Top Tips from Richard on Summer BBQ Pet Safety

Ah, the sizzle of sausages, the aroma of burgers on the grill… there’s nothing quite like a summer barbecue with friends and family. But while we humans may be drooling over the delicious delights cooking up, let’s not forget about our furry friends who are eager to join in on the fun. To ensure a paw-some barbecue experience for everyone, here are some top tips from our Vet, Richard Black at Rouken Glen Vets, to keep your pets safe and happy around the grill.

And just in case you need it, here is the emergency number for our vets in Giffnock – 0141 620 2580.

See our contact and emergency information

How to Grill & Chill this Summer

If you know your pets will be into everything, it may be wise to keep them indoors, but if your pets can handle your ‘BBQ rules’, here’s Richard’s tips for how to Grill & Chill:

  1. Create a ‘Safe Zone’: First things first, Richard recommends establishing a designated ‘pet zone’ away from the grill and cooking area. Set up a shady spot with water bowls and comfy bedding where pets can stay cool while you flip the burgers. Portable pet pens are handy for this.
  2. Keep an Eye on Pets: Naturally, the sight & smell of food cooking on the grill will tempt pets to investigate. To prevent them from getting too close to the grill or attempting to steal barbecue food, keep a close eye on them or put someone on ‘grill guard duty’ to steer roaming pets away to safety.
  3. Beware of Hot Surfaces: Grills can reach scorching temperatures that pose a burn risk to curious noses and paws, long after cooking has finished. Richard suggests using a grill cover or barrier to prevent pets from accessing the grill area altogether to avoid accidental burns, and have a plan for hot ash afterwards – see our emergency information.
  4. Pet-safe Barbecue Foods: While it’s tempting to share your barbecue feast with your furry pals, not all barbecue foods are safe for pets. Avoid giving them toxic or harmful foods like onions, garlic, grapes, chocolate, chicken bones, corn on the cob, and foods high in salt, spices, fatty juices, or sugar. Stick to pet-safe treats like plain grilled chicken or lean meat without seasoning. Consider grilling apple, mango, or cucumber for a tasty BBQ treat, if your pet can eat them.
  5. Watch Out for Falling Food: Accidents happen, and tasty treats may accidentally fall onto the ground. Picking up dropped food instantly will prevent pets from eating it; some items may pose a choking hazard or cause gastrointestinal upset.
  6. Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of water during the barbecue festivities for pets to drink. If they seem unwell, call our vets in Giffnock on 0141 620 2580.
  7. Have a Plan for Leftovers: Clearing up thoroughly straight after a BBQ is vital when you have pets. Disposing of barbecue leftovers and scraps promptly and securely will prevent dogs and cats from scavenging through the rubbish. Leftover bones, skewers, and other barbecue remnants can pose choking or gastrointestinal hazards if ingested by pets.

With these grill-tastic tips in mind, you and your furry friends can enjoy a safe and enjoyable barbecue season together in East Renfrewshire. Plus, you’ll be helping to keep wildlife safe too! So, fire up the grill, gather your friends and family, and let the summer celebrations begin!

And remember, call 0141 620 2580 in an emergency.

See our contact and emergency information

Five tried and tested ways to give a cat a tablet

If you’re wondering how to give your cat a tablet without getting scratched to pieces, you’ve come to the right place. Rouken Glen Vets’ experienced nurses are the perfect people to help you with this!

If, after reading our article, you have further questions or are not feeling confident in giving your cat a tablet at home, talk to our veterinary nursing team in Giffnock who will be happy to help.

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How to give your cat a tablet

Administering medication to your feline companion doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a variety of methods available, you can find the approach that works best for you and your cat. Here are five effective ways, tried and tested by our Giffnock veterinary nurses, to give a cat a tablet:

  1. Direct Administration: This involves placing the tablet directly at the back of your cat’s tongue. Hold the tablet between your thumb and index finger, tilt your cat’s head slightly upwards, and place the tablet deep into their mouth. Follow up with a gentle massage of the throat to encourage swallowing. This method won’t be right for all cats and you may need a second person to hold your cat. If you think this will be too distressing for your cat and you are at risk of being scratched or bitten, our nurses advice for Giffnock cat owners, is to try one of the methods below instead.
  2. Crush & Mix: For cats who are finicky about taking tablets, crushing the medication and mixing it with their food can be a viable option. Ask our team whether your cat’s medication is safe to crush, as some tablets are formulated for extended release and should not be altered. Mix the crushed tablet thoroughly with a small amount of their favourite wet food to mask any bitterness.
  3. Hide in Treats or Food: Another effective method is hiding the tablet in a high-value treat or food item. Choose a treat that your cat loves and carefully conceal the tablet inside. For example, you can use a small piece of cooked chicken or a dollop of tuna. Be sure to monitor your cat to ensure they consume the entire treat, including the hidden tablet.
  4. Pill Pockets: Pill pockets are specially designed treats with a hollow centre where you can insert the tablet. These treats are available in various flavours and textures, making them an appealing option for many cats. Simply place the tablet inside the pill pocket, pinch the ends to seal it shut, and offer it to your cat as a tasty snack.
  5. Liquid Medication: If your cat is particularly resistant to taking tablets, you can ask your vet if the medication is available in liquid form. Liquid medication can be easier to administer, especially for cats who are skilled at spitting out tablets. If liquid medication is available, our Giffnock veterinary team can provide you with a syringe or dropper to accurately measure and administer the prescribed dosage.

Experiment with these different methods to find the one that works best for your cat’s individual preferences and temperament. Remember to always follow your vet’s instructions regarding medication dosage and administration.

If you’re unsure about the best approach for your cat, don’t hesitate to talk to the nurses at our Rouken Glen Road vet practice for guidance and support. With patience and persistence, you can ensure that your cat receives the medication they need to stay happy and healthy.

Book to see a nurse

Before you go, May 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month (VNAM), a month-long celebration of veterinary nurses everywhere for their hard work and commitment to providing the very best care for pets and owners. We know our nursing team would love to hear from you, so why not share how they’ve helped you and your pet on our Facebook page, with the hashtag #VNAM24

Rouken Glen Vets explore why regular worming is important for cats

When it comes to our feline friends, one aspect of their healthcare routine that can sometimes be overlooked is regular worming. While cats may not always show obvious signs of a worm infestation, these parasites can pose serious health risks to both your pet and your human family. In this article, Rouken Glen Vets explore why regular worming is so important for cats.

Order vet-recommended cat worming products from us

Before we dig in, did you know that April is National Pet Month? Why not share a photo or video of your feline friend on our Facebook page and let’s celebrate the joy of pet ownership together!

Why do cats need worming?

Firstly, the team at Rouken Glen Vets share why worms are a concern for cats. There are several types of worms that can affect felines, including:

  • Roundworms: Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites found in cats. They are particularly prevalent in kittens, as they can be transmitted from the mother cat to her offspring through the placenta or milk. Adult cats can also become infected through ingestion of roundworm eggs from contaminated soil or prey.
  • Tapeworms: Tapeworms in cats are another common intestinal parasite. They typically infest cats who hunt and eat rodents or other small animals, as well as cats who ingest fleas containing tapeworm larvae. Tapeworm segments, which resemble small grains of rice, may be visible around the cat’s anus or in their faeces.
  • Hookworms: While hookworm infections are less common in the UK compared to some other regions, they can still affect cats, particularly those that spend time outdoors. Hookworm larvae can penetrate the skin of cats or be ingested from contaminated soil, leading to intestinal infection.

Vet Richard Black, explains that once inside your cat’s body, worms can wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, and a dull coat. In severe cases, untreated worm infestations can even be fatal, particularly in kittens and senior cats with weaker immune systems.

When it comes to tapeworms in cats, Richard stresses that certain species of tapeworms can also be transmitted to humans, posing a potential risk to your family’s health. This is especially concerning in households with young children or individuals with compromised immune systems. By keeping your cat’s worming treatment up to date, you’re not only safeguarding their health but also minimising the risk of transmission to humans.

How often do cats need worming?

The frequency of cat worming can vary depending on factors such as your cat’s age, lifestyle, and overall health. In general, our vets at Rouken Glen Vets recommend worming adult cats at least every three months, while kittens may require more frequent treatments, typically starting from 3 weeks of age. Outdoor cats or those with access to hunting prey may need more frequent de-worming to ensure adequate protection against parasites.

Which cat wormer products are best?

Our vets in Giffnock can advise you on the most appropriate vet-recommended worming product for your cat based on their individual needs and lifestyle. Additionally, many of these products also offer protection against other common parasites, such as fleas and ticks, providing comprehensive care for your cat.

If your cat hasn’t been wormed in a while or you’re not sure which cat wormer products are right for your cat, get in touch with our friendly team at Rouken Glen Vets who will be happy to advise you.

Talk to us about cat worming products

Before you go, pop over to our Facebook page and share a photo or video of your feline friends to celebrate National Pet Month with us!

Spring cleaning safety tips including which products are toxic for cats

As the vibrant colours of spring begin to bloom in East Renfrewshire, many pet owners turn their attention to spring cleaning. While decluttering and freshening up your living space can be invigorating, it’s essential to be mindful of potential hazards for our feline friends.
Cats are naturally curious creatures, and as you embark on your spring-cleaning journey, it’s crucial to create a safe environment for your four-legged family members. In this article, we’ll explore some common indoor hazards and learn how to ensure your curious cat stays happy and healthy with tips from the veterinary team at Rouken Glen Vets.

Contact us with your cat concerns

Cat safety tips for a thorough spring clean

Know which cleaning products are toxic to cats

Spring cleaning often involves an array of cleaning products, many of which can be toxic to cats. Household cleaners, bleach, and disinfectants may contain chemicals that can be harmful if ingested or if they come into contact with your cat’s skin. As a general rule of thumb, any products with a hazard warning on aren’t safe for cats. When using these products, ensure proper ventilation, and keep your feline friend in a separate, well-ventilated area until surfaces are dry. Our vets in Giffnock recommend that cat owners consider using pet-safe cleaning alternatives or thoroughly rinsing and drying surfaces afterwards.

Can you recommend any pet-safe cleaning products? Help other East Renfrewshire cat owners and share them on our Facebook page.

Keep cats safe by windows & balconies

With the arrival of warmer weather in East Renfrewshire and when you’re using chemicals to clean, you’ll probably want to open windows and let the fresh air in. However, open windows and balconies can pose a danger to cats, especially those with a penchant for exploring. Ensure that any external openings aren’t big enough for your cat to get out of, or they are securely screened to prevent accidental falls or escapes. You may want to create a cozy spot in the room you’ll be tackling last to keep them away from cleaning chemicals and smells.

Manage loose cords and string

Spring cleaning often involves reorganising and tidying up, which can lead to the discovery of loose cords and strings. Cats are notorious for playing with anything that dangles, but these items can pose a choking hazard if ingested or they could get tangled in them. Top tips from the team at Rouken Glen Vets are:

  1. Secure loose cords or tuck them away to prevent your cat from playing with them.
  2. Provide safe alternatives, such as interactive toys, to keep your cat entertained & engaged.

Check hidden spaces

Cats love to explore nooks and crannies, especially when there’s a change in their environment. During spring cleaning, be mindful of potential hiding spots that may become accessible. Check behind furniture, inside cabinets, and under appliances to ensure your cat can’t access tight spaces where they may get stuck or find hazardous materials.

Beware of springtime flowers & plants that are poisonous to cats

When the spring clean is over, you might want to add a touch of nature to your home with some springtime flowers or plants. Beware though, some plants are toxic to cats. Lilies, daffodils, azaleas, and tulips are just a few examples of plants that can be harmful when ingested. The advice from our veterinary team in Giffnock is that you should research the plants in your home and remove any that pose a risk to your cat. You could just opt for pet-friendly flowers like catnip or spider plants instead to brighten up your space without compromising your cat’s safety.

Why not share your favourite cat-friendly plants & flowers on our Facebook page to help other cat owners in East Renfrewshire?

Spring cleaning is an excellent opportunity to refresh your living space, but it’s essential to prioritise your cat’s safety throughout the process. By being mindful of potential hazards such as toxic cleaning products, open windows, loose cords, hidden spaces and harmful plants, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your curious feline companion.

In an emergency, call us on 0141 620 2580 right away, or if you have any questions about our article, view all our contact details here.

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Get Rouken Glen Vets’ guide to feline dental care

Rouken Glen Vets is spreading the word that February is Dental Awareness Month and a time to focus on what aspects of your cat’s oral health is going well, and what could be improved. This article explores the significance of feline dental health, when and how to clean a cat’s teeth, and why it matters for your beloved furry friend.

You can always bring your cat to see our friendly nurses who will show you how to brush your cat’s teeth. Call us on 0141 620 2580 or book online:

Book a teeth cleaning demo with our nurses

Why feline dental health matters

Caring for your cat’s dental health is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. While many cat owners in Giffnock are aware of the importance of regular grooming and veterinary check-ups, dental care can sometimes be overlooked. Our Vet Richard Black is sharing why feline dental care is so important below.

Proper dental care for cats is vital for several reasons:

  • Preventing dental disease: Just like people, cats are prone to dental issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and tartar buildup. Neglecting dental care can lead to pain, discomfort, and potentially severe health problems.
  • Promoting overall health: Dental problems can impact your cat’s overall health, potentially affecting their heart, liver, and kidneys. Maintaining good oral hygiene can contribute to a longer and healthier life.
  • Improved quality of life: Cats with healthy teeth and gums are more likely to enjoy eating, playing, and interacting with their owners. Dental pain can lead to a reduced quality of life. Call us on 0141 620 2580 if your cat is struggling to do any of these activities.

Should you clean a cat’s teeth?

Cleaning a cat’s teeth at home can be beneficial, but it may not be necessary for all cats. It can also be tricky if your cat isn’t too happy about it…

Things to consider:

  1. Regular dental check-ups: Nose-to-tail annual vet health checks at Rouken Glen Vets include dental examinations. You can also book bi-annual oral health reviews with our nurses, and interims vet checks if you have any concerns. By scheduling regular appointments, our team can assess your cat’s oral health and recommend appropriate care.
  2. Get advice from your cat’s dentist: If our vets (or vet dentists for cats as we’re sometimes known) recommends at-home dental care, they can provide guidance on the best methods and products.
  3. Professional dental cleanings: In some cases, and especially in cats over 3 years of age, an examination and professional dental cleaning under general anaesthetic may be necessary to address existing dental problems. If your cat needs this level of treatment, they will be in the best hands with our caring team in Giffnock.

At-home dental care for cats:

  • Brushing: Brushing your cat’s teeth with a cat-specific toothbrush and toothpaste can help prevent tartar buildup. Start slowly and make it a positive experience for your cat. Our Giffnock nurses can show you how – contact us to book a demo.
  • Cat dental chews & toys: Providing dental chews or toys designed to promote oral health can help reduce plaque and tartar. Our nurses can give you some examples to try.
  • Dental diets for cats: Some cat food brands offer dental diets designed to support oral health. Our vets and nurses can help you find an appropriate dental diet for your cat’s needs.
  • Regular observation: Our Vet Richard Black also advises paying attention to your cat’s oral health. Look for signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, swollen gums, difficulty eating, or a reluctance to being stroked around their face. Call us on 0141 620 2580 if you are concerned.

In support of Dental Awareness Month, the take-away from our article is that dental care is a crucial aspect of your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. While you can take steps to clean your cat’s teeth at home, it’s essential to consult with our veterinary team for guidance and stay on top of regular dental check-ups. By prioritising feline dental health, you can help to ensure a longer, happier, and healthier life for your beloved cat.

Book a teeth cleaning demo or dental health check

Can Seasonal Affective Disorder affect cats in East Renfrewshire?

The vets at Rouken Glen Vets in East Renfrewshire want pet owners to understand Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how it could relate to their feline friends. If, after reading our article you think your cat could be affected by seasonal changes, book a health check with one of our cat-loving vets.

Book a New Year health check for your cat

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD is a type of depression that typically occurs during the autumn and winter months when there is less natural sunlight. The disorder is believed to be related to changes in light exposure and can result in symptoms such as a low mood, fatigue, and changes in sleep patterns.

Whilst SAD is primarily a human condition, some cat owners have observed changes in their pets’ behaviour during the winter months, which may be related to changes in daylight and weather conditions. If you are concerned about your cat’s change in behaviour, which could also indicate other conditions, it’s wise to contact Rouken Glen Vets for further advice and to book a health check.

Book a New Year cat health check

Things to consider

These changes in your feline’s behaviour are not necessarily a direct manifestation of Seasonal Affective Disorder as it occurs in humans, but they could be influenced by seasonal factors. Here are some considerations for cat owners living in East Renfrewshire.

1. Light exposure

Cats may spend more time indoors during the winter due to weather conditions. This will result in reduced exposure to natural daylight. This change in light exposure could potentially affect their behaviour and mood.

2. Activity levels

Similar to the point above, cold weather can limit outdoor activities for cats. Reduced exercise and mental stimulation during the winter can lead to changes in your cat’s behaviour, potentially including restlessness or decreased energy levels. Our vets and nurses often see cats’ weight increasing over the winter months due to lack of exercise, which can in turn affect their ability to move more.

3. Temperature and comfort

Cats may experience discomfort in colder temperatures, especially if they are not acclimated to it. This discomfort could affect their overall mood and behaviour.

4. Owner’s behaviour

Changes in an owner’s routine due to Seasonal Affective Disorder or other factors can also indirectly affect a cat’s behaviour. For example, if the owner is less active or less engaged with their cat during the winter months, their cat will respond accordingly.

5. Pre-existing conditions

Some cats may have pre-existing medical or behavioural conditions that make them more susceptible to changes in their environment. These conditions can be exacerbated by seasonal changes. Feline arthritis is a condition that is particularly problematic when it’s cold and will greatly affect a cat’s mood and willingness to engage or move around.

How you can support your cat

It is essential for cat owners to monitor their pet’s behaviour throughout the year and to make adjustments as needed to ensure their wellbeing. If their behaviour changes significantly, it’s a good idea to consult with Rouken Glen Vets’ team about a New Year health check. This can help determine the underlying causes of your pet’s behavioural changes and our vets can provide personalised guidance on how to address seasonal related factors.

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Top advice for East Renfrewshire cat owners on choosing a cattery for your 2024 holiday

If you are planning a holiday in the New Year, Rouken Glen Vets has some top tips to help you find the perfect cattery. We know leaving your cat can be daunting, but with these questions, we will help you find your cat the most perfect holiday home in East Renfrewshire.

Download our Top Cat Travel Tips

The team at Rouken Glen Vets suggest that you work through these questions below to find out everything you need to know about prospective holiday care for your cat.

Cattery: medical requirements

Vaccinations and parasite treatment

Work out what the cattery will need from you when it comes to your cat being vaccinated and up-to-date with their flea, tick and worming treatment. If you are unsure as to when your cat had their most recent vaccinations, our team can help.

Contact us about your cat’s vaccination schedule

Your cat’s medical care

Enquire about the cattery’s process for dealing with a veterinary emergency and who their local vet is.

Cattery: services, security and facilities available

It’s always a good idea to visit prospective catteries before choosing one as you’ll only get a sense of certain aspects in person – Rouken Glen Vets’ team have listed some of these below.

Security measures

Ask about what security measures are in place to protect your cat. Check windows and doors to make sure they are escape-proof and ask about their fire safety measures.

Hygiene

Pay special attention to the cleanliness of the cattery. The sleeping areas, litter boxes, and common spaces should be clean and odour-free.

Specialised feeding

Discuss your cat’s dietary requirements before booking and make sure the cattery has the facilities to accommodate any particular needs your cat may have. If your cat has a specialised diet from Rouken Glen Vets and you are running low, give us a call on 0141 620 2580 or visit our website to re-order.

Noise and stress levels

You need to be sure that the noise levels in the cattery will not be too distressing for your cat. Enquire about what measures the cattery has in place to minimise the noise and stress levels for your cat. You may also be able to get a feel for this during a visit.

Accommodation options

Your chosen cattery may have various different accommodation options available – are they suitable for your cat?

Individual care

Ask whether the cattery offers cats individual playtime, care and fuss.

Concerned about getting your cat to the cattery? Take a look at our 21 tips for transporting your cat.

External research

Reputation and reviews

Our Giffnock team recommend paying attention to reviews and testimonials to understand what other cat owners have experienced with your chosen cattery before booking.

Booking policies and prices

Understand the cattery’s booking policies, the deposit, and payment terms available.

Licences and insurance

Check the cattery has the necessary licences to meet industry standards. The cattery will also need appropriate insurance so it would be worth asking about what cover they have in place.

How do you feel?

Communication is key

Ask the cattery how they will communicate with you and if you’re happy with this. Lots of catteries can offer daily pictures and updates so work out what you’re comfortable with.

Visiting

Plan to visit the cattery ahead of your cat’s booking to visibly assess the facilities, cleanliness, and mannerisms of the staff who will be caring for your pet.

Gut feeling

Using the points above will help you to develop some feelings towards the cattery. If you are unsure or have doubts about certain aspects listed above, keep searching.

The last thing you want whilst on holiday is to feel worried that your cat isn’t being cared for to the standards you expect. Remember, thorough research and early planning is key to choosing the right temporary home for your cat in East Renfrewshire. The team at Rouken Glen Vets will be able to suggest potential catteries in the local area. Contact us on 0141 620 2580 for more information.

Rouken Glen Vets is encouraging cat owners to download our cat travel tips, a handy checklist to use when taking and picking your cat up from their stay at the cattery, and in fact for any journey in the car your feline friend needs to take.

Download our Top Cat Travel Tips

Cat owners: 7 dangers to be aware of this Christmas

Our team at Rouken Glen Vets see a rise in the number of feline emergencies we treat around Christmas time. It’s inevitable – there are plenty more toxic foods (although delicious for humans!) available for cats to nibble on, as well as wrapping materials to ingest and seasonal risks that could leave them feeling under the weather.

So, cat owners, ahead of the festivities, why not curl up with your cat and have a read of Rouken Glen Vets’ advice on common cat emergencies and what you need to be aware of.

Contact us for emergency advice

1. Toxic foods

The Christmas festivities bring lots of chocolate and alcohol – both of which are toxic to cats. There are various other foods, such as grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and certain spices that are also harmful and can lead to poisoning. If you think your cat has ingested something toxic, it’s important that you contact Rouken Glen Vets straight away as they need to be treated as a veterinary emergency.

2. Decorations

Cats often love playing with Christmas trees and house decorations but be aware that accidental ingestion of these items can lead to intestinal blockages or choking – both of which can be fatal. Tinsel, ribbons, bows and mini baubles are common decorations that cats like to play with.

3. Open flames and electricity

As naturally inquisitive creatures, your cat will want to investigate new candles or electricity cables. Both can lead to burns that will need treating. Also, electrical shocks and fire damage are both serious risks that could also affect your family’s safety. Make sure your cat isn’t left alone where they can access anything dangerous.

4. Christmas plants

Your Christmas tree could be a risk to our feline friends. They love to climb them, potentially tipping them over and injuring themselves. There are also toxic plants to watch out for, such as holly, mistletoe, lilies, and poinsettias. Again, do not hesitate to contact us on 0141 620 2580 if your cat has ingested a poisonous plant. And remember to keep an eye on your cat when they’re near your tree and secure the tree to a wall if you can.

5. Antifreeze exposure

During the colder months, you might choose to use antifreeze to help defrost the windows on your car. Rouken Glen Vets wants cat owners to be aware that even a small amount of antifreeze (which tastes oddly sweet to cats) is toxic to cats if ingested. Maybe stick to the old-fashioned ice scraping to keep our feline friends safe.

6. Stress-related illness/injury

Loud noises from fireworks, parties, or other festivities can startle cats, increasing their risk of injury, whilst the general hustle and bustle of the season can make them anxious. Monitor your cat for any signs of stress-related illnesses and any signs of anxiety, such as hiding behaviour and digestive issues. Contact us if you are worried about your cat’s behaviour or health on 0141 620 2580.

7. Accidental escapees!

Christmas is often a time for guests coming and going, making it easy for your indoor cat to escape outside. Keep them safe and ensure they are microchipped ahead of the festive season. The law has recently changed on cat microchipping and every cat over 20 weeks old must have a microchip implanted before 10th June 2024 – why not get organised ahead of this deadline? Book your cat’s microchip appointment at our Giffnock practice now?

To help prevent these feline emergencies, take time to create a safe and cat-friendly environment ahead of the holidays. The proactive approach will help to ensure a festive season that’s as stress-free as possible.

Contact us for more Cat-Friendly Advice

Richard shares common factors that contribute to feline heart disease

According to the veterinary team at Rouken Glen Vets, feline heart disease is relatively common in cats, especially as they age. It is estimated that around 10-15% of all cats may develop some form of heart disease during their lifetime. However, the prevalence of heart disease can vary based on several factors, including breed, age and overall health.

In this article, Veterinary Surgeon Richard Black explains these factors and the signs cat owners in East Renfrewshire should look out for. Early diagnosis is crucial to getting your cat the treatment they need.

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Heart disease risk factors in cats

Breed

Richard wants East Renfrewshire cat owners to know that unfortunately, no cat is immune to the risks of heart disease. However, certain cat breeds, such as Maine Coons and Ragdolls, have a higher predisposition to certain types of heart disease, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is one of the most common forms of heart disease in cats and involves the thickening of the heart muscles, leading to impaired heart function.

HCM has been shown to be inherited in purebred cats like Maine Coons and Ragdolls, often by genetic mutation. Other predisposed breeds for HCM and heart disease include the British Shorthairs, Persian, and Sphynx. Male cats are slightly more commonly affected.

Spotting Heart Disease at home

Age

Age is another significant factor. As cats age, their risk of developing heart conditions increases. Feline heart disease tends to occur more frequently in middle-aged and older cats, typically around 5 to 10 years and older.

Health

There are several health conditions that can increase the likelihood of feline heart disease, some of these are listed below. Richard stresses that not all cats with the below health conditions will develop heart disease:

  1. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): High blood pressure can strain the heart and blood vessels, leading to various heart problems, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and heart failure.
  2. Hyperthyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormones. Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to an increased heart rate and stress on the heart.
  3. Obesity: Overweight and obese cats are at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to the increased workload on their hearts.
  4. Diabetes: Cats with diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to the metabolic changes associated with the condition.
  5. Feline Heartworm Disease: Thankfully not found in the UK, feline heartworm disease can be a risk for cats travelling abroad. This parasitic infection (transmitted by mosquitos) can cause heart and lung damage, so Richard advises that precautions should be taken for cats who leave the UK or are adopted from overseas.
  6. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Cats with CKD can develop secondary heart problems due to fluid imbalances and increased strain on the heart.
  7. Infections: Certain infections, like feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), can cause inflammation in the heart and lead to heart disease.
  8. Anaemia: Severe anaemia can reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, placing additional stress on the heart.

If you have any concerns about your cat and feline heart disease, contact us to book a heart check-up with one of our veterinary surgeons.

Contact us to book a heart check-up

Signs of heart disease in cats

Heart disease in cats can be challenging to detect, especially in its early stages, as cats are known for hiding signs of illness. Richard recommends regular check-ups for cats of all ages (but especially cats over 5 years and those pre-disposed) at our Giffnock practice, as early detection and intervention can lead to better disease management and improved quality of life.

There are however some symptoms of feline heart disease that you may be able to spot at home. Take a look at Rouken Glen Vets’ fact sheet: Heart Disease in Cats Symptoms

If you notice any signs or have concerns about your cat’s heart health, it’s crucial to contact us to book a check-up promptly.

Richard, or another of our vets, will perform a physical examination, listen for any abnormal heart sounds, and may recommend further tests, such as echocardiography, to evaluate your cat’s heart health.

Heart disease in cats symptoms to spot at home

Share our guide with other cat owners and help us to help other pets in East Renfrewshire.

Karen’s top tips for litter training your kitten

Our team of nurses know that, when it comes to emptying your kitten’s litter box, it isn’t a pleasant job. However, training your kitten to use the litter box correctly will save you a whole load of mess in the future!

Head Nurse Karen has put together their best advice on how to effectively train your kitten and enforce good habits for the rest of their life. Have a read of Karen’s tips and contact us for more advice.

You can also ask our veterinary nurses questions about kitten care and training on our Facebook page!

Ask your kitten questions on Facebook

Mimic their natural habitat

People often make the mistake of setting up a litter box so that it is aesthetically pleasing and fits the style of their home. However, your cat wants a litter box that best mimics their natural environment. In the wild, kittens learn to cover up their urine and faeces to avoid attracting predators. This is why soft, sandy and minimally scented litter is best. Head Nurse Karen also recommends to not use a litter box with a cover on top as your kitten could feel trapped.

Keeping it clean

Litter trays should be cleaned at least twice a day and washed at least once a month. Cats are very sensitive to smell and Karen wants owners to know that they may turn their nose up at heavily soiled litter boxes.

Multiple cat household

If you own more than one cat, you need to invest in a litter box for each of them, plus an additional box. So, if you own two cats, you need three litter boxes. If you own three cats, you need four litter boxes.

Karen recommends that you space these out in easily accessible areas and do not group them together as each cat needs to feel safe and secure when using their litter tray.

Our nursing team love talking to East Renfrewshire pet owners about kitten care so we recommend either asking them questions on our Facebook page, or contact our Giffnock team for more advice.

Enforcing good habits

As soon as your new kitten arrives, show them where their litter tray is. You may need to move this to an area your kitten feels comfortable in so keep an eye on them. Ensure this is away from their food and water bowls.

You need to place your kitten in their litter box after they have eaten, played and slept. Eventually they will learn to associate this time with going to the toilet and will take themselves to the litter box after each event.

Remember, litter training your kitten will not happen overnight. But persistence and patience are key to ensuring good, lifelong habits.

Thanks for reading our article on house-training your kitten, we hope you found the advice from our nursing team helpful.

Why not help others looking to get a new kitten by sharing our article?

And don’t forget to…

Ask your kitten questions on Facebook

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