Our Core Vaccine for cats is a 3 in 1 vaccine against 2 cat flu viruses (Herpes and Calicivirus), and the Panleukopenia virus (which causes severe, and often fatal gastroenteritis).
Current recommendations with the modern vaccine we use are:
1st vaccination at 9 weeks of age, or older.
2nd vaccination 3-4 weeks after the first.
Then next vaccination is repeated at around one year after the last kitten vaccine.
A pregnant cat should not receive this vaccine.
Thereafter, vaccination is repeated every 3 years as research has shown that the vaccine will provide sufficient protection for at least 3 years.
Although vaccination is every 3 years for adult cats an annual health check is strongly recommended.
Chlamydia, or now known as Chlamydophila, causes conjunctivitis and respiratory disease in shelters or catteries, and rarely affects individual indoor cats. In addition, the vaccine is known to frequently cause vaccination reactions such as pain and lethargy. Therefore, we do not recommend the Chlamydophila vaccine.
FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis):
We do not recommend the FIP vaccine because it has not shown to be effective in preventing FIP disease.
FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus):
We only recommend this vaccine for outdoor cats with contact with stray cats.
FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus):
Although commercially available, we do not recommend this vaccine as it has not been shown to be effective.
At present, Rabies vaccination for cats is not compulsory in HK. Currently there is no rabies present in Hong Kong and therefore we generally do not recommend vaccinating your cat against it.
In order to export your cat many countries require it to be vaccinated against rabies and micro-chipped, this can easily be done in our Hospital. The final schedule of vaccination needs to be in accordance to the guidelines of the country your cat is moving to.
If you may be exporting your cat in the future then you may want to consider micro-chipping your cat while it is being de-sexed, as the microchip needle is thicker than a grain of rice it is quite uncomfortable to implant.
If we have to implant a microchip in a conscious pet we can provide pain relief by using local anaesthetic. If your pet is very nervous or extremely active we can also provide mild sedation to make them more relaxed.
Health Checks for kittens and Annual Health Check for adult cats.
When you bring your new kitten in for a check up, we can ensure that your kitten is in good health, and talk to you about how to keep it healthy and happy.
During each examination, we will examine your kitten/cat from head to tail. First of all, we’d weigh your cat, assess the Body Condition Score, and compare this weight to the previous weights, and then we will check the ears, nose, eyes, mouth, teeth and skin. Proceeding down the body, listen to the chest for abnormal heart and lung sounds, and then palpate the abdomen for lumps and bumps. We also check the lymph nodes and around the bottom, measure the body temperature and spend time on other specific areas such as joints.
This consultation is especially important for first time cat owners to learn about normal cat behaviour, correct diets, preventative care such as de worming, flea control, home dental care, and some of the common cat diseases.
Although adult vaccination booster is every 3 years, we recommend an annual health check for all pets.
Cats older than 7 years of age are considered to be elderly.
During the annual examination, we would pay more attention to diseases of old age, such as heart disease, dental disease, arthritis, Hyperthyroidism (high level of Thyroid hormone), Hypertension (high blood pressure), and renal/ kidney disease.
We recommend annual blood and urine tests for older pets.
Please do try to bring in a urine sample at the health check.
The easiest way to do this is by using a special type of cat litter that does not absorb urine. We sell Catrine Pearl cat litter for this purpose,
Wash & dry the tray well, put a thin layer of the Pearl cat litter in.
Make sure no other cats can use that tray (for example, put the cat and tray in a bedroom, or toilet with the door shut, and wait! )
We recommend a balanced commercial diet consisting of both dry food and canned food from one of the major reputable companies.
The major companies such as Hills, Royal Canin and Iams all have different diets specially formulated for your cats stage in life.
We recommend at least one meal of tinned food every day to make sure they take in enough water. Ideally we recommend you feed your cat 50% dry food and 50% wet food. As most tinned cats food are not ‘balanced’ we recommend that you vary the flavor and brand of tinned food to help prevent any deficiencies occurring.
Cats are obligate carnivores which means they must eat meat, they cannot be vegetarian, however plain meat or fish and rice are NOT complete in nutrition and can lead to serious diseases developing ranging from blindness to kidney failure.
We do not recommend feeding home-made diets to your cat unless it has a specific medical issue and our veterinarians has recommended a specific diet.
Young kittens should have at least 4 meals a day and most adult cats should have 2 meals per day. Some cats are grazers and enjoy eating small amounts all day instead of two distinct meals.
A single cat in a household could be fed ‘free access’ to eat dry food when it wishes, with a single meal of tinned food, but many indoor cats will become overweight on a ‘free access’ schedule.
Fat cats should be fed a restricted amount of food two times a day.
Fresh water must be provided at all times. If the water is in a bowl, the bowl must be cleaned and refilled at least once per day.
A good way of provided ’fresh’ water to your cat is with a ‘pet water fountain’. We will often recommend that owners provide a water fountain to their older cats or cats that have ‘bladder’ problems to encourage them to drink more.
We recommend you de-sex your pet cats for health and behavioral reasons.
Many entire (not de-sexed) female cats will develop mammary cancers and uterine infections (pyometra) when they are older. De-sexing your female cat will reduce her risk of mammary (breast) cancer by up to 90 %, and earlier (at six months) is better compared to later in life . De-sexing also prevents sleepless nights when your female cats start miaowing and screaming when they are in season.
Although prostate diseases are not common in male cats, we recommend de-sexing to avoid behavioral problems such as territorial urine spraying on walls and furniture. Adult tom cat urine really smells strongly! These tom cats will also be driven to find a female and are more likely to escape, and jump from windows,
Most importantly, de-sexing reduces the number of unwanted kittens and cats.
Both male and female cats can be neutered around six months of age.
We always aim to improve the anaesthetic safety and welfare for all our patients by doing preanaesthetic blood test, using modern anesthetic drugs, pain killers before and after the surgery , and for longer procedures, intravenous fluids. Usually our patients are back to their normal selves within one or two days of surgery.
Pet health insurance and exportation are the main reasons for micro-chipping cats and this can be done on request at our clinic.
Because the microchip needle is thicker than a grain of rice it is quite uncomfortable to implant. If you need a microchip (because you might be exporting your cat, or getting it insured) we would suggest implanting the chip while under anaesthesia for the de-sexing surgery.
So, just before de-sexing your cat it may be worth considering whether you will be insuring your cat, or possibly travelling with it to another country in the future. If there is the possibility then it is very easy for us, and much more comfortable for your cat, to micro-chip during the de-sexing surgery.
De-worming or Intestinal de-wormer:
Drontal Allwormer is a more effective and complete de wormer than many available on the market.
We recommend de-worming kittens every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age until 3 months old, then monthly until 6 months old, then every 3 months.
Revolution also treats some intestinal worms but not tapeworms.
The most effective and safest products are Frontline Top spot and Revolution. These products are applied monthly. Revolution will also prevent heartworm & ear mites.
Older products such as flea baths, flea powder and flea collars are ineffective or dangerous, and should not be used.
Heartworms are very different to intestinal worms. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. Although heart worm is present in Asia including Hong Kong, heart worm disease in cats is uncommon in Hong Kong. As well as preventing fleas Revolution is effective in preventing heart worm infestation.
We often use Revolution for kittens for fleas and intestinal worm control. When the kittens are older or heavier, Drontal can also be given for a more complete intestinal worm control.
Brushing and Bathing:
Bathing cats is only for the most daring cat owners with the best protective gear. With a few exceptions, cats hate bathing and chronic stress may even lead to disease such as cystitis.
Cats normally groom themselves and keep themselves in a meticulously clean condition. Brushing your long-haired cats daily should be sufficient.
We do not recommend bathing your cats except for therapeutic reasons or a particularly dirty cat!
If your cat does appear dirty or matted please bring it for a vet check as often cats with medical problems do not groom themselves properly.
Many plants are toxic for pets but lilies are particularly toxic for cats. Please check out the safety of a plant before bringing them into your home.
Lilies are particularly toxic for cat, even the leaves can poison them..
Cats also metabolize drugs differently to human and dogs and should not be given any human medications without veterinary advice. Drugs such as panadol and acetaminophen again are particularly toxic.
Dangerous objects for your cats:
String, sewing threads & needles, and pills/tablets are the most dangerous objects for your cats to swallow. Strings and fabrics can cause gut obstruction and a lot of damage to the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, these objects are not visible on X-rays, making the diagnosis difficult. If you have cats we would advise you to ‘child proof’ your home!
Toxoplasma and pregnancy:
This is preventative care for female owners!
There is a common misconception that you shouldn’t keep a cat if you are pregnant. Fortunately this is wrong.
It is quite possible to be pregnant and give birth to healthy children and keep cats. Dr Tiger, Dr Gail and Dr Mancy all kept their cats when they were pregnant.
All that is required to prevent the possible transmission of toxoplasma from an infected cat to a pregnant owner is common sense and hygiene.
If you are worried or would like further information please talk to our vets and your medical practitioner for details.
Like human, cats only have one set of permanent teeth throughout their life. Home dental care is important to keep your cats’ teeth clean and is best achieved by finger brushing daily.
Dental care dry food such as Hills t/d and Royal Canin Dental dry food are more effective than treats, but finger brushing is still the most effective.
If your cat has tartar and dental disease, we can help by cleaning its teeth under a general anesthetic. Afterward, home dental care can be started again.
Home dental care is very important after dental surgeries, otherwise plaque and tartar will recur within a few months.
It is best to start training your cat when they are just a kitten as they do not understand what we are doing. Gentle handling, lots of praise and a delicious snack afterwards should help!
We have a cats only ward where we have a quiet and secluded environment for cats which need hospitalization.
Our cat ward is at the opposite end of the hospital to the dog ward, so that our cat patients do not have to smell or see any dogs, and the noise is significantly reduced. We understand that a stress-free environment is important for recovery.
In the cat ward, we take special care to provide a diet, litter tray and bedding as similar to the home environment as possible. We provide extra touches such as covered cages, Feliway pheromone diffuser, cat nip spray and toys.
In addition, all of the vets take special care to check our cat patients prior to canine patients in the mornings to avoid offending the cats with dog smells.
Many of the pets we see become overweight as they mature. They have an easy and comfortable life with food available every day and often not enough exercise.
If you feel that your little darling is overweight (or if the vet tells you this!) you are welcome to make an appointment for a ‘Weight Consultation’ with one of our veterinarians.
According to International Body Condition Score the ideal body condition of domesticated dogs or cats is when the animal has a good layer of muscle covering the ribs and back bone, so that the ribs, and the tips of the hips and back bones are palpable but not visible, and with a waist between the ribs and the hips.
All indoor cats should have a small amount of fat in the tummy area between the hind legs, which is not equivalent to a beer belly in humans.
Obesity can lead to many diseases in cats, especially diabetes. If you are worried about your fat cats, come in and talk to us and we will help you. It is very important to diet your fat cat very slowly and gradually.
The vet may also discuss this and recommend a weight loss diet during a health check or consultation and give you advice on the right combination of foodstuff for weight loss for your pet as well as how to encourage exercise.
The vet will set a target weight & a time span to lose this weight over.
Losing weight too fast is not healthy, and as these animals are much smaller than us, we may plan for them to lose a few grams per week.
Once the diet plan has been set we will then be happy to make free “weight monitoring” checks for you to follow up, usually every month or two months, and these will be with one of our British Vet nurses or our Australian trained Vet Assistants.
It can be very rewarding to see a little fattie regaining a slim healthy shape and becoming more active and flexible!
Cats love playing. Cats especially enjoy toys with moving parts and an unpredictable course of movements. Check out the safety of toys such as strings and small parts before purchase.
Cats also love high places to hide in and to watch the world below. A safe hiding place, such as on top of cupboards and wardrobes, or a box, does help to reduce stress in cats, especially in multi-cat households.
Cats need to scratch to sharpen their claws. Some like vertical posts and some like horizontal boards. Cats have preference for different textures. Try different ones and see which one your cats prefer.
Catnips and cat grass are some of the most irresistible scents for cats. Spraying these scents on items such as scratching posts will often entice them to use these areas. This is also useful to reduce stress in multi- cat households
“We don’t own cats, cats own us.”
“Dogs worship their owners, and human worship cats.”
These English sayings precisely describe the human- cat relationship!
Cats are not small dogs. They are loners, not pack animals like dogs. Cats are usually independent. Apart from mating and the rearing of offspring, and cats of the same household, most cats do not like to socialize with other cats. There are some cats who are social butterflies with human and cats alike. But, in general, cats are creatures of habit who want tomorrow to be the same as today.
Often vets receive calls from new cat owners worried about their cat making a strange noise:- this noise is often just the cat purring.
Purring is the vibrating, throaty noises cats make when they are happy. Some cats purr when they see their owners, some cats purr as loud as mini engines, some cats salivate as they purr on their owners’ laps.
Purring is one of the most endearing features of cats but sadly there is no equivalent noun in Chinese.
Scratching and De-clawing:
In some countries owners elect to have their cats de-clawed to prevent them from scratching the furniture. This is a drastic procedure which involves removing part of the last bone of the all the toes, on both front feet.
We do not recommend de-clawing because of the pain and suffering associated with the surgery. In addition, outdoor cats will not be able to defend themselves after declawing.
To prevent any scratching related problems we recommend you to gradually train your kittens to accept nail trimming. Other options include the use of Soft Claws.
The provision of different scratching posts will also help encourage your cat to scratch in an acceptable area instead of your favorite furniture.
Having enough toilets is important to keep your house clean and keep your cats stress levels low.
Ideally, we should provide 1 tray for each cat plus one extra. That is, 2 cats need 3 litter trays, 3 cats need 4 litter trays, so that one litter tray is almost always clean. This is not always easy to achieve in Hong Kong, but for several cats we would always like to have at least 2 trays.
Cats do bully each other in subtle ways and take control over a litter tray!
Keep litter trays clean by scooping out faeces and urine daily. The whole litter tray should be washed weekly. Once your cats are used to a type of litter material, do not change it abruptly.
For very clean and fastidious cats, you may want to consider lining the litter trays with newspaper and putting in only small amounts of litter materials each day AND completely empty and change the litter tray material daily.
Kittens can even be trained to use a human toilet around 8 to 12 weeks of age, please discuss this with your vet and do extensive research before starting!
Urine Off, an enzymatic cleanser, can be used to neutralize urine smells in areas where your cat may have had an accident!
Outings and Play dates:
DO NOT take your cats out to play dates, pet shop tours nor invite other cats to come into your house to play. Most cats do not enjoy entertaining strange cats in their territories i.e. their homes!
Cats are not very social to strange cats when adult, and many cats (older than a year) will not readily accept another strange cat. It is much easier to introduce young kittens to each other, than introducing older cats into a household of adult cats.
In the wild, cats have very large territories. Confining many cats together in small spaces will often lead to stress and fighting. Assess your cats’ personalities before taking new cats home!
In multi-cat households, provision of several litter trays, water and food containers in different areas of the house will help to reduce tension and stress.
Provision of hiding places help to reduce stress in a multi-cat household. These hiding places should be secure, quiet and preferably high, so that cats can watch out of a window. The entrance of these hiding places should not face the same room or direction, so that the cats do not have to glare at each other all day long.
Reducing stress is important because chronic stress will lead to many diseases including cystitis and skin diseases.
If you have a multi-cat household it may also be worth considering running a ‘Feliway’ diffuser in order to help decrease stress in your cats.