VISITING THE VET
CONTACT THE VET
If your cat shows signs that not all is as it should be, contact your veterinarian. But do not go directly to the vet if it is not an emergency; it’s a good idea to call first and talk with the vet and get their opinion on what should be done. You may be able to wait and make an appointment. If it is a medical emergency, always call the vet from the car if only to verify that the clinic is open. The answering machine at most vets will tell you which nearby veterinarian is currently on duty.
When you call the vet be prepared to answer some basic questions
- The cat’s age, sex and breed.
- General condition. Signs of restlessness, fatigue, drowsiness?
- The airways. Is the cat breathing differently than normal? Is it coughing?
- Skin/fur. Does the cat have itching, sores, redness?
- Appetite. Is the cat eating normally or not all?
- Vomiting. Is the cat vomiting up food and water? Are there worms in the vomit?
- Fluid intake. Is your cat drinking more or less than usual?
- Feces. Have you seen your cat defecate in the last 24 hours? Is it normal, loose, watery or hard? Are there worms in the stool or in the area around the anus? Is there hair in the
- Urine. Has the cat urinated normally, more often than normal or having difficulty urinating? Is there blood in the urine?
- The oral cavity. Does its mouth smell bad or is kitty drooling abnormally?
- Ears. Do the ears itch, or give off dark or smelly secretions?
- Eyes. Are the eyes runny, are there yellowish secretions, red mucous membranes? Is the cat squeezing its eyes or are the eyes shut.
- Body temperature. Does the cat have a normal body temperature or a fever?
- Any medication given to the cat?
BEFORE VISITING THE VET
It’s a good idea to get used to looking in the kitten’s mouth and ears and examining its legs and feet from the very beginning. The first visit to the vet can be a stressful experience for your little kitten, and it is beneficial to get your cat accustomed at home to being handled and examined.
To determine if your cat is sick, it’s necessary to compare it with how it looks and behaves when healthy. For example, if you know what color your cat’s gums are normally, or what it’s mouth smells like typically, or how it’s ears look while healthy, it makes it easier for you to describe to the vet what is abnormal.
When taking the cat to the vet to investigate a serious problem, do not feed the cat on that morning or before leaving. If the vet chooses to anesthetize your cat or give it a sedative, it is best to do this on an empty stomach.
GETTING TO THE VET
Few cats like to be transported, and in addition to the actual car ride, there are many other things that also stress out a cat:
- Being kept inside when it’s used to be outside
- Being caught and put in a travel box
- The car trip itself
- Sitting in the waiting room with other animals and smelling strange odors
- Being handled and examined by the veterinarian
- Being put back into the travel box
- The car trip home
You can help your cat out
You can help your cat better manage the trip so that it arrives at the vet with the least possible stress. Because the travel box is often used only when going to the vet, the cat will associate it with something dreadful. Place the travel box in a cozy place at home for your cat. Cats love caves, so let the travel box be accessible with a nice soft blanket in it and cat toys or treats from time to time. Put the travel box in a quiet place where the cat likes to sleep. Some cats will prefer having the top half of the travel box removed and just sleep in the bottom half; you just have to test to see what it prefers.
When you have to visit the vet, take a blanket or a towel with you to cover the travel box while sitting in the waiting room. Many cats prefer this. Do not put the travel box on the floor, where dogs may sniff their way over to it. It’s best to place the travel box in your lap.
If your cat does not like being put into the travel box after a veterinary visit, select a travel box that you can easily take the lid off of, so that the cat feels less stress when entering the box.
On coming home, do not immediately remove the cat. If the drive has been very stressful, there is the risk that the cat will run off and hide, and you may be adviced to keep an eye on it. You might also need to give it its medicine.
If the cat becomes very uneasy during veterinary visits and transport, one option is to use Zylkène food supplements or spray Feliway in the travel box. Ask the staff at your animal clinic for more advice.
AT THE VET
It is not easy to predict how a cat will behave the first time it visit the vet clinic. If your cat has visited before, you should tell the clinic staff whether it tends to be nervous.
It is a great help to accustom the cat to be handled and examined at home, so that it does not associate it with anything negative. Remember to tell them everything you can remember about the cat’s symptoms, and any medicine it is taking. As these can sometimes be hard to remember while standing in the examination room, it may be a good idea to have written notes.
ID CHIPS ETC
It is not legally required to ID-chip or tattoo cats in Denmark, as is the case with dogs. However, it is a great idea to get have the cat’s ear ID-tattooed or have a microchip implanted. Information about cat and owner can be registered at two registries:
If your cat has a microchip or tattoo, it’s much easier for the cat to be returned to you following an injury and someone taking it to the vet.
Ear tattoos and microchips
In principle, there are two identification methods for cats—ear tattoos and microchips. There are advantages and disadvantages with each. Ear tattoos are visible to everyone, so if the cat has wandered away from home or as had an accident, there is no doubt that the cat has an owner. The cat must be anesthetized to get its ear tattoo, and this is usually done in connection with castration and sterilization of the cat. On the other hand, a microchip is placed under the skin with a needle, and this does not require anesthesia. The disadvantage of a microchip is that it is not as visible as an ear tattoo. If the cat has an accident or gets in a fight with another cat, it is not immediately clear that the cat has an owner. If you take the cat abroad, it must have a microchip. It is also possible to have both and ear tattoo and a microchip. Ask your veterinarian for advice.
Neutering is a generalized term for castration of male cats and sterilization of female cats.
Cats become sexually mature already around a half a year old . A sexually mature male cat will begin to spray-mark his territory, and his urine has a pungent smell. He roams around to patrol his territory and easily gets into fights with other cats. The sexually mature female will come into heat at short intervals and with much meowing, and she can have several litters of kittens per year. The responsible cat owner gets his cats neutered to avoid contributing to the problem of the stray, ownerless cats.
It is also possible to give female cats birth-control pills. Discuss the pros and cons with the staff at your animal clinic.
Consider getting ear tattoos or a microchip while it is still anesthetized in connection with neutering.
Take out an insurance policy on your kitten
You are not legally required to ensure your cat. However, it’s a very good idea to have health insurance in the unhappy event that your cat gets in an accident. Unexpected veterinary bills add up quickly, and a health insurance can be of great help on that unlucky day when your cat is injured or becomes seriously ill. As we all know, love cannot and must not be measured in money.
The right insurance for your kitten
Several insurance companies offer health insurance for cats on slightly different terms, so it may be a good idea to compare them to suit your needs.