Just like humans and other animals, cats can also get ill every now and then. There are a number of steps that you can take in order to provide your cats with the best chance of remaining free of feline diseases throughout their life.
There are 5 Easy Ways To Keep Your Pet Free Of Diseases:
Wash your hands thoroughly
You can spread diseases and infections from people to dogs and cats, so handwashing can be extremely helpful in preventing the spread to your animals. By reducing the risk of transmitting the disease in the first place, you are reducing the risk that your pets (and other family members) contract a disease.
You should wash your hands using soap and warm water, and make sure to wash all parts of your hands. If using a sanitiser, it’s best to ensure it is alcohol based.
We recommend that you wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly after:
- Handling any pet food or treats, whether they’re dry or wet canned food – and particularly if it’s raw food.
- Changing cat litter or cleaning cat litter tray
- Petting your cat
Take coughing pets to see their vet as soon as possible
Cats and dogs should not be coughing. They may occasionally clear their throats, for example with a hairball, and this is nothing to worry about. However, if they have a persistent cough, please seek immediate help from your vet.
If a hairball does not come out when your cat is having a coughing fit, it could actually be a result of something more serious such as asthma or heartworm disease.
Any changes in your cat’s behaviour could be signs your cat is sick.
Provide preventative protection against disease
One of the most loving things you can do for your feline friend is to vaccinate them. Cat vaccinations are an important part of cat care and can help to protect against some of the most common diseases found amongst cats. As always, preventative care is much better than treating the diseases that can potentially affect your cat if they are not vaccinated. Some of these diseases can be fatal for your cat.
Vaccines have been administered to cats for years and are extremely safe.
As a kitten, you cat will require their primary vaccinations at approximately 8 weeks old, followed by their second injection at 11-12 weeks old. As adults, your cat will then require an annual booster vaccination every year to keep the preventative vaccinations effective and up to date.
Feline vaccinations typically protect against:
Feline Parvovirus (FPV)
All cats need protection against FBV. FPV is an virus that can cause very severe cat diseases, and will more often than not be fatal if contracted by a kitten. FPV infects the feline’s gut and/or immune system and causes vomiting, diarrhoea and, in extreme cases, death.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
Cats that go outside the house need protection against FeLV. This is due to the nature of how FeLV usually spreads, as it requires close and regular contact between cats. If your cat contracts FeLV, it is at serious risk of developing other serious conditions such as anaemia, immunosuppression, reproductive failure, skin disease and cancer. Up to 90% of cats infected with FeLV will pass away within 3-4 years of their diagnosis.
Feline Leukemia symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, poor coat and swollen lymph nodes. Further signs on feline leukemia include fever, pale & inflamed gums, and infections of skin, bladder and upper respiratory tract.
All cats need protection against Cat Flu. As discussed in greater details by Cats Protection, cat flu is quite a common illness similar to a human cold, which affects the upper respiratory tract of cats. Its symptoms include a runny nose, weeping eyes, sore throat, aches & pains, mouth ulcers, sneezing and fever. It is not usually serious, but it can lead onto more serious conditions if not caught and treated efficiently and effectively.
This bacteria will cause your cat to have eye infections and cat flu like symptoms. This vaccination is generally only needed if your cat has ongoing eye problems and your vet recommends this vaccination.
If your cat will be travelling outside the UK, then they will need to be given a vaccination against rabies. Rabies is a viral disease, which is typically found amongst racoons, bats, foxes and other wild animals. Any mammal who is exposed to the disease can become infected as it is transmitted through the saliva of the animal that is infected. Therefore, it is most commonly passed through bites. Rabies in cats is usually fatal for unvaccinated pets and many places require an animal be euthanised if it’s discovered that they have the disease.
Rabies symptoms in cats usually include weakness or paralysis of their legs, seizures, drooling and difficulty breathing. Other signs of rabies in cats can be changes in aggression or mood. The cat may appear to be depressed or particularly aggressive.
Use antibiotics as instructed by your vet to avoid building antibiotic resistance
If your cat has been prescribed a course of antibiotics by your vet for a bacterial infection, then it is extremely important that they finish the complete course of antibiotics they were given. If you stop giving your cat its antibiotic treatments before their course has been completed, then your pet could develop resistance against antibiotics. This could happen due to the bacteria in and surrounding your pet becoming resistant to the antibiotics. If this happens, it will make the antibiotics ineffective and will be much more difficult to treat future issues and infections.
You must also only give prescription antibiotics to the pet that they have been prescribed to by your vet.
Keep on top of your pets’ parasite control
By using heartworm and broad-spectrum parasite medication all year round, alongside flea and tick products, you can provide your cat with the fundamental parasite controls and preventative healthcare.
To keep one step ahead of possible parasitic infestations, you should:
- Ensure your cat has an annual health check with their vet so that they can be examined for any changes in their health status
- Have your vet conduct tests for heartworm periodically
- Provide your cat with cooked or prepared wet or dry food (not raw meat) and ensure they have constant access to fresh water
- Have a faecal sample test carried out by your vet periodically for your cat, this may be required more often if you cat already has ongoing conditions or other factors that affect their health and lifestyle
- Administer anti-parasitic treatments as recommend on the packaging
- Deworm your cats and kittens