Keeping our feline friends happy this winter can seem a little tricky. Our experienced cat loving vet Nicola Armstrong and the team at Avenues Vets have pulled together the best advice on all the things your cat needs to be happy in the colder months – keep reading below.
Nicola also has a bonus ‘Festive Happy Cat Guide’ for you to download! As well as winter weather related issues that can affect your cat’s mood, Christmas can be a time of hazards and stress for them too. Take a look at The Avenues Vets’ guide on:
Top tips for keeping your cat happy this winter
Vet Nicola Armstrong wants owners to know that their cat’s behaviour may be affected once the weather starts to get colder. This often comes hand-in-hand with changes in routine which can leave your cat feeling a little down in the dumps. The 3 main aspects to provide are warmth, stimulation, and comfort. Nicola has sat down with the clinical team at Avenues Vets and collated their advice below – contact us on 0141 643 0404 if you would like to discuss your cat’s health and behaviour with us.
Keep your house at a comfortable temperature and use a safe method of heating if leaving your cat unattended. Open fires and gas fires can be very dangerous for pets home alone.
Letting in sunlight through the windows will improve your cat’s mood! Nicola often hears stories of how the windowsills of your home are your cat’s favourite napping spots!
Avoid cold draughts
If your cat has a resting spot, make sure they’re away from draughty areas. If there is a cold draught, try investing in a draught excluder or seal for your door/window to keep the heat in.
Invest in some toys for your cat that mimic prey movement to keep their brain active. Nicola emphasises the importance of making sure you put aside time to play with your cat this winter.
Engage their senses
Puzzle toys, scratching posts, and interactive feeders will help to keep your cat entertained.
Making time to groom your cat over winter can help them feel pampered and act as a distraction to spending more time indoors. It also allows you to remove excess fur and debris to prevent matting and keep them happy.
Provide climbing spaces
Cats often defy gravity when it comes to climbing, so indoors it shouldn’t be any different! Nicola recommends installing high-up shelves near windows so they can watch the world go by from above!
Rotating their toys will help to prevent boredom this winter.
Cosy sleeping spots
In your cat’s usual sleeping spot, when temperatures drop think about adding in a soft blanket and maybe a heat pad. This will keep them toasty and happy.
Maintain litter box hygiene
You may need to increase your litter box cleaning routine if your cat is spending more time indoors. Make it clean and comfortable for them to help keep them healthy.
Along with the above, Vet Nicola Armstrong recommends ensuring your feline friend always has access to fresh water and monitoring their food intake over winter – you can ask our team about seasonal changes to nutrition needs for cats.
Plus, regular vet check-ups throughout the year will help to make sure they are not developing any underlying health conditions that could be more prevalent in the colder months. To book a winter health check with Avenues Vets, contact us on 0141 643 0404 or book online.
Share these top tips with other cat owners in Lanarkshire and don’t forget to download our Festive Happy Cat Guide too!
Here at Avenues Vets, we highly recommend booking your cat a pre-winter health check. To learn why, have a read of the article below from our Vet Nicola Armstrong.
How will a pre-winter health check benefit my cat?
With the dark nights, cold temperatures and seasonal festivities, winter can prove to be a stressful season for your cat. Cats with health issues and senior felines will feel the winter season more than their younger counterparts, however, identifying health issues ahead of the cold will help ensure your pet is prepared for the months ahead. Nicola advises that a pre-winter health check in autumn at Avenues Vets may cover the following:
Discuss your cat’s dietary changes
Spending more time indoors during the colder months will mean your cat needs to eat fewer calories to avoid gaining too much weight. As their activity levels have decreased, our experienced cat-loving nurses can help determine your cat’s winter feed dosages and our team will also recommend any changes they believe could benefit them.
Health review & annual vaccinations
Winter is the season when your cat will be more susceptible to viral infections. Nicola recommends that your cat is kept up-to-date with their cat flu immunisations – a health check appointment will allow your vet to discuss the benefits, check your cat’s clinical record and current health condition, and, if necessary, administer the vaccine.
Underlying health issues
Your cat could be suffering with an underlying health issue that may cause them pain once the temperatures drop. For example, arthritic cats will struggle more in colder weather so it’s a condition you may not notice in the runup to winter. If identified early, it will allow pain relief treatments to start ready for the cold weather to hit, so your cat’s symptoms can be managed effectively.
Dental health is essential all-year round, but your cat’s winter health check makes for the perfect opportunity for a dental exam. This will allow for prompt treatment ahead of the colder months and ensure your pet’s mouth is comfortable.
As owners, you want to make sure your cat is protected against fleas, ticks and internal parasites. Once it gets colder, they will undoubtedly be spending more time indoors with you, so if they’re not up to date with their parasite prevention you may find yourself with a flea infestation! Chat to our experienced team about what parasite prevention products we recommend at Avenues Vets.
To book your cat a pre-winter health check, contact us on 0141 643 0404.
The needs of a senior cat are much different to those of their younger counterparts. Not only does their diet and exercise regime need to reflect their age, but their veterinary treatments and their daily care must also adapt to ensure they are kept comfortable and healthy during their twilight years.
For Pet Pain Awareness Month, Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong at Avenues Vets has highlighted below the main health concerns that start to affect older felines, along with ways that owners can help them to age well. To ensure your cat is in good condition, book an appointment with our experienced veterinary team. This will help to establish a baseline to work from as your cat ages.
Senior cats – how to know when they need extra help
As a general rule, our team at Avenues Vets recognise cats as geriatric/senior when they reach 7 years of age. Depending on their breed and lifestyle, this number can fluctuate but it is usual that at this stage in a cat’s life, we start to see a number of physical and behavioural changes day-to-day:
- Muscle loss – If your senior cat loses muscle mass, it may make them weak and less agile.
- Weight gain – Your cat’s metabolism slows down the older they get. Pair this with a less active lifestyle and your cat’s weight will start to increase.
- Joint pain – Cats suffering from joint pain will be reluctant to move around, meaning they will also experience muscle loss and weight gain as a direct result of this.
- Sensory changes – Vision and hearing loss become more common the older your cat becomes. This makes it difficult to assess their surroundings and continue their usual daily activities.
- Cognitive decline – Your senior cat may start to become confused or restless, both signs of feline cognitive dysfunction. This feline dementia can then add to the behavioural changes.
- Changes in habits – As an owner, it is important you recognise the changes your cat requires as they age. They may need more sleep than they used to and more/less food depending on their lifestyle. As well as becoming less active, they may also become less sociable, becoming withdrawn in situations their younger selves would have been inquisitive in.
The above changes can often be signs that your senior cat may be starting to develop underlying health conditions. Booking them in for a senior cat consultation allows us to examine them for things like dental disease, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney problems.
A vet health check will also help you tailor your cat’s daily routine, nutrition, and lifestyle for a healthy but slower lifestyle.
Updating your cat’s environment
Nicola recommends that as your cat becomes stiffer and less agile, you should adjust their living environment to increase their comfort levels. Depending on what your cat is used to, as they’re all different, you may need to consider:
- Litter trays with lower sides will allow your cat to comfortably get in and out.
- Putting food & water bowls on a slightly raised platform means less strain on their neck.
- Beds and hidey places at lower levels reduces the need for climbing & jumping.
- Radiator beds and beds by a fire (away from draughts) will be kinder on your cat’s joints.
- Baby gates may deter your cat from going up and down flights of stairs.
- Keeping windows closed or locked open slightly reduce the risk of your cat falling out.
- Replace any hard/sharp grooming tools with a soft brush for a gentler experience.
Book your senior cat an appointment with Nicola or any of our experienced cat vets today and we can get your ageing cat the specific care they need.
This month, we spoke to our nursing team at Avenues Vets to find out their favourite famous cats! Dominating films, television adverts and cartoons, the following kitties are firm winners in the eyes of The Avenues Vets’ nurses.
Can you think of any other famous felines that didn’t make The Avenues Vets’ list? Why not share your own favourite famous cats on our Facebook page?
- Garfield – A comic strip and cartoon character who is known for his love of lasagne and sarcastic humour.
- Tom – A cartoon cat who is the main antagonist in the Tom and Jerry cartoon series.
- Grumpy Cat – A cat who became famous on the internet for her permanently grumpy expression.
- Felix the Cat – A cartoon character who was first created in the 1910s and has since appeared in various forms of media.
- Lil Bub – A cat who became famous on the internet for her unique appearance and charming personality.
- Cheshire Cat – A character from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ known for his mischievous grin.
- Hello Kitty – A Japanese character created by Sanrio, known for her cute appearance and merchandise.
- Simba – A lion cub who is the main character in Disney’s ‘The Lion King.’
- Bagheera – A black panther who appears in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ and various adaptations.
- Salem – A talking cat who appears in the television series ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch. ’
Famous cats are fantastic and fun, and we hope they make you smile too!
Now, back to the most special feline of all… your cat! Remember to ensure their preventative healthcare is up to date and they are a healthy weight.
Did we miss any off the list? Share who your favourite famous cat is on our Facebook page and make our nursing team’s day!
With summer upon us in Lanarkshire, it’s important for cat owners to take steps to ensure their feline friend stays safe in the heat.
Our vet team at Avenues Vets have created this article on summer safety checks, plus a downloadable guide on common summer first aid situations & tips for you to share with other cat owners, helping to keep all cats in Lanarkshire safe this summer.
10 Summer Safety Checks for your Cat
- Keep your cat cool: Cats can suffer from heatstroke, so make sure they have access to cool, shaded areas and plenty of fresh water to drink.
- Provide a litter box: Cats may spend more time indoors during hot weather, so make sure they have access to a clean litter box at all times.
- Keep your cat indoors during the hottest parts of the day: If you can, keep your cat indoors during the hottest parts of the day, especially if they are an older or indoor-only cat. If they really want to go outside though, they should, but for shorter periods.
- Regular grooming: Regular grooming can help to keep your cat cool and prevent hairballs. Consider brushing your cat more often during the summer months to cool them down.
- Watch out for fleas and ticks: Fleas and ticks are more active during the summer so make sure your cat is up to date on flea and tick prevention. Contact us at Avenues Vets for more help with flea and tick treatments or browse our website for more information on this topic.
- Provide plenty of entertainment: Cats may be less active during the summer so provide plenty of toys and activities to encourage them to move more.
- Keep harmful substances out of reach: In summer, many household items, such as sun cream and insect repellent, can be harmful to cats if ingested. Make sure to keep these items out of reach. Contact us immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested any of these substances.
- Watch out for poisonous plants: Some common garden plants, such as lilies and foxgloves, can be toxic to cats if ingested. Make sure to keep these plants out of your cat’s reach. Contact us immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested any of these plants. Check out our Summer First Aid Tips downloadable guide that covers poisons.
- Watch out for open windows: Cats love to sit in the sun by open windows but make sure that bug screens are secure to prevent your cat from falling out when relaxed!
- Regular check-ups: Regular check-ups with one of our vets can help to ensure that your cat stays healthy and happy throughout the summer months. Contact us at Avenues Vets to book your cat in for a health check-up this summer.
Why not share this article on your socials AND download and share our Summer Cat First Aid Tips with other cat owners? They’ll be happy you did!
Cats bring joy and companionship to millions of people around the world. One of their favourite activities is to lay out in the sun or on a sunny window ledge. However, during hot weather, cats can be susceptible to heatstroke, a condition that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. In this article created by Vet Nicola, we’ll discuss how to prevent heatstroke in cats and the signs to look out for.
Top Tips for Keeping Cats Safe this Summer
Keep your cat indoors
Although we may not get as much warm weather as we perhaps desire in Lanarkshire, when it does heat up it’s best to keep your cat indoors in a cool and well-ventilated room. This will help prevent them from overheating and keep them safe from outdoor hazards such as cars, predators, and toxic plants. If your cat is an outdoors wanderer, try to encourage them back indoors as often as possible.
Provide plenty of water
Make sure your cat has access to clean and fresh water at all times. Nicola suggests placing multiple water bowls throughout your home, especially in cooler areas like the bathroom. You can also add ice cubes to their water to keep it cool. You may want to place a bowl or two outdoors as well if your cat does like to venture out.
Provide a cool environment
Ensure that your cat’s environment is cool and well-ventilated. Use fans or air conditioning to keep the air circulating and the temperature comfortable. You can also provide cool surfaces for your cat to lie on, such as a tile or marble floor.
Avoid exercise during the hottest parts of the day
Avoid exercising your cat during the hottest parts of the day, such as midday when the sun is at its peak. Instead, exercise your cat in the early morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler.
Groom your cat regularly
Regular grooming can help prevent heatstroke by removing excess fur that can trap heat and make your cat uncomfortable. Brush your cat daily to remove loose fur and matting.
Signs of heatstroke in cats
If your cat is exhibiting any of the following signs, they may be experiencing heatstroke and require immediate attention. Call Avenues Vets on 0141 643 0404 to speak to one of our vets in Glasgow.
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Rapid heart rate
- Reddened gums or tongue
- Lethargy or weakness
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Confusion or disorientation
- Seizures or collapse
If you suspect that your cat is experiencing heatstroke, contact your vet for advice immediately. In the meantime, try to cool your cat down by providing them with cool water to drink, wetting their fur with tepid (not cold) water, and placing them in front of a fan.
Nicola says that following these simple tips and knowing the signs to look out for can help keep your cat safe and comfortable during hot weather. Remember to always provide plenty of water, keep your cat cool, and seek veterinary attention if you suspect your cat is experiencing heatstroke.
Use the button below to book your own cat’s summer health check and don’t forget to share this article with other cat owners.
As owners you can sense when your pet is feeling unwell and witnessing them vomit is an unpleasant experience. Seeing their sad face and hunched over posture can be a worry, but how do you know when it’s an indication of something serious?
Vomiting is a common occurrence in cats and dogs, and the good news is that most of the time the sickness will pass over the course of 24 hours without any medical treatment. However, occasionally it can be the start of something more dangerous, depending on the situation.
Our experienced team at Avenues Vets in Lanarkshire have put together a helpful guide on this topic, highlighting some of the common reasons for vomiting, how to care for your pet when they are feeling sick and when you need to contact the vet.
The dangers of everyday items
As veterinary professionals, the first thing we associate with vomiting pets is puppies and kittens. Young animals are the number one culprit for sicky symptoms, and this is because their curious behaviour means they like to chew everything they can get their paws on.
According to Vet Nicola Armstrong, common items that puppies and kittens chew and sometimes swallow include:
- String or ribbon
- Items from the rubbish bin
Luckily, in most cases this activity doesn’t cause damage, but sometimes these ‘foreign bodies’ can aggravate the digestive system, or even cause toxicity or an obstruction. Unsurprisingly, one of the first symptoms of stomach irritation is vomiting, and this happens as the body tries to reject and push out the unfamiliar substance or item.
Common causes of vomiting
Another common reason for your cat or dog vomiting may be that they are eating their food so quickly that they bring it back up undigested. This is regurgitation rather than true vomiting and is often behavioural and most prevalent in puppies. Sometimes cats will regurgitate to bring up hairballs. Neither of these symptoms are serious unless they become frequent; please call our Woodside Avenue team on 0141 643 0404 if you suspect your pet is regurgitating and we will happily advise you on how best to prevent it.
Vomiting can also be a sign of a serious underlying condition such as kidney disease or pancreatitis, so further investigations may be needed. Other reasons your pet may be vomiting include:
- Food allergies
- Travel sickness
- A change in diet
- A reaction to a medication
- An infectious disease
- Ingesting something poisonous
When to call the vets if your pet has vomited
Nicola explains that for most one-off cases of vomiting, emergency veterinary treatment is not required, and the symptoms will pass through in a few hours. There are situations that warrant emergency help and can be serious if left untreated. You should call us immediately if your pet experiences any of the following:
- Vomiting often and frequently, for example, more than once in 24 hours
- Unproductive vomiting – where nothing comes up or frequent retching
- Your pet is vomiting and is very young or very old and therefore more vulnerable
- Your pet has other serious diagnosed conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease
- Your pet has a bloated and/or tender tummy
- The vomit is a red/brown colour or contains specks of red, indicating blood
- Your female dog is vomiting and is pregnant and/or has vaginal discharge
- The vomiting is accompanied by diarrhoea
- Your pet is wobbly or unsteady on its feet
- Your pet collapses or seizures
It is important to stress that if you think your pet has eaten something poisonous or toxic, even if they have not vomited, do not wait until your pet shows symptoms, call us immediately on 0141 643 0404.
How to care for your pet when they are sick
If your pet has been or is about to be sick, they will likely feel nauseous. Signs may include:
- Salivating or dribbling
- Licking lips
- Shying away from food
- A hunched posture
- Restlessness and pacing around (dogs)
- Sitting still with eyes closed or half closed (cats)
- Being ‘clingy’ and not wanting to leave your side
- Hiding away
- Eating grass (dogs)
Here are some tips on how to best care for your pet if you notice these signs:
- Ensure they have calm, safe, quiet surroundings so they can rest
- Keep warm and comfortable
- Offer them small amounts of fresh drinking water but do not force them to eat or drink
- Do not walk or exercise them for 24 hours except to go to the toilet
- If vomiting has stopped and they seem brighter it is safe to offer them a small amount of bland food such as plain boiled chicken, however it is best to call us first for feeding advice
If you are unsure of what to do if your pet is vomiting and unwell, please call the Avenues Vets team on 0141 643 0404 and we will advise you on the best course of action.
Thinking about adopting a cat? There are plenty of them in rescue centres around the Lanarkshire area looking for good homes, and cats are ideal for pet lovers who don’t have the time to devote to the more demanding needs of a dog.
But what do you need to think about when bringing a new addition into your home? Our cat-loving team have put together some top tips below.
Why not share your adoption experiences with our many followers on Facebook?
Things to consider when adopting a cat
A consideration when adopting a cat may be their age. There are many older cats that often get overlooked in rescue centres because they are not kittens or younger cats. This sadly means they are more likely to spend a longer time in rescue centres. Older cats can be just as loving as younger ones and often come with less challenges in terms of toilet training.
If you are considering adopting a cat, there are many centres that have cats available such as the RSPCA and the Cats Protection League, as well as local pet rescue centres in Lanarkshire.
Just like adopting any animal, it is important to be aware of any potential behavioural or medical issues. In case of dementia, look out for:
- Avoiding social interaction
- Increased meowing
Introducing an older cat into your home
The nursing team at our Glasgow surgery have lots of experience and advice when it comes to caring for older cats. If after reading this advice you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
When introducing a senior or geriatric cat into your home it is important to plan ahead, especially if you have another cat in the household. Introduce them slowly by keeping the new cat restricted to one room at first, and gradually allow them more contact with your current cat.
You can swap bedding, so they learn the smell of each other, but monitor them closely for any signs of stress such as restlessness, or changes in toileting or eating.
Contact our Glasgow team for more advice on how to introduce a new cat into your home.
When introducing a geriatric cat, you want to ensure the environment suits their needs. You can do this by having soft, low sided beds in areas they can easily access without climbing or jumping. Make sure there are plenty of food/water bowls around, and litter trays with low sides.
Top tip from The Avenues Vets’ Head Nurse: You should have a litter tray and food/water bowls per cat and on each level of your home to avoid fighting and to aid mobility.
Older cats are less likely to use scratching posts to express their emotions and mark their scent, but horizontal scratching surfaces are likely to do the job just as well!
With older cats it is important to have regular check-ups to ensure they are healthy. Older cats can suffer with kidney disease and arthritis so monitoring for signs of these is important.
They may also require regular grooming and nail trims, as older cats tend stop grooming themselves regularly and often struggle to shed their nails – these can get long and may grow into pads if not trimmed.
Remember to also keep on top of parasite control!
It’s wise to bring your new cat in for a senior health check – give us a call on 0141 643 0404.
All that said, the majority of ‘senior cat issues’ can be easily treated and managed, so it’s still worthwhile considering giving an older cat a loving home. Older cats can be incredibly affectionate and rewarding to adopt and can be a lot of fun too!
Have you opened your home to an older cat? Why not share your experiences on our Facebook page and let other people know how rewarding it can be?
If you’d like further advice on adopting a cat, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to chat.
Fleas can cause a host of health issues for your cat and the rest of your family. With Spring around the corner, cat owners in Glasgow will see the start of the 2023 flea season soon. So, Linsey our head nurse thought it would be a good time to focus on what cat owners need to know about fleas. Top of the list is to ensure your cat’s own flea protection is in place. If you’re not sure, then give us a quick call and we can tell you your cat’s status.
How to prevent cat fleas
Apart from ensuring your cat’s flea protection is up to date, here are four tips that Linsey suggests you follow to prevent or treat a cat flea infestation.
1. Protect – Ensure all your pets are protected
Cats can catch fleas from other pets in your house, from neighboring pets, other animals in the wild, or even you as fleas can cling onto your clothing! So, making sure all pets in your household have protection with a vet recommended flea treatment is vital.
2. Wash – Wash your pet’s bedding
Fleas love warm places like a cat’s bedding. Regularly wash bedding on a 60–70-degree cycle with a specialist pet bedding wash. Why not ask a question to our Facebook community to see what’s worked for other cat owners?
3. Hoover – Keep your house spotless
Once fleas are in the house, they can be tough to get rid of. Whether you’re looking to help prevent fleas appearing in the first place or remove an established infestation, regular hoovering of the house is essential. Environmental treatments are also available, please ask our team for advice.
4. Check – Check your cat regularly for fleas
Knowing what to look out for is an essential part of catching fleas early. One of the most obvious signs of an infestation is intense itching and scratching, which can lead to hair loss and irritated skin. Otherwise, part your cat’s fur so you can see the skin and look for flea droppings – tiny, black spots in your cat’s fur (mainly dried blood).
Why you need to be vigilant for fleas
As well as being irritating for your cat, and everyone else in the house, a flea infestation can cause anaemia in your cat and provoke allergic skin reactions too. Many people don’t even realise their cat has fleas. A 2018 survey of 300 vet practices treating 1,400 cats and dogs found that over 28% of cats had fleas and 8% had a skin condition caused by a long-term infestation.
That’s why you should check your cat for fleas and ensure their protection is up to date.
If you need information or advice, give our team a quick call and we can tell you the vet-recommended flea treatments we use and make sure your cat is fully protected.
It’s a sad fact that four out of five cats in the Lanarkshire area will likely have gum disease by the age of three. Which means that if you have a cat, you should act now to give them the best possible chance of getting into the 20% that have no oral issues. If you’re not sure whether your cat has had a dental check-up in the last 12 months, then we recommend you book an appointment as soon as possible.
According to The Avenues Vets’ Vet Nicola Armstrong, it is important to catch dental problems early because advanced dental disease is unpleasant for your cat and can lead to other health issues. As it’s pet dental health month, we’re sharing a few simple steps you can take to prevent problems from arising and give yourself peace of mind.
How to protect your cat’s teeth between vet checks
1. Check your cat’s teeth regularly
You should examine your cat’s teeth regularly. Get them used to being checked and you’ll minimise the chances of being bitten or clawed. Nicola advises that you check for:
- Painful, red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Gums that have receded
- Lumps on the gums
- Yellow material on the teeth (plaque)
- Hard, brown material between the gums and the base of the teeth (tartar)
- Loose, broken, or missing teeth
2. Learn the signs of early dental problems in cats
Always keep a careful eye on your cat’s behaviour and look out for the early signs of dental problems:
- Bad breath
- Reduced appetite
- Discomfort when eating
- Weight loss
- Poor coat condition
- Pawing at the mouth
3. Prevention of cat teeth problems
As with oral health in humans, we all know that prevention is better than cure. Here’s what Nicola recommends you should be doing on a regular basis:
- Brush your cat’s teeth – If you’ve never done this before then pop into our Woodside Avenue surgery and one of our friendly vet nurses will show you how.
- Pay attention to your cat’s diet – Special dental diets are available for cats with oral issues.
- Consider using dental treats and chews – Ask our team for tips on tried & tested products.
If you need any help or advice, or would like us to check your cat’s teeth, book a dental check-up online or give us a call on 0141 643 0404.