smoking, or with stressful living. In animals,

Heart rhythm disturbance (atrial fibrillation)

There are many different heart problems that can affect cats. Some of these affect the rhythm of the heart beat and one such condition is atrial fibrillation. This is most commonly seen in association with severe heart disease. Atrial fibrillation

Heart disease in your cat

Heart disease is increasingly common in cats, probably because their average life expectancy has increased due to improved veterinary care. Some heart defects may be present from birth (congenital heart defects) but only show symptoms as the cat gets older.

Feline aortic thromboembolism

Cats may be struck 'out of the blue' by a blood clot resulting in dramatic signs (sudden onset of lameness and pain) and potentially devastating damage. The back legs and the right front leg are most often affected and may

Congenital heart diseases

Bringing a new kitten into the family is an exciting time and should a time of great joy. It can be particularly distressing to find that your new arrival has a problem. It is important that you get your new

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease affecting the heart muscle. There are two main forms of the disease - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). HCM commonly affects middle-aged cats and is more common in male cats than females. Cardiomyopathy is

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by an overactive thyroid gland, an organ found on either side of the windpipe at the base of the neck. This gland produces thyroid hormone which helps to regulate your cat's metabolism, or rate of

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is a relatively common disease in older people and is being recognised more frequently in older pets. If untreated the disease has serious effects and will ultimately result in the death of your pet. The good news is that

Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism)

Cushing's disease (also called 'hyperadrenocorticism' by vets) is rare in cats. Although it is a severe disease it causes subtle changes in the early stages. Many owners do not recognise the signs of Cushing's disease in their pet, instead confusing

Acromegaly in cats

Acromegaly is a relatively rare condition, caused by excessive hormone production in the brain or in mammary gland (breast) tissue. It is more common in cats than dogs. Affected cats can develop gradual changes in their appearance but because the

Ringworm

Ringworm is the common name given to a fungal infection also known as dermatophytosis. Ringworm is not uncommon in cats and if your cat has skin problems it may have ringworm. The disease is highly contagious and can be passed

Rabies

Rabies is a very serious disease, killing more than 30,000 people around the world each year. There are few reported cases of recovery from confirmed infection. If you plan to take your pet abroad then they will need protection against

Feline panleucopenia (Feline infectious enteritis)

Feline panleucopenia is a very serious disease of cats which, before vaccination, was commonly fatal. Even today, with good nursing care, between a quarter and two-thirds of all affected cats will die from the disease. What is panleucopenia? Panleucopenia is

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is probably the most important virus in cats. About one in three cats that come into contact with the virus develop a permanent infection which is almost always fatal. FeLV infection causes a wide range of

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Hearing that your cat has Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is one of the worst bits of news you can get from your vet. The disease is almost always fatal, although treatments can make your cat's remaining time more comfortable. If

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

As its name suggests, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is closely related to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) responsible for causing AIDS in people. There is no cure for either disease and the virus causes the gradual destruction of the white

Chlamydia disease

Chlamydia is not particularly common in the average pet cat but can be a significant problem in cats in close contact. It is very easily spread from cat to cat. It is rarely fatal, but can be a real problem

Cat scratch disease

Cat scratch disease is a disease of people carried by cats. Infected cats usually do not show any sign of illness but the disease can be passed to humans via a bite or scratch from the cat. What is cat

Cat pox

If your cat is a keen hunter they may be at risk of catching cat pox from their prey. Cat pox is a viral infection that is also known as feline cow pox. Most cases recover without treatment but in

Cat ‘flu’

Cat flu is very common in unvaccinated cats and is very easily spread from cat to cat. It is rarely fatal, except in young kittens, but can be a real problem because the symptoms may be very difficult to clear

Slipped disc (Intervertebral disc herniation)

Back problems are not common in cats - they are generally lighter and more athletic than dogs. A slipped disc (also known as intervertebral disc herniation) is the most common cause of paralysis in dogs but cats are much less

Myositis

If your cat suddenly finds it difficult or painful to take exercise they may have myositis. Myositis is an inflammation of the muscle. It can be a serious and painful condition and may be an early indicator that your pet

Myasthenia gravis

Myasthenia gravis (MG) literally means grave (gravis) muscle (my-) weakness (asthenia). It is an unusual cause of generalised weakness in cats. What is myasthenia gravis? Each muscle in the body is controlled by its own nerve, but this nerve does

Arthritis

Arthritis is a familiar problem for most vets. An increasing number of cats are diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis simply means an inflammation of joints and animals with arthritis usually suffer with pain and stiffness in their joints. Arthritis is typically

Vestibular syndrome

Vestibular syndrome refers to a group of diseases that affect the balance system also known as the vestibular system. Common signs of vestibular syndrome include loss of balance, falling, rolling over, abnormal flickering of the eyes and general wobbliness. The

Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)

Until recently, it was thought that strokes were very rare in domestic pets. In the last few years, with the advance and increased availability of more specialist tests, strokes are being recognised more often in pets. The thought of your

Pyruvate kinase deficiency

Pyruvate kinase deficiency is an inherited disease that was first documented in Abyssinian, Somali and some domestic short-hair cats in the early 1990s. What is pyruvate kinase deficiency? Pyruvate kinase (PK) is an enzyme found in red blood cells. If

Paroxystic events

A paroxysm is a sudden uncontrollable attack and in people is often applied to events like a fit of giggles. In animals a paroxystic attack is more serious and describes a disorder that starts suddenly but also resolves quickly. A

Neurological examination

A neurological disease is one that affects the brain or the system of nerves running throughout the body. The signs of illness can range from very mild (a weakness in one leg) to very severe (the inability to stand). In

Neuro-diagnostic tests

If your pet is unwell it can be a confusing time trying to make sense of what your vet is doing and why. There are many tests commonly used in veterinary practice that help your vet to work out what

Ischaemic myelopathy

Back (spinal) problems are not common in cats. If your cat has a spinal problem they may have neck or back pain or show a variety of signs including difficulty walking, jumping, using one or more legs or even complete

Inflammatory CNS disease

Animals with brain disease may show sudden, dramatic signs and become very poorly extremely quickly. In other cases the signs are more vague and it may be some time before your vet gets to the bottom of the problem. Diseases

Rearing Orphan Kittens

Hand rearing a kitten or kittens can be an extremely rewarding experience but it is not a job to be taken on lightly. The task ahead is difficult, exhausting and there is no guarantee of success. However hard you try, you are

Pyometra (‘Pyo’ Or Womb Infection)

Pyometra is a common disease in un-neutered female cats and dogs that requires major surgery to cure. Though potentially very serious, many animals respond well to the treatment and can expect to make a full recovery. The best way to protect

Breeding From Your Cat

A female cat (queen) can produce several litters of kittens every year throughout her life. If you don't want the responsibility of finding good homes for the kittens you should have your queen neutered. Keeping an un-neutered queen indoors is not a

Birth control in the queen

Most responsible cat owners want to prevent unplanned breeding and the production of unwanted kittens. Most forms of birth control prevent the heat cycle of queens, and so mating and conception does not occur. The cycle can be controlled permanently

Nasopharyngeal Polyps

Nasopharyngeal polyps are not common but they can cause significant distress to affected cats. A polyp grows from a small stalk but can become quite a substantial size. Nasopharyngeal polyps can grow into the back of the throat obstructing the

Feline asthma

If your cat has a persistent or chronic cough thay may have asthma. Asthma is the most common cause of coughing in cats. In many cats the signs are relatively mild but it can also cause life-threatening breathing problems. What

‘Walking Dandruff’ (Cheyletiellosis)

Cheyletiella infection is a form of mange that is also known as rabbit mites and walking dandruff. This is an itchy skin condition caused by small parasites living on the skin surface. The mites can be found on many animals

Over Grooming (Feline Psychogenic Alopecia)

In the hurly-burly of our modern lives we ask a lot of pets. Fortunately most cats adapt well to all the changes and excitement around them, managing to fit into our hectic schedules and, in doing so, enrich our lives.

Malassezia

If your cat has a greasy hair coat or recurrent ear problems they may be suffering from Malassezia. This fungal/yeast infection of the skin can be mild or extensive and may indicate that there is an underlying health problem. If

Feline Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex

This syndrome describes a group of skin conditions in cats. Most cases are caused by an underlying allergy and can be effectively resolved by treating the allergy. In a few cases more invasive or prolonged treatment is required. Whatever the

Feline acne

Some cats, like some people, are unfortunate to suffer from acne. The condition in cats is generally mild and since cats do not worry about their appearance the condition rarely causes serious problems. However if your cat has any skin

Travelling: leaving your pet behind

International travel is becoming increasingly common for pets and the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which even allows limited movement of pets through Europe and the UK, is now fully operational. However, many pet owners still prefer to leave their pets

Travelling with your cat

Travelling can be a stressful experience for human beings and it is probably equally so for cats, although for different reasons. While your cat is not going to be worried about arriving at its destination on time it will have

Taking your pet abroad

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows for limited movement of pets between the UK and some European countries under controlled conditions. What do I need to take my pet abroad? If you wish to take your pet abroad with you and bring it home again

Pet passports

Pet passports are part of the European Union (EU) Regulation on the movement of pet animals. Certain non-EU listed countries may also issue a passport. Cats travelling on Pet Passports must be treated against tapeworms before entering the UK from most countries.

Moving House With Your Cat

Moving to a new home can be stressful for both you and your pets. Cats are highly territorial animals and are often as closely attached to their surroundings as they are to their owners. So not surprisingly many cats try

Choosing a cattery

It would probably be less traumatic for our pets to have 'cat sitters'; enabling them to remain in their home environment when we go away or are on holiday and have to leave them in the care of another. The

X-Rays And Ultrasound

Veterinary medicine has made many advances in the last 10 years and many local veterinary practices are now able to perform x-ray and ultrasound examinations. Why does my vet need to do tests? Your vet can get a lot of information about what might

Scanning – The Inside Picture

The term 'scan' is often used to describe the method of obtaining an image of the inside of the body. This may be done with ultrasound (details of which can be found in a separate factsheet), which is often available

Samples And Tests – How They Help Your Vet

Laboratory tests are used by vets to help them diagnose disease in animals that are ill. Increasingly, they are also used as part of a routine health check to detect hidden disease before the development of obvious symptoms. This allows

Endoscopy – the inside story

Sometimes it can be really helpful to look inside an animal to see what is going on. There are many ways of examining the insides of an animal: blood tests, imaging techniques (like X-ray and ultrasound) and sometimes it is