FACT SHEET - CAT CARE
All cats and kittens adopted through Melbourne Animal Rescue Inc. (MAR) are vet checked, desexed, current in vaccinations, and microchipped, and have received parasite prevention treatment (worms/fleas).
Cats must be registered with your local council/shire. Please contact your local council for a pet registration form and details on fees payable.
- MAR kittens receive their two kitten F3 vaccinations prior to adoption. On occasion, some kittens may have only had their first vaccination at the time of adoption due to their age. Please attend your usual veterinary clinic for the kitten to receive their second injection. Some kittens may require a third but this is done in special circumstances in consultation with a vet and is usually not required.
- MAR adult cats receive a booster F3 vaccination prior to adoption.
- All cats and kittens require an annual health check and booster vaccination – please register your new cat’s details with your usual veterinary clinic so they are able to send you a reminder when this is due. This is also when your veterinarian will check the cats general health, listen to their lungs, heart and assess their dental health.
- Indoor only cats are protected with their F3 vaccination. The F3 vaccination protects your cat against Feline Respiratory Disease (Cat Flu) and Feline Enteritis.
- If your cat will be going outside, it is highly recommended that they receive a course of three FIV (Aids) vaccinations. Please discuss this with your veterinarian. Feline Aids is incurable, but can be prevented by vaccination. They are transmitted through cat fights very easily.
- MAR adult cats are tested for FIV (Feline Aids) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia) prior to adoption. Any positive results will be disclosed in full to applicants.
MAR recommends using a quality all-wormer (eg. Milbemax, Drontal, Popantel, etc) for the following schedule;
- Kittens are wormed fortnightly between 4 weeks and 12 weeks of age.
- Kittens are wormed monthly between 3 months old and 6 months old.
- Cats are wormed every 3 months after the age of 6 months old.
Quality all-wormer tablets are available from your veterinary clinic or from a pet supplies store. Supermarket wormers are of a poor quality, and as such often still leave your pet still susceptible to worms.
MAR recommends using a quality flea prevention (e.g. Revolution, Advocate, etc) every month.
These products are a small liquid tube that is squirted between their shoulder blades, and treats against fleas and worms. Unfortunately these products do not protect against Tapeworm – but your worm tablet does!
- All cats must have fresh water available at all times.
- Cats eat dry food or wet food, however it is important to note that a quality dry food contains all the required nutrition, is better for their teeth, and smells a lot better when it comes out the other end!
- If you would like to feed something else, fresh meat (fish, chicken, mince) is recommended as it is much better for them than most wet pet foods.
- Kittens need to stay on a kitten food until approx 1 year old.
- Feeding cats, especially kittens, twice a day is better for their stomach’s health.
- MAR recommends feeding a diet of premium brand dry food. There are a variety of brands available for purchase from your local Vet Clinic, Pet Warehouse, or online. Supermarket pet foods are lower in quality and nutrition, and may even cause health problems long term. The higher quality foods contain less ‘fillers’ and you actually feed less of these products than the cheaper brands because of the higher quality ingredients.
- When swapping foods, mix the old food with the new food for at least a week or two, starting with only a small amount of new food, and gradually increasing the amount of new food, whilst decreasing the old food. Cats have delicate stomachs, and will get diarrhoea if given a sudden change in diet. Taste buds need to adjust too! If a cat vomits or has diarrhoea on any new food for more than 2-3 days, please contact a veterinarian.
- Food and Water bowls – non slip or a placemat underneath are useful, but most cats are quite clean eaters. Make sure they aren’t too high off the ground, and ensure the water dish will hold enough for you to be out a whole day. For cats who prefer to drink running water, there are pet fountains available.
- Litter tray – standard style or even a ‘hooded’ litter tray which means less mess [from kicking as they bury their business] and less smell [they have a charcoal filter in the top which needs to be replaced every 3 months])
- Kitty litter - Some cats are very fussy and will only use certain types of kitty litter. Trial and error is the easiest way to figure this out!
- Bed – There are lots of different types of beds available. Try a big pet superstore that will have lots of variety. Most cats are more than happy to sleep on your bed too!
- Collar – this is a MUST if your cat will go outdoors. Outdoor cats need a collar on (not too tight though!) with a bell to help warn the wildlife (though a lot of cats suss out how to keep it quiet whilst hunting!) and council tags. A name tag with your details is a great idea too.
- Scratching post – this is very important so that your furniture is not used instead as a scratching post! It is a natural instinct for a cat to sharpen its nails on a surface which grabs their nails. If your cat/kitten tries to scratch anything other than it’s scratching post, do not tell it off (It won’t understand and will just get frightened!), simply pick it up and put it at it’s own scratching pole. It will soon understand (and prefer) the scratching pole’s use! You can also squirt it with water to discourage it, though this doesn’t teach it where he is allowed to scratch. You can deter unwanted scratching on furniture using lemon juice or double sided sticky tape. Scratching posts around 1m high are perfect as it can stretch out to scratch (natural instinct).
- Toys! Kittens (and many cats) are very active and need mental stimulation – this means toys that cat and owner can interact with together, as well as toys that are interactive during alone time. Rotate toys daily so there is always something new and exciting to play with!
- Brush – Short haired cats don’t require daily grooming, but a quick brush once a week is good for cats – it gets rid of the loose hairs that cause furballs! It’s also a great opportunity to get up close and notice and cuts or lumps that appears as time goes on (or scratches from fights if your cat goes outdoors!). Cats malt a little year round, and a brush once a week, helps limit the hair on your floors and clothing. Once a year (Spring) cats will malt a lot. Daily brushing helps in combating this! Medium and Long haired cats require daily brushing to not only keep their coat shiny and sleek, but also to prevent matts and knots which restrict movement and cause pain.
- Cat carrier – there are several types out there. This keeps kitty restrained in event of an accident. NEVER let your cat travel unrestrained in the car – not only can your cat cause you to have an accident, they are also in great danger if travelling unrestrained
- Treats – Dental treats are super yummy (to cats!) and help keep their teeth clean. Treats are great for encouraging and rewarding good behaviour. You can also use chicken necks.
MAR recommends PetPlan (www.petplan.com.au). Speak to your local Vet Clinic for further recommendations on Pet Insurance (or Google!) – this is like health insurance for your pet! Policies vary, but can cover accident and illness with a small monthly premium, and low excesses when claiming. It is definitely worth considering if you are worried about vet bills! Do thorough research and ask insurers lots of questions. Some providers withdraw cover once your pet reaches a certain age. Please strongly consider Pet Insurance, and at least look into it – it is a great product and is a relief for many pet owners when their beloved family member requires treatment that can sometimes be quite costly.
Rehoming your cat:
If for any reason you cannot keep the cat you have adopted from MAR, we would appreciate being your first point of call. No matter the age of the cat, or reason for not keeping him, please call us and we will take him back in, as we never want to see him in a pound. If for any reason we are unable to take him on at the time, we will provide you with details of other rescue organisations with ‘no kill’ policies – meaning they do not put to sleep an animal surrendered to them (unless they are severely ill or aggressive), ever.