Tag Archives: help

What to do if you think your cat is missing

It’s every cat owner’s worst nightmare. You let Felix out in the morning, and he doesn’t come home as usual in the evening. Or perhaps you realise too late that you left the window open and Badger has disappeared. Your imagination begins to run away with you and you envisage him trapped in a garage, lost in the next village, or -worst of all- in an accident.

But a little bit of knowledge will hopefully help you put these terrifying hours to good use. Instead of sitting worrying about what to do, follow these simple instructions to ensure that people are on the look out and you have the best chance of getting Kitty back.

Hints and Tips

1. It sounds stupid, but make sure your cat is actually missing. Check all the usual hiding places, and anywhere else you can think of. Try calling your cat and shaking a treat pack or tapping a food tin- anything you can think of to get them to come running.

2. Hopefully you got your cat microchipped. Phone your microchip provider and report him missing- this means he will get flagged up on their website and will be returned more quickly if he is found.

3. Report your missing cat on www.cataware.co.uk. Find a photo of your cat and post with details on the Petlog facebook page and any local rescue centres or lost and found pages- including us! There are many Facebook pages for missing cats, find a few that are local to your area and post there. You can also try Tweeting- many rescues local to you will retweet a lost cat post. Make sure you add as much information as possible- see the next tip for a template!

4. Call your local vets and rescue centres with a GOOD description of the cat. ‘Male tabby’ is not good enough as vets see these every day. If possible, give them the following information:

  • Name of cat
  • Age of cat
  • Gender and whether neutered
  • Colour- be descriptive! ‘Black and white’ isn’t as good as ‘mostly black with white feet, longhaired’
  • Whether she/he has a chip
  • Whether she/he was wearing a collar
  • Any distinguishing features (especially if not chipped!)- nicks in ears, eye colour etc

5. Walk door-to-door and talk to your neighbours. Ask them to check their garages and conservatories, or any other place your cat might have sheltered and got locked in. Don’t forget to take a photo so that they’ll recognise your cat if they see them. Leave them your phone number so that they can contact you if he’s found. It’s a good idea to take leaflets with you- sometimes people let in a cat they think is a stray and let it out again once they realise it has a home!

5. Chat to the local postman- remember he covers a large area, often on foot, and so may have spotted your cat around. Even if they can give you a rough idea of where your cat is it will help you to focus your search.

6. You could also produce posters and distribute them in local stores, post offices and houses. There are templates available for this online.

 

Most of all, remember not to give up hope. Cats are known to come back after months or even years of going missing, totally unharmed!

Good luck!

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Introducing A New Cat- Hints and Tips!

So you’ve picked up that new cat or kitten, and you can’t wait to get it home and introduce it to everybody- including his feline family! Not so fast! Introducing a new pet can be tricky and making sure all involved are comfrotable is the first step to making sure you have a happy home.

So what do I do when I first bring him or her home?

  • Choose a quiet room for your cat. If you have other pets, they should not have access to this room. Ensure there are some hiding places to help your cat feel comfortable. The cat’s food and litter should go in here as well.
  • If the house has outdoor access (i.e open windows, a cat flap) or other pets in the house, you should confine the cat to the room for at least a week to help them get used to the new smells, sights, and you! Don’t isolate them though- make sure you go in and spend time with your cat so that they feel comfortable around you!
  • Once you have released your cat from his carrier, you should leave them alone to become accustomed to the space. If you have no other pets and there is no outside access, you can leave the door to the room open and allow your cat to explore at his own pace. Don’t pester the cat- just let him approach you.

Letting your new cat go outside

  • Firstly, never let your cat go outside until you are confident they understand who is feeding them. Cats may run away and try to get back to what they think of as ‘home’ if let out too quickly. We usually suggest 2 weeks is enough time, but if your cat is still very timid, leave them indoors for longer! During this time, train them to come when called by giving them treats when they respond.
  • Let them out on a dry day just before a mealtime- they won’t go too far if they know dinner’s not far off! Leave them for around an hour, then call them in for dinner. Shut them in for the night.
  • Repeat this routine for a few days, then start gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside.

Introducing your new cat to another pet

  • Try to allow your new cat and other pets to smell one another without meeting face to face. The best way to do this is to feed them either side of the same door, so that they associate a good thing (food) with the scent. You may also swap blankets from your pets to allow them to get used to one another’s scents, and ensure that you spend time with all of them so that they can smell one another on you.
  • After about a week, when your cat is comfortable with you and the smell of your other pets, you should allow your cat to explore the rest of the house. Confine your other pets so that they can do this in peace. They’ll have time to identify hidey-holes and smell areas that the other pets have marked as their own, so that they know where they can and can’t go.
  • Let your pets meet in a controlled manner. First, ensure your cat has an ‘escape route’ to his room, as well as a high shelf or a cardboard box ‘den’. If you have a dog, put it on a lead and ask him to lie down. Then allow your cat to approach at his own pace. If you have other cats, let them approach at their own pace, ensuring that there are enough ‘hiding places’ to allow them to all escape if scared.
  • If at any point the interaction begins to become aggressive, separate the animals. Do not put yourself in danger by directly separating the animals- instead throw something soft, make a loud noise, or squirt them with a bottle of water. If these situations are allowed to develop, it becomes a cycle of fear and aggression, and will not resolve. Allow the animals to calm down and start again from the beginning, moving more slowly through the steps this time.

Of course, these steps aren’t foolproof and it’s always a difficult time for any cat, but most will get used to new things given time. Getting a plug in ‘Feliway’ can help keep everybody calm, and is available at most vets and many pharmacies.

FIV+ Cats- Debunking the Myth

Written by: Helen McCallum
Helen is a third year veterinary student at the University of Nottingham. She has an interest in feline medicine, has recently completed a dissertation on FIV in cats, and would like to go into small animal practice when she graduates.


 

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a virus which infects domestic cats worldwide. A cat that is infected is FIV positive (FIV+), and non-infected cats are FIV negative. Unfortunately, FIV positive cats can be overlooked at adoption centres, or are put to sleep unnecessarily because of health concerns or a lack of people looking to take them on. Lina’s is proud that we accept FIV+ cats… but what does that mean for you?

How is the virus spread from cat to cat?
The virus is spread by biting. Generally, FIV is regarded as a virus of fighting cats, with stray and male cats having a greater risk of contracting the virus.


What happens after a cat is infected?
It’s difficult to determine exactly what happens as FIV can cause an array of conditions, which may affect many parts of the body. The majority of the disease course has no symptoms, lasting a long time (often the majority of the cat’s life). Overall, the virus causes immunosuppression, so infected cats are more likely to suffer recurrent health problems, especially later in life.

When the terminal stage is reached clinical disease is seen, which may include dental disease, skin conditions, cancer, neurological disease, renal disease, gastrointestinal disorders, upper respiratory tract and urinary infections. However, as can be seen from this list, these could be experienced by any cat, FIV+ or not!  A cat can’t be cured of the virus – it is there in the body for a lifetime.
How do I know a cat is infected?
A SNAP test carried out by a vet will be able to tell you if a cat is infected or not. These SNAP tests often test for Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) as well, which is not to be confused with FIV. Vets will often test stray, male cats they may come across, as these are at higher risk of being positive.


How long do FIV+ cats live for?
No one can predict the lifespan of an FIV+ cat, just in the same way that no one can predict the lifespan of a healthy cat. However, studies have found that FIV infection does not adversely affect lifespan when compared to FIV negative cats. This means FIV cats can live to similar ages to non-infected cats.

 

So what do I have to do with my FIV+ cat?
Health Monitoring
Health monitoring is important as FIV+ cats are more likely suffer recurrent health problems. Taking them to the vet at the first sign of anything out of the normal is crucial. A vet may prescribe medication for any conditions the cat is suffering, or carry out any procedures that are required, like dentals in the case of dental disease.
Practicalities of Keeping FIV+ Cats
FIV+ cats should be kept indoors to stop them spreading the virus to outdoor cats through biting. This will also keep them safe from anything which could infect them, such as parasites they could pick up from hunting, or indeed viruses they may contract from other cats. Some say that FIV+ cats should be kept as a single cat or segregated from any other cats in the same household, to prevent the virus spreading. However, as the virus spreads via bites, some say that FIV+ and negative cats can mix in a household as long as they get on and do not fight. However, bear in mind that FIV+ cats should be isolated if an infection is present amongst any other household cats. This is because an infection could pass to the FIV+ cat, causing further complications.

So having an FIV+ cat is not the end of the world- in fact, people often don’t even know they’ve got an FIV+ cat! This disease usually only causes problems towards the end of a cat’s life- when all cats become more likely to get diseases! FIV+ cats make fantastic pets, just like any other cat, so please don’t pass over them!

 

Lina’s accept FIV+ cats, and do an FIV/FeLV check when we first get an at-risk cat brought in. We will declare whether a cat is FIV+ on enquiry or during your home visit.