Well as I look out of my window and see the welcome sight of our Magnolia tree bursting with pretty white flowers and catch a glimpse of clumps of cheery Daffodils I know that the promise of spring has finally arrived.
As the daylight hours increase and the weather gets warmer just like us, our cats including my anxious little feline will hopefully want to venture outside and potter about more so I am going to give you all some pointers on making your outside spaces “cat friendly” ready for the spring and summer.
Cats feel more vulnerable in open spaces like patios, courtyards and lawns and this can be troublesome for them if there are a few neighbourhood cats in the area that will roam and cross into the resident cats outside territory. This can cause emotional upheaval for our resident cats as they will feel intimidated by even just the very sight of a strange cat and territorial altercations can take place, especially in the spring and summer when more cats will spend more time outdoors. Our older felines often feel less confident outside especially if more younger and confident cats are in the immediate vicinity.
To try and alleviate any feline stress outside, try placing an item of garden furniture or a large BBQ near to the exit of your cat flap to allow your cat to retreat behind it thus allowing more privacy to survey the area ahead. A row of pot plants can create a private corridor leading from the cat flap to the outside. High vantage points in the garden will help our cats to feel in more control and safer higher up. Densely stocked flowerbeds with shrubs and bushes of differing heights will allow our cats a more private hidey hole to survey from. Providing a private latrine sight somewhere in the garden will help as cats feel more vulnerable whilst eliminating and hate being overlooked. Provide a secluded sun spot and shady areas as these will all be appreciated too. These cat friendly pointers will be really welcomed by our feline members of the family.
A list of cat friendly plants is available at the ISFM website.
As neighbourhood cats can pose a threat and emotional stress to the resident cat, consider installing a cat flap that only recognises your own cat’s microchip as this deters any strange cat from entering the sanctity of the resident cat’s “core territory” which is the inside of the home, as this is associated with warmth, comfort and security. The one I recommend is the Sure Flap cat flap as it was easy to install fitted my old Staywell hole and runs off normal AA batteries that last up to 8 months if not longer. The Sure Flap model can be programmed to read up to 32 microchips. The company also does a microchip sure feeder which can really help in a multi cat household especially if one cat is on a diet or fed a veterinary prescribed prescription food. Often marauding neighbourhood cats will try their luck with entering the sanctity of the resident cat’s home for a food reward so a sure feeder should deter this too.
I have secured a really good price for our clients to purchase a Sure Flap cat flap even taking into account their online prices so please enquire at Reception in our surgeries or by phone. The customer service team at Sure flap are very helpful and knowledgeable to assist you with any query that you might have. Take a look at the Sure Flap website at sureflap.com
As your cat ventures outside more in the spring and summer it is important to adhere to a strict flea and worm regime each month, as these parasites can be caught through prey and other sources. There is a product available through our veterinary surgeries called “Broadline” which I use on my cats as it treats fleas and ticks but also deals with Tapeworm and Roundworm. It is a monthly spot on treatment which avoids the stress of administering worm tablets. We also offer Advocate spot on for fleas and worms but a Droncit spot on will also be needed every 3 months to cover Tapeworm and Advocate does not treat ticks. There is Bravecto a three monthly spot on that treats fleas and ticks and a Milbemax tablet wormer would be needed to cover the worming side. Our Pet Health Club offers you discounts on flea and worm products so please ask or ring our Reception staff for more details or have a look on our website.
Finally, as the weather gets brighter and warmer you may have more visitors over to enjoy time spent outside and will want your doors and windows open which may make outside noise like DIY and any neighbouring building works more acute and stressful for our cats. So I would recommend plugging a Feliway diffuser into your kitchen, utility room or lounge area as these rooms tend to lead into the garden and the diffuser will omit a reassuring pheromone to help calm a worried or anxious cat. There is also a new diffuser for multi-cat households called Felifriends. We can offer a discount on any of the Feliway range and the Adaptil range for Dogs at our Camberley and Frimley Green surgeries from the 1st of April to the end of the year to cover the holiday season, cattery and kennel visits, fireworks, Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. We hope that this discount helps our clients.
Once spring arrives our minds tend to turn towards holiday planning and taking trips away, this may mean that your cat will go into a Cattery so the Royal Canin dry food called Calm can be a useful tool to use short term as it helps to support your cat through times of stress. From pril through to October we are offering a discount on this food for both cats and dogs so please ask our Reception staff at either of our two surgeries for more details.
If you are using a Cattery for the first time you may find my information sheet useful please look at our website for more details or e/mail me at [email protected] if you would like a copy sent to you.
I hope that my pointers will help and may I wish you all a very warm, enjoyable and happy springtime and that it is a feline stress free time.
Enjoy, best wishes, Debbie.
Feline Behaviour Advisor for Blackwater Valley Vets
Gordon House Vet Centre
216 Gordon Avenue
Elm Cottage Vet Centre
230 Frimley Green Road