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How to keep your indoor cat happy

A common misconception with pet owners is that cats are low maintenance and anti-social – this could not be further from the truth! They may have a different way of expressing their needs to their canine counterparts but cats thrive on social interaction.

These days more and more people are choosing to keep their cats indoor to protect them from fighting, decrease risk of injury and getting hit by a car, and to protect them from infectious disease such as FIV. There is nothing wrong with keeping your cat indoors, especially if you live in a high traffic area- however, the challenge of doing such is to ensure they receive the environmental stimulation they need to avoid getting bored.

Cats have a need to exhibit hunting behaviour- to play and to explore. When necessary they should also be able to find a place where they can retreat and hide.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you keep your indoor cat stimulated:

Play time:

Cat owners should dedicate time daily to play with their cats. A variety of toys are needed, with different textures, colours and shapes. Using different toys each time you play can also help motivate your cat. This is a great way to get your furry friend using their natural instincts in a safe environment!

You can also encourage movement by installing climbing shelves to give your cat the option to get up high and survey their domain 🙂 There is a Facebook group dedicated to people sharing their DIY indoor cat projects if you need some inspiration

Scratching:

Who could forget a scratching post? This is a necessity for all cats, especially indoor cats. Scratching is a natural instinct for our furry friends and it is very important that your cat can do this regularly. This also protects your carpets and furniture from any possible damage. You can use catnip spray on these areas to encourage use.

Hunting:

The feline desire to hunt is natural and instinctive. Regardless of how much food you feed them, your cat will always have a hunting instinct. If something moves rapidly or squeaks with a high pitch noise, this will trigger a reaction. You can purchase toys that imitate real prey through size, texture, colour and sound. This helps to fulfil the social and natural needs that are essential to our furry family members.

Make food time fun:

While cats do not find any benefit in specific meal times, fun puzzle feeders or feeder toys can be a great way to keep portion sizes in control and promote their natural scavenging behaviour. It is beneficial to make your cat work for their food through these toys or by scattering food bowls around the house for them to find.

Getting some fresh air:

For the owners who like to offer their cat some time outside, there are the lead and harness options. However, it can be difficult for cats to enjoy or learn to walk on a lead. It is best to introduce this type of walking early on when they are kittens so that they can get used to this approach. You can also purchase outdoor cat enclosures, ideally a pen, that keeps them outdoors and safe. Remember that if your cat is having outdoor access even if on a lead, it is important to stay up to date with flea and worming preventatives.

 

These are only some of the ways you can keep your furry family member active and happy whilst staying indoors. If you notice a change in your cat or they are struggling with the transition from outdoors to being inside, please contact us. We can provide behavioural assistance and advice to help your cat enjoy life indoors.

Introducing Anti-Anxiety Packages for your Cats and Dogs!

After working-from-home for the past few months it can be a stressful transition for your pets having to deal with you returning to work.

We have come up with our very own Anti Anxiety Pet Packages to help your pet through this change.

What do these Anti-Anxiety Packages include?

For Dogs:

  • An Adaptil Collar suited to your dogs size
  • A dose of pre-consult anxiety medications tailored to your dog’s needs
  • A course of 3 x Canine Massage Therapy sessions with our trained Nurse Jessica
  • A behaviour consult with one of our vets
  • An Adaptil bandana (you can spray this with Adaptil and tie it around your dog’s collar so they can smell the anxiety-relieving pheromones)
  • A Frank Green Keep Cup for yourself! (limited stock)
  • A package of yummy dog treats

For Cats:

  • A Feliway spray bottle or diffuser refill if you already have the plug-in at home
  • A dose of pre-consult anxiety medications tailored to your cat’s needs
  • A weekend of boarding at our clinic (including feliway)
  • A behaviour consult with one of our vets
  • A Feliway blanket to bring to consults over your cat’s carrier
  • A Frank Green Keep Cup for yourself! (limited stock)
  • A package of yummy cat treats

To celebrate the launch of these packages we are currently running a competition through Instagram or Facebook to give away 3 x Free Anti-Anxiety Packages to three lucky winners!

How do I enter?

If you have an Instagram account make sure to follow us and post a photo of your pet ‘working from home’ with the hashtag
#SHVVrelax and a short 50 word explanation of how your pet would benefit from one of our anti-anxiety packages.

If you do not have an Instagram account then just message our Facebook page with your entry.

We will be posting our own staff’s pets working from home regularly to give you inspiration.

Deadline for entries is Sunday the 19th of July 2020 so get snapping 🙂

 

 

Update on Covid-19 and Pets

At Summer Hill Village Vet we are constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation with respect to our pets and to keep you accurately informed.

Our information is primarily sourced from:

  • World Health Organisation,
  • Australian Government Department of Health,
  • NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board and
  • Australian Veterinary Association.

To date there have been NO CASES of transmission of virus from animals to humans.

WHO reports that the primary source of SARS-COV-2 transmission remains human-to-human contact.

This does not mean however that the virus cannot be found living on animals.

There have been a few cases of humans transmitting the virus to an animal: it has been reported in a dog, in cats, in ferrets and even a tiger!


What does that mean for us as pet owners?

It means we need take some common-sense precautions which we have summarised below:

  1. Keep your pets in your “isolation bubble” to prevent other people from transferring the virus on to their bodies.

Avoid letting other people pat your dog in public.

We want to prevent your pets from acting the same as any other surface you might touch in public.

Don’t panic if someone does touch your dog for some reason…you can always just give them a bath (soap kills coronavirus).

You will see us maintaining the integrity of your “bubble” in the clinic by using masks, hand washing, alcohol based hand rubs and sometimes gloves.

  1. Contact your vet if you are diagnosed with coronavirus and we will advise you on the current recommendations for your pet.

At this point we would advise you to keep your pet isolated in your home, and minimise close contact (such as smooching with your face, etc).

We recommend good hand hygiene before and after handling your pet and their food/water bowls.

If there are non-infected members of the household it would be better if they looked after the pet.

We would also advise you to make a care plan for your pet in the unfortunate event that you are hospitalised.


Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you may have.

If you have a specific situation you would like to discuss please reach out by calling

02 9797 2555 or email us contact@summerhillvillagevet.com.

We are happy to provide more detailed information on any topic if needed.

Emergency boarding is available for cats if required.

We have protocols and procedures in place for dealing with folks who are self-isolating because they are at risk, as well as for folks who are unfortunate enough to become infected with coronavirus.

Always call us first and we will advise on best way forward to treat your pet under your individual circumstances.

Is your pet holiday ready?

Preparing for the holidays can be stressful- to help make things easier for you Dr Lydia has put together a checklist to ensure you don’t need to have that last minute emergency visit to the vet!

Print a copy of the checklist below and take some time to go through it – if you notice there are some things you aren’t sure about please feel free to call us on 9797 2555 so we can make sure you and your pet have a fun and safe holiday!

Pet Holiday Checklist 

Help! I found a stray kitten

Almost everyday we get phone calls from people who have found themselves in possession of a little stray kitten – or sometimes even a litter of stray kittens!

Unfortunately due to the number of stray cat colonies around Sydney there is always an abundance of homeless kittens. Despite the good intentions of the community to Trap-N-Release (TNR), this problem will not disappear anytime soon.

As such, we have made a guide to ensure the best outcome for the kittens.

Stray kitten(s) with a mother

McShooty and Stevie were our ex-adoption kittens. They were strays who had a feral mother who is part of a community TnR & feeding program.

If you have encountered stray kittens that are still being attended to by their mother please make sure NOT to separate them! You should contact any reputable rescue group to organise a TNR. This allows the mother cat and her kittens to be taken off the streets for appropriate treatment. For the mother cat that usually means being desexed to prevent future stray litters. Depending on the nature of the cat and her kittens it is most likely the rescue group will attempt to re-home them however if the mother is extremely aggressive and hence unable to rehome then she will most likely be released back to where she is found once she is desexed and treated for any existing medical conditions.

Stray kitten(s) without any signs of a mother

Kittens that are alone are not necessarily without their mother- sometimes they can appear to be abandoned but in reality their mother is out gathering food or in the process of relocating her litter. To avoid making the mistake of separating a kitten from their mum, try to stick around (out of sight to avoid frightening them) and observe for a while to see if the mother does return.

If this is a case of no mother cat being present then you should aim to safely trap the stray kittens and bring them to their nearest vet*, the vet protocol from here on is to scan the kittens in case they have any microchips (if they are chipped then they would most likely have a home and are probably lost).

If the kittens are not microchipped and are clearly not a missing pet then it is up to the vet on what needs to be done next.

A litter of 3 ex-adoption kittens (Chandler, Ross and Joey) we had taken on from another clinic to rehome.

Vet clinics are not rescue groups, hence are not always able to hold-onto and rehome stray animals- this is because most smaller clinics only have the capacity and resources for hospital patients. Sometimes however, and this is the case for our clinic- the vet will have the availability to rehome the stray kittens in which case they will take them off your hands and handle all treatment and later adoption.

If the vet advises you that they are unable to keep the kittens you’re next best options are to either:

a) contact reputable rescue groups (there is a list of them and their contact details at the end of this post).

b) foster the kittens yourself and handle the rehoming (if you do decide to foster/keep the kittens you can read our Kitten Care handout for information on owning and caring for kittens) – if you do end up fostering the kittens you can talk to our staff about receiving discount rescue rates for all their treatment (that is only if you are not intending to keep them as your own pet and are definitely adopting them out)

c) contact other nearby vets- just because one vet does not have the space, that does not mean other clinics do not. We have previously taken on stray litters from other clinics who were unable to.

List of Cat Rescue Groups in Sydney: