How often will my cat come into season? Should I let her have a litter first?

Female cats can come into season from six months of age but maybe not for a few months after this, and unless they are mated will keep coming into   season (or “calling”) approximately every three weeks. This isn’t always that obvious so if your cat goes out at all and you don’t want her to   get pregnant, then get her neutered (spayed). Cats definitely don’t need a litter before they are neutered.

My cat has flu. Will I catch it?

Cat flu is a syndrome which affects the upper respiratory tract and eyes. It can be caused by two different viruses and one small bacterium, but these   are specific to the cat and so you can’t catch cat flu, or the cat catch human flu or human colds.

What happens if my pet gets sick during the night?

All vets must offer a 24 hour emergency service for their own clients either themselves or through a neighbouring practice with which they have an   agreement, or through a dedicated emergency service locally with which they have an agreement. So if you need veterinary advice at any time, then ring your   own practice and they will answer the phone or have a message on whom else to contact in an emergency.

My friend suggested I get some catnip for my cat. What exactly is it? I am worried that it is some kind of drug.

Catnip is a herb that cats like and which makes them go doolali! This is probably, at least partly, a drug effect. How safe is it – we don’t know, but   it is in very common use and we don’t know of any bad reports so it’s up to you if you want to give it to your cat.

Should I give my cat milk?

Many cats and dogs cannot digest lactose which is found in milk and as a result may develop wind and diarrhoea. This is why milk may be unsuitable for   your pet. There are a few alternatives to milk, but as part of a balanced diet, a complete cat food and water are perfectly adequate. Milk is not necessary   but for most cats is harmless.

I read somewhere that cats should not be fed only biscuits as it is not a complete diet. My vet recommended a dry food. Which is right? 

Many dry foods are complete diets. It will say on the packet that it is ‘complete’. This is not the same as ‘complementary’. Free access to water is   the only additional thing you must offer if on a dry complete food. Many “biscuits” in the past were a ‘complementary’ diet (or mixer) and   designed to be fed with tinned food. This is probably where the confusion arises.

My cat keeps scratching. I haven’t seen any fleas. Should I still treat him?

Cats can scratch for many different reasons and fleas is probably the most common one, so it is sensible to treat for fleas even if you haven’t seen   them at any time of the year. However if you are going to treat for fleas, use a product that works very effectively and is very safe. Contact your vet   about effective flea control.

My cat’s mouth smells. Can I get breath freshener tablets for him?

If your cat’s mouth smells, then get it seen by your vet because periodontal disease is the most common cause of halitosis. See our Dentistry Factsheet   for more information.

I have just bought a Persian cat. My friend said I will need to groom him daily. I thought cats groomed themselves.

As a rule, cats groom themselves, but some are better than others. It takes a lot of time and work to groom long haired cats and if your cat doesn’t do   it properly you will end up with a right mess (matted fur). Also, whilst they are grooming, long haired cats ingest large quantities of fur, which may   cause fur balls to settle in the stomach and make them occasionally sick and/or constipated. For these reasons you may need to groom the cats yourself but   if you are going to do this, you must start very early in life so that the cat accepts it as a normal way of life. Starting grooming once the cat is   already all knotted up is fairly hopeless and you may need him clipped or combed regularly under sedation.

How often should I worm my pets?

Some canine worm eggs can infect people, but the eggs need to mature so it isn’t the dog itself which is dangerous but where it has been to the toilet   if this has not been cleaned up. Worming dogs is for public health reasons and poop scooping is essential in your own garden and in public places. Worms   can also affect puppies and kittens as well as adult cats and dogs, and as a general rule, all dogs should be wormed every 3 months and cats every 3   months. Puppies and kittens will need worming more often and make sure you use an effective and safe wormer. Ask your vet about that. For more information,   see the Worming Factsheet.