Welcome to Petplan’s blog, a space where you can read up on the latest pet-news, find out interesting facts and tips about keeping your pets happy and healthy, and share your views on hot topics.
Q: Since we got a new HD-ready TV, our cat Porsche is fascinated with it, and David Attenborough’s wildlife programmes in particular. Why is that?
A: Like us, cats have binocular vision, but their eyes have adapted to enable them to cope with low-intensity light so that they can hunt at dawn and dusk. While they cannot see colour as well as we humans can, cats are stimulated by movement, and I suspect that Porsche is being stimulated by the moving animals she sees on the wildlife programmes.
There are now DVDs specifically for cats that feature a variety of eye-catching movements from insects, birds and mice, providing good stimulation for indoor cats.
Q: My cat is scratching the furniture. Should I tell him off?
A: NO! Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats for which they should not be punished. Temporarily cover your furniture with some plastic sheeting and place a sturdy scratching post in front of the area he has been using.
Q: Our cat is a real fighter and keeps coming into the house with bites and scratches. He tends to clean them himself and isn’t keen for us to look at them. My mum says his saliva can kill bacteria, but I don’t believe it. Is this true?
A: No. A cat’s mouth harbours one of the highest concentrations of bacteria in existence, and is far more likely to cause an infection than to treat one. Of course, pets will groom themselves when injured, but you should always try to clean any wound with warm salty water if you can. If the skin is punctured, you will need to see your vet, as abscesses are a common condition in cats that get involved in local dust-ups.
Q: How do I stop my cat eating my houseplants? I did have a spider plant, but she ate most of that and then acted oddly.
A: Great care must be taken with cats around houseplants, as some – lilies, for example – can be very dangerous to them. Most cats will, from time to time, eat a bit of roughage, and should be provided with a tray of cat grass to nibble on. You can buy seed from garden centres or on the internet, and the grass is quick and easy to grow.
The Feline Advisory Bureau (www.fabcats.org) offers advice on plants that are toxic to cats. As your cat has a habit of eating your houseplants, you should check out what plants you have and remove any potential hazards.
Q: One of my cats, a moggy called Clarence, seems to have a bit of a problem with his ear. I noticed today that one ear is slightly down, and he is reluctant to let me touch it. He is shaking his head on one side as though there is something in it, but he is an indoors-only cat. He is otherwise fine, bright and eating well, so is this something that will clear up on its own?
A: There certainly could be something in your cat’s ear, though infection leading to inflammation and pain could also lead to a feline shaking its head. Cats are generally very hardy creatures and don’t complain much, so if Clarence is clearly distressed, then book him an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.
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