Tag Archives: Kitten

WOULD YOU LIKE TO FOSTER?

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We are always looking for new fosterers so that we can help more cats and kittens. Anyone can apply to be a foster carer after which a volunteer will come round and give a quick homecheck and chat about what is involved, the pros and cons etc. Hopefully you will still want to help and we can find a cat that is suitable. Several of our volunteers have just started by trying out with providing holiday or emergency cover. We are looking for people in all situations with or without children or other pets who will treat the cat as part of the family, vet bills are covered by rescue all you have to provide is love, food and cat litter. It is a requirement that all cats in foster are kept indoors throughout their stay.  If you are interested please email in to the rescue, look at the fostering page on this website or join the facebook page and have a look at what the fosterers do.

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Early Neutering- Is It Safe?

Today’s blog was written by our very own Jo Woodnutt. Jo fosters for us, but is also a final year vet student with an interest in feline health and shelter medicine.

 

Lina’s Cat Rescue operates a strict neutering policy and we neuter all cats that come into our care. Thanks to the vets at Saint Leonards, our kittens can now be neutered before they leave us to their new homes… which means there’s much less chance of owners taking them and then not bringing them back to be neutered!

Traditionally, the recommended neutering age for cats has been 6 months. Recently, this has been decreased to 4 months or less, due to the fact that many cats were reaching puberty and becoming pregnant at 4-5 months.

‘Early’ neutering describes the neutering of kittens before they become sexually mature. This generally means neutering at 4 months of age or less. Many vets will neuter any kitten that has reached 1kg, generally at 9-10 weeks. Currently only 4% of owners neuter at this age.

What are the risks?

All neutering carries a risk, as with any surgery. However, in a young and healthy cat this risk is very slight.

Some people are concerned that kittens aged less than 4 months are ‘too young’ to survive surgery, but in fact they make excellent surgical candidates. Because they have not reached puberty, their reproductive organs are very small and poorly vascularised- this means they will bleed less during the surgery, making it quicker and safer. In addition, they often recover faster from the anaesthetic and you can find them bouncing around with their littermates as usual soon after they recover.

Because they are smaller, kittens that are neutered young are more likely to get cold during surgery, but vets overcome this by providing them with hot water bottles and keeping the surgery as quick as possible.

When early neutering was first proposed there were worries that it would result in a reduced immune system and the cats would take longer to reach skeletal maturity. However, several studies suggest that this is not the case, and there are no risks that early neutering will cause any problems in this regard.

What are the benefits?

Obviously, all of the usual benefits of traditional-age neutering- no unwanted pregnancies, no pyometras, no uterine cancers- are the same with early neutering. However, early neutering has been found to provide many extra benefits.

Cats that are neutered before 6 months of age have a 91% reduction in the risk of mammary cancers. Since these are often malignant in cats, this is an excellent benefit. One study found that cats neutered before puberty were also less likely to suffer with asthma or gingivitis than those neutered at a normal age.

Neutering at any age reduces the incidence of undesirable behaviours such as spraying, but this is much more effective if the cat has not ‘learnt’ this behaviour- so neutering at an early age drastically reduces these problems. Other hormonal behaviours- such as fighting and roaming- are also reduced.

 

Want to know more?

The following papers give more information about early-age neutering.

  • Help stop teenage pregnancy! Early-age neutering in cats by Joyce A, Yates D. Can be found here
  • A quick fact sheet from the American Association of Feline Practitioners is here (opens as PDF)
  • Long-term outcome of gonadectomy performed at an early age or traditional age in cats by Howe et al. Can be found here
  • The Cat Group statement has loads of succinct information about the pros and cons and can be found here.
  • This is an article from a veterinary magazine. It is aimed at vets and has some rather graphic photos of some of the things that can go wrong in labour… and in comparison, how easy it is to neuter early.

Want to get your cat neutered ‘early’?

  • Phone your vets and talk to them. Many vets now offer this service, or are open to persuasion.
  • Go to the Cat’s Protection Kitten Neutering Database (KiND) which helps you locate the nearest vets that neuter from 4 months of age.

The Best Nutrition for your Kitten

Today’s blog is written by Heather Martin. Heather is a preliminary veterinary student at Nottingham University. She is very interested in feline medicine and has fostered cats for Cat’s Protection for many years. She has 3 cats of her own- all of whom are rescues!

So you’ve just brought home your adorable new kitten and are unsure of what nutrition this cute little ball of fluff needs?

Kittens have a lot of growing to do and they do this very quickly! By 6 months your kitten would have reached 75% of its total body mass, and this is why feeding them a nutritionally rich kitten food is important.

What do I look for in a good kitten food?

Any ‘complete’ kitten food contains all the necessary nutrients for them to grow up big and strong. Protein is one of the most important nutrients because it is the building block of the body, and kitten food contains high levels of this. The higher the level of protein, the better, but good kitten foods also contain high levels of essential minerals to help build strong bones and teeth.

What type of food should I feed kitten?

There are many types of kitten food on the market for you to choose from, from pouches, foiled trays and tinned food to dry boxes and bags. It is completely down to your and your kitten’s preference.

How many meals a day should she or he be getting?
Although kittens may only be small and have small stomachs they have a surprisingly large appetite! This means it is best to feed them small amounts of food on a frequent basis. Your kitten should be on 4 meals a day after she has been weaned, as this provides a steady source of energy. As she gets older decrease your kitten’s meals to 3 meals per day and by the time she is 6 months old your kitten should only be on 2 meals a day.

Dos and don’ts when feeding your kitten:

Do:

  • Store food correctly
    Open wet kitten food should be kept in the fridge to keep it fresh, but ensure it is brought to room temperature before serving as it will smell and taste more appealing to your kitten. As opened wet food can go stale very quickly it is important not to leave it out for too long, it is important not to keep open wet food for any longer than 24 hours even when refrigerated.
    Store dry food in a clean, dry environment. Airtight containers are good for sealing in the aroma of the food to make it more appealing to your kitten and they are easy to clean! Keep to feeding dry food dry, as cats prefer to crunch on their dry food. Crunchy dry food is also good for helping to keep their teeth clean.
  • Create a suitable routine
    Cats do like habit, so try and feed your kitten at the same place and time every day.
  • Set up a suitable location
    It is best to feed your kitten in a quiet area of your home. Set up the food bowls on a surface which can be easily cleaned, like a mat or tiled floor. If you have more than one cat, set up their food bowls far apart to avoid confrontation or bullying.
  • Time for rest
    Once your kitten has eaten or used the litter tray, leave your kitten to rest for an hour or so to allow them to digest before playing.
  • Change their foods slowly
    A cat’s digestive system is very sensitive and can be easily upset when changing types of food, whether it’s from canned to dry or between different brands. If you do change their diet, it is best to introduce the new food slowly and gradually increase the amount of new food over a period of at least 5 days, to allow them to adjust. But it is not unusual for there to be a tummy upset in the beginning. (We will talk about this later in this article).

Don’t:

  • Feed dangerous foods
    Don’t feed your kitten ‘kitten milk’. Even though it says it is made for kittens it can actually give them digestive upsets. Some human foods and household items are toxic to cats. These include chocolate, grapes and onions. Plants can also be extremely toxic to cats; don’t let them chew on the leaves of Poinsettia or the spadix (yellow part) of Lilies. Antifreeze, slug pellets, rodenticides… the list goes on and on! It is also important not to feed cats bones from meat as these can splinter or get stuck in their throat, or even pierce through the walls of the stomach and intestines.
  • Mix pet foods: Cat food is for cats and dog food is for dogs
    Do not feed dog food to your cat! If they get in and eat a little bit they won’t die, but there’s a reason they’re different. Cat food is specially made to meet your cat’s nutritional needs and contains specific vitamins and minerals your dog doesn’t need.
  • Over feeding
    Only feed your kitten the given amount, which is clearly stated on the back of cat food boxes and packets. Use a measuring cup with dry food to ensure the right amount is served on a daily basis. By feeding your cat to the guidelines you will avoid obesity and other related health problems.
  • No table scraps
    Do not feed your kitten table scraps. Human food is rich, high in calories and does not contain your feline’s necessary nutrients. You also risk overfeeding, upsetting the balance of your kittens diet and causing digestive upsets.

What should I do if my kitten has an upset stomach?
Lots of cats suffer from vomiting and diahorrea from time to time, but here I will tell you some causes and top tips of what to do with your cat.

Most of the time stomach upsets are caused from things like: over eating, eating the wrong kind of food or eating something they have had a reaction to. With the right help your cat will be able to get over a stomach upset relatively quickly. If your cat has a prolonged problem, it might help to keep a diary of when your cat first started having problems, the signs that have been shown and what they have eaten in the days leading up to the upset.
Top Tips:
– If your cat is suffering with vomiting or diarrhoea, then remove all access to food and only allow sips of water for 24 hours.
– If your cat seems unwell and not herself and continues to vomit or has blood in the vomit or diahorrea, contact your vet.
– If the vomiting and diahorrea begins to settle after 24hours then only feed small amounts of bland food such as plain boiled chicken or white fish. Continue to feed the plain diet for a maximum of 5 days.
– Once their digestive system has settled begin to add your cat’s normal food slowly, and gradually increase the amount of food over the next 7 days.

More Homes Needed as ‘Kitten Season’ gets Underway

The sharp rise in the number of kittens this time of year is known as ‘kitten season’, and is the busiest of the year for Lina’s.

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Although the post-Christmas rush emptied many of our foster homes, they’re quickly filling back up again with mums and kittens found on the street. All are cold, miserable, and would not have survived without Lina’s stepping in to help them.

We desperately need more foster homes to take in these new cats and kittens, and ask that anybody who can find a temporary space for a little one gets in touch with us.

We’re also hoping that many of our kittens get adopted quickly so that we can take in even more. Please take a look at our ‘Adopt a Cat or Kitten’ page for more information

And if anybody can help in any way, no matter how small, we ask you to make a donation through Paypal (linascatrescue@gmail.com). Almost all of the £20,000 we raised last year was spent on veterinary treatment for ill and injured cats coming into our care. You can also give donations of food or equipment so that we can fit out our foster homes and get these little ones inside as quickly as possible.

This is the busiest time of year for us and we are very grateful for anything that we receive.

 

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!

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.