14 preventative health care tips for when you get a cat
Deciding it’s time to get a new feline friend is very exciting. But more important than deciding which cat breed to buy or which toys they might like is ensuring you take the appropriate preventive action when getting a cat to ensure they can look forward to a happy, healthy and comfortable life in their new home.
Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:30
Taking preventive action when getting a cat ensures that not only will your new feline friend settle in during the early days, but they can enjoy a safe, comfortable and healthy future in your home.
Here are our top tips for taking preventive action when getting a cat.
1. What do cats need to survive?
Cats are often considered one of the easiest pets to share a home with, but there are some important things they need to not just survive but live a happy life.
- A safe and comfortable place for them to rest undisturbed
- A balanced diet
- Access to veterinary care, including vaccinations and treatment
- Kept away from household chemicals and poisonous plants
- Access to safe hiding places, where they can escape if afraid
- Plenty of activities to do and space to exercise, climb and play
- A clean and safe area to go to the toilet
2. What do I need to know before getting a cat?
Cats can live for up to 20 years, so inviting a cat to come and live with you should never be a decision made on impulse. You should:
- Check whether the cat is up-to-date with their vaccinations
- Finding out whether they’ve been neutered or spayed
- Set aside a feline-friendly room for when they first come home
- Buy a scratching post, litter tray, cat bed and toys
- Finding out what food is best to feed your new cat
- Look into pet insurance
3. How much is cat insurance monthly?
While preventive care can help to keep your cat well, having insurance for your cat can act as a safety net if there are any unexpected vet bills. The average annual cost of insuring a cat in a low-risk area is around £150, according to the Money Advice Service.
4. How to prepare for your new cat’s first few days
Once you’ve decided on which area of the house you will dedicate as your new cat’s ‘safe room’, equip it with a litter tray, bed, food, water, scratch post and some toys. Bring the cat into the room in the carrier and open the door. Don’t try to get the cat out yourself, just let them come out and explore when they are ready. Give them a few hours to adjust and slowly introduce family members one at a time. As they grow in confidence, you can let the cat come out of the room to explore but keep a close eye on them until you are happy to let them roam free.
5. What preventatives do cats need?
Investing in preventive healthcare for your kitty is crucial to ensuring they stay happy and healthy. It should include:
- Fleas and worming treatment
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Dental care
- Routine check-ups at the vet
Preventing disease and illnesses or at least catching it early on is far better for your cat and your bank balance than treating it once it’s been able to progress.
6. Is heartworm prevention necessary for cats?
Heartworm is a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. While not common in the UK, cats that leave the UK or are adopted from overseas are most at risk from heartworm. However, if you aren’t intending to take your cat abroad in the future, there is no risk to them being infected by heartworm and they don’t require heartworm medicine.
7. What is the best heartworm medicine for cats?
Advocate for Cats is a combined flea and worm spot-on application that also kills heartworm.
8. Do indoor cats need flea and heartworm medicine?
Although your cat may never leave the house, fleas can still come in. They can easily hitch a lift on your pet dog, the clothes of visiting cat lovers or when you visit a friend with a cat and there happens to be fleas in the vicinity. It’s best to prevent fleas living on your cat by treating them every month. The same goes for tapeworm and roundworm worming treatment. It’s better to be safe than sorry after all. However, if your cat isn’t planning to leave the country then they can avoid medicine for heartworm.
9. Why does my indoor cat keep getting fleas?
If you are a multi-pet household, then it could be that your dog is acting as convenient transport for fleas and sharing them with the cat. Fleas can also hitch a ride on your clothes or that of cat-owning visitors. There are also likely to be times when your cat has to leave the house to go to the vet. It’s a good idea to start flea treatment as soon as possible.
10. What is the best flea and worm treatment for cats?
- Here are some of the best treatments for flea and worms in cats are:
- Broadline spot-on complete treatment for fleas, ticks, roundworms and tapeworms – once a month
- Stronghold Plus spot-on for fleas, ticks - once a month
- Milbemax for roundworm and tapeworm - every 3 to 6 months
- Seresto collar for fleas and ticks once every 6 months
11. Do I need to vaccinate my cat?
Preventive action when getting a cat should extend to ongoing pet care. This includes vaccinations. Cats need to be vaccinated to protect their health. The three major diseases vaccinated against are cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia. These vaccinations should form part of the routine care of your cat throughout their life.
12. Do indoor cats need to be vaccinated?
While house cats are generally less exposed to diseases, these diseases can survive outside of a cat for some time. When you come in and out of the house, there is a real chance you could bring active and infectious virus particles into the home which could infect your cat. The only way to guarantee your cat is protected from these life-threatening diseases is through vaccination.
13. At what age do you stop vaccinating your cat?
Regardless of your cats’ ages, you will need to ensure all your felines have regular vaccinations throughout their life to keep them healthy and protected from diseases.
14. How much is a vaccination for a cat?
Kittens need their first vaccinations when they are between nine weeks to three months old. These cost around £63, according to moneysupermarket.com. From then onwards, cats need booster vaccinations every 12 months to protect against feline infections, cat flu and feline leukaemia. They cost around £44.
Preventive action when getting a cat
Inviting a cat to come and join your family is a wonderfully exciting time for all the household. Ensuring your new feline can enjoy purrfect health as much as possible, you need to invest time and money into their preventive care to help them stay active and get the most out of life.