Spring 2023 Newsletter

Welcome to our Spring Newsletter. I hope that you will find in it some useful tips, reminders, and suggestions that you may also find helpful.

With the mornings getting lighter earlier and the evenings lengthening I am sure that you will notice that the warmth-loving feline companion who has been sleeping all day in your house, will be looking to go outside more and start exploring the local area again. Although it is far from being warm yet, Spring is usually the lead up to warmer times, so it is best to make sure that your cats’ flea protection is up to date. You don’t want your cat to come back home with any incidental passengers on board!

There is now a plethora of different products designed to keep cats free of fleas, so much so that your local vet is the best placed person to give you the most up to date advice and effective solutions to this problem. See: www.feline-friends.org.uk/fleas/.

Also please ensure your cats are well wormed since a lot of them will be hunting more as the rodent populations increases again. See: www.feline-friends.org.uk/worms-in-cats/.

Has your cat been microchipped? It is not compulsory yet, although that may be coming soon, but it is the most effective way to find your cat should he/she go missing. As a general rule, I am not keen on cat collars because these can sometimes get caught on branches etc and come off, but I have also seen them causing very serious injuries to cats. Having said that they are better than no form of identification at all; and if your cat is a hunter and if the collar has a bell it does give the birds a chance of escaping.

I hope you will have had your cats either spayed or castrated before you let them out but if not, Spring is of course the time for love to blossom. This can unfortunately lead to male cats getting more aggressive and can lead to fights and bite injuries. It is a good idea to get into the habit of giving your cat a quick check over for any sore areas, or blood on their fur. Bites are very difficult to find in the fur and often the only indication is a tender area. If you suspect anything it is best to let your vet have a look as soon as practical before there is any chance of an abscess forming. It may be cheaper in the long run and certainly less painful for your cat. See: www.feline-friends.org.uk/abscesses.

No doubt if you have a garden then you may be starting to think about clearing it ready for this summer. This might lead to the unearthing of bulbs so please be aware that a lot of the garden bulbs are toxic to cats. This is also true of some of the plants themselves such as the lily family. All parts of lily of the valley are toxic and if you bring these into the house as cut flowers and the water they are in is also toxic. There is a very good article at Plants Toxic to Cats | BBC Gardeners World Magazine.

In the spring many of us also start getting to grips with our lawns. The fear of poisons also applies to the various products which you might be going to put on your lawns to improve them – such as selective weed and moss killers, and lawn feed. Don’t forget that cats use their tongues to clean their feet and fur.

It is also a good idea to check your sheds before locking them up – just in case an inquisitive cat has crept inside when you weren’t looking.

With Easter in mind – with its attendant easter eggs – please don’t forget that chocolate is poisonous for cats !!

Lastly, if you are considering a European holiday this year and are someone who cannot, nor will not, put your cat in a cattery or leave him/her at home with a carer, no doubt you will want to take him/her with you.  If you have done this before on an EU Pet Passport which was issued in Great Britain then you need to know that – from the 21st January 2021 – this is no longer valid.

You will need to take advice from your vet well in advance of your proposed travel date.  Her or she will hopefully know which vets local to you are authorised to provide the necessary Animal Health Certifcate.  I recommend that you go to www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad in order to find the way forward, and the up-to-date requirements.

Eric McCarrison BVMS MRCVS Trustee, Feline Friends (Derbyshire)