How to take the best care of your feline companions

Here is some information about our feline friends, both in good health and when they are unwell. Please remember that reading this is no substitution for seeking the advice of a veterinary surgeon.

Please contact us to discuss any concerns you may have about your cat's health, we are here 24 hours a day, every day of the year.


Why vaccinate?

Vaccination is important to protect your cat against a number of potentially fatal diseases. Many diseases are highly contagious between cats and can spread rapidly with close contact. When your cat receives its vaccination, he/she will also receive a thorough health examination and you can discuss any health concerns you may have with one of our Vets.

When to vaccinate?

Kittens need a primary vaccination course which can be started at 9 weeks of age. A second injection is given 3-4 weeks later. The course can be started later but your kitten will not be protected from the diseases until a week after the second injection.

Adult cats that haven't been vaccinated can receive an out-of-date booster at any time. They will need to have an initial dose of the vaccine followed by a second dose 2-4 weeks later. To provide lifetime protection, your cat will need to receive annual booster vaccinations.

What can we protect against?

  1. Feline infectious enteritis (Panleucopoenia or parvo). The virus invades intestines and causes damage to the immune system. Young animals suffer from severe bloody diarrhoea with a characteristic offensive smell and many will die within hours of the onset of symptoms.
  2. Rabies. Although this is not routinely needed in the UK, cats need to be vaccinated against rabies prior to obtaining an EU Pet Passport and travelling abroad. Vaccination can be carried out from 3 months of age.
  3. Feline upper respiratory disease (Cat Flu). This is very common and is caused by two major viruses, but is often complicated by secondary bacterial infections. Feline Herpes Virus attacks the eyes, mouth and lungs, causing severe symptoms such as fever, eye ulcers and pneumonia. After infection, a large number of cats will become lifelong carriers of the virus, rather than recovering fully. They may excrete the virus at times of stress or other illness, leading to recurrent bouts of symptoms. Feline Calici Virus is generally less severe but causes painful ulcers of the mouth and tongue. It can also occasionally be implicated in a much more long-term and painful condition where there is severe inflammation of the mouth and gums, making eating difficult.
  4. Feline leukaemia virus. This virus is one of the main causes of premature death for cats in the UK. The virus is easily spread via saliva and blood, so can be transmitted to other cats, often following cat bites. Feline Leukaemia Virus attacks the white blood cells and bone marrow, which weakens the immune system and makes the cat more vulnerable to secondary infections. It also causes anaemia and cancer of the blood, intestines and other parts of the body.

To save money on the cost of vaccinations, take a look at our Pet Health Club


Spaying a female

We recommend having a female cat spayed before she reaches sexual maturity at 5 to 6 months of age. Once sexual maturity is reached, the cat will begin to come into season or 'call'. Cycles of sexual activity typically occur every three weeks. Having your cat spayed will not only eliminate unplanned pregnancies but will also prevent diseases associated with the genital tract later in life.

We recommend that your cat comes in for a complimentary pre-neuter check up with one of our veterinary nurses prior to her spay operation to check that she is in good health and ready to have her operation.

The operation involves the administration of a general anaesthetic and the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus through an incision made on the flank or belly of the cat. The fur at the site of the incision will have to be shaved.

She will be admitted early in the morning of her operation and will stay with us for the day. She will be able to return home later on the same day and we advise that she is kept quiet. The skin sutures are generally removed after 7 to 10 days.

Castrating a male

Castrating a male is as equally important as spaying a female to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Furthermore, entire male cats have a strong tendency to roam, to be aggressive to other males, to fight and to mark their territory by spraying urine (often indoors!). The aggressive behaviour puts an uncastrated male at much higher risk of serious infectious diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus (feline 'AIDS') and feline leukaemia virus, both of which are transmitted through cat bites.

We recommend that your cat comes in for a complimentary pre-neuter check-up with one of our veterinary nurses, prior to castration, to check that he is in good health and ready to have his operation.  

Castration involves removing both testes under general anaesthetic through small incisions into the scrotum. Usually the skin incisions for a castration are so small that sutures are not required.

He will be admitted early in the morning of his operation and will stay with us for the day. He will be able to return home later on the same day and we advise that he is kept quiet.

Will my cat have different needs once it has been neutered?

Once your cat has been neutered, there is a stronger tendency for him/her to become overweight and so you will need to adjust the amount of food you provide. We recommend feeding a 'neutered cat' diet designed to meet the different nutritional requirements of a neutered cat. One of our vets or nurses will be only too happy to give advice. For more information, please contact us.

To save money on the cost of neutering, see our Pet Health Club

Fleas and Worms

There are a number of parasites found in pets, some are passed from the mother to offspring and some are picked up from the environment. It is important for the health & wellbeing of your pet - as well as you and your home - that he/she is properly treated. Prevention is definitely the most effective method and regular flea and worm control will protect your pet and reduce environmental contamination.


The larvae of these worms are often passed across the placenta from mother before birth or via the milk when suckling; they migrate around the body until they become adult worms in the intestines. Once these worms have reached maturity, they start producing large numbers of eggs. Animals re-infect themselves by ingesting these eggs during grooming. Heavy worm burdens can cause poor growth and diarrhoea. Humans too can be at risk from these worms, especially children, who inadvertently ingest the eggs after handling pets or playing in contaminated gardens or play areas. Roundworms cause Toxocariasis. This usually affects children under the age of 10 years, where the larvae can cause organ damage, particularly to the eye, resulting in impaired vision.


These are flat segmented worms which need an intermediate host, generally a flea or a small rodent, to complete their life-cycle. They attach themselves to the small intestine and can grow up to 5 metres long. They appear as flat ribbon-shaped pieces or pale segments the size of a grain of rice in the faeces. Pets can become infected whilst grooming, by ingesting fleas which are carrying tape worm larvae or, in the case of cats, by catching infected prey such as mice. These larvae soon turn into adult worms.


Cats can acquire lungworm infection by eating snails or slugs (although this is rare and more often seen in dogs). More commonly, cats can acquire lungworm by hunting birds or small mammals that have eaten infected snails or slugs. It is therefore important that outdoor cats are regularly wormed, especially if they are keen hunters.


Fleas are the primary cause of skin problems in animals. Some pets suffer from an allergic reaction to the flea saliva and need only a couple of bites from a flea to trigger a severe reaction. Pet fleas can also bite people although they can’t live on us. If there are large numbers, you may spot one or two but they are designed to run rapidly through the hair, so it may be easier to look for flea dirt. This is black gritty material which, if placed on a damp tissue, will turn red.

Each adult female flea will take a blood meal, then mature and lay thousands of eggs which are shed into carpets, laminate floors and furnishings. These eggs hatch into larvae which feed on skin detritus and flea faeces. In the pupal stage they can lie dormant for up to a year until the correct conditions of warmth, humidity and vibration occur for them to hatch into adult fleas. This dormant phase can result in a severe flea epidemic, rapidly developing. Only adult fleas, which make up less than 5% of the total flea population, live on our pets. Consequently, correct environmental treatment is an essential part of successful flea control.


Ticks are not only a nuisance and an irritation to your pet but they can also, in some instances, transmit diseases. Ticks are generally found in grassland, scrub, shrubs and low-hanging branches, waiting for animals to brush against them so that they can climb on board. The tick then burrows its head parts into the skin to suck a blood meal and become engorged. At this point, they look like a silvery grey or brown bubble or wart like lesion. The commonest problem associated with ticks is the sores and secondary infections at the site of attachment. Please contact us if you think your pet may have a tick as they should not be pulled off.

Ear Mites

These mites are found in the ear canal and may occasionally colonise the adjacent skin of the head. The mites cause irritation of the lining of the ear canal which then becomes full of a crusty black discharge. It can give rise to intense irritation, causing head shaking, scratching of the ears and secondary infections.

As with most things, prevention is better than cure. Regular worming and flea control will help to prevent many of the internal and external parasites that your cat can acquire. We can give advice on the most suitable worming and flea control for your cat and, if you find it difficult to administer the treatment, we offer complimentary appointments with one off our Veterinary Nurses, who will be able to do it for you*.

* worming and flea products will be charged for.

Dental Care

Taking care of your cat’s teeth is as important as looking after your own. Proper dental care is essential to keep your cat healthy.

How do cats develop dental disease?

Saliva, bacteria and food particles combine to form plaque every day. Within 24 hours, the plaque may begin to turn into tartar, a hard yellowish deposit on the teeth. Plaque also causes gingivitis, an infection of the gum that is the first stage of dental disease.

70% of cats have dental disease by the age of two, but other types of gum disease can occur even earlier. The major cause of gum disease is accumulation of plaque, which harbours a large number of bacteria. These bacteria can spread to the lungs, liver, kidney and heart, causing infection. Dental disease is painful, even if your cat may not show it. We now have a dental x-ray machine which means that, just like with our own teeth, we are able to foresee problems and help prevent the pain of dental disease for your cat.

Signs of dental disease:

  • Bad breath
  • A red line along the gum line (gingivitis)
  • Difficulty eating
  • Teeth showing disease
  • Bleeding gums
  • Yellow and brown tartar deposits on the teeth - normal teeth should always be white

How to look after your cat's teeth:

To help keep your cat's teeth healthy, we recommend the following:

  1. Regular tooth brushing - brushing will be easier if you begin while your cat is still young, although you may have success even if you start with an older cat, provided it doesn’t already have painful gum disease. You should only use toothpaste specially designed for pets to clean your cat's teeth. If you have difficulty brushing your cat's teeth, we also sell a range of dental products such as dental mouth washes, oral gels and granules to add to your cat's feed which have the same effect as brushing your cat's teeth.
  2. Feed a special food that works like a toothbrush - in addition to brushing or instead of, you can use a special food. We stock a range of specially formulated diets that help to clean your cat's teeth. The biscuit works like a toothbrush by removing plaque as your cat bites into the kibble. It also has properties that prevent the build-up of bacteria in the mouth.
  3. Regular check-ups - every 6 months or AT LEAST once a year. Our vets will routinely check your cat's teeth at her yearly vaccination; in addition, our nurses hold complimentary clinics to give advice on how to look after her teeth.

Prevention is better than cure

If your cat is already showing signs of dental disease, it may be necessary for their teeth to be cleaned by one of our vets under general anaesthetic. In the more advanced stages of dental disease, your cat may also require surgical extraction of her teeth. Please contact us to book a complimentary appointment with one of our veterinary nurses to have your cat's teeth checked.

To learn more about Dental Health warning signs, please click here.


What is identichipping?

Identichipping is a simple, safe and quick procedure. It can make all the difference in being reunited with your pet, should they stray or go missing. The chip is the size of a grain of rice and the procedure, which is carried out by a vet or trained microchip implanter, takes only a few minutes and can be done as part of a routine consultation.

How does a microchip help to reunite a lost pet with their owner?

Once your pet is microchipped, you and your pet's details are stored in a microchip database along with the microchip's unique 15-digit code. When a missing pet is found, an animal professional (for example a vet or dog warden) will scan the pet, revealing the microchip's unique 15-digit code, and contact the microchip database your pet is registered with. The customer care staff will perform some security checks before releasing your contact details to the animal professional – so that your pet can be reunited with you.


Your cat will have different nutritional needs throughout its life, therefore it is important to know what to feed it throughout these different stages. Our vets and nurses are available to give advice and develop a tailored feeding regime for your cat.


Kittens need extra nutrients to help them grow, therefore we recommend feeding a specially formulated diet such as Royal Canin Weaning/Growth or Hills Science Plan Kitten. They have a comparatively small stomach capacity compared with the volume of food required, therefore it is important to feed several smaller meals through the day, rather than one or two large ones. Fresh water in a clean bowl should be available at all times.

Adult cats (from 10-12 months of age)

When your kitten reaches maturity, its nutritional needs will be different. We recommend neutering your cat at approximately 5-6 months of age, at which stage his/her nutritional requirements will change. Neutered cats need 24-33% fewer calories compared to unneutered cats and are therefore more prone to weight gain. We recommend feeding either Royal Canin Young Male/Female or Hills Science Plan Adult Light to avoid weight gain. Up to 50% of middle-aged cats are overweight – obesity increases the risk of health problems and can also shorten the life expectancy of your cat.

Senior Cats (over 7 years of age)

Older cats are more prone to developing health problems. By switching to a senior diet there is an opportunity to improve your cat's health, increase his lifespan and improve his quality of life. Older cats are also more likely to become overweight or obese as they become less active. The Royal Canin Mature/Senior or Hills Science Plan Mature adult foods are recommended as they are formulated to meet the specific needs of the older cat.

Knowing what food to feed your cat and how many calories it needs per day can be tricky, especially as feeding requirements can vary greatly from one cat to another. Our vets and nurses are specially trained to give advice on pet nutrition. We provide regular clinics to monitor your cat's weight and give advice on the most suitable diet for your cat. We stock a wide range of diets at each of our surgeries, suitable for all breeds, life stages and lifestyles. If we don't stock the food that you require, we can usually order it in for you by the next working day.

For any further advice, please contact us.