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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why should I spay or neuter my cat?
  2. Why should I vaccinate?
  3. Do I need to deworm my cat?
  4. Why should I bring my cat to the vet every year?
  5. Why should I have my cats teeth cleaned?
  6. Is it bad if my cat is fat?
  7. What food is best for my cat?
  8. Why is my cat urinating outside his/her litterbox?

Question: Why should I spay or neuter my cat?


Male cats should be neutered (castrated) to lower the risk of marking (spraying), aggression, and roaming. Most young cats recover quickly and are back to normal in a few days.

Female cats should be spayed (ovariohysterectomy) to prevent pregnancy and reproductive diseases (uterine infections and cancers). The surgery is more invasive for females than it is for males, but even females are usually back to normal within a week or two.

Question: Why should I vaccinate?


Many of you may have heard about vaccines causing problems and reactions, but you also need to know vaccines prevent a lot of deadly diseases.

While vaccine reactions do happen, they are uncommon. People, dogs, and many other creatures can have these types of reaction to vaccines. Some cats are tired and sore after vaccination, others may lose their appetite. These reactions are temporary and your vet clinic can advise you how best to treat them.

Cats can have a very serious reaction to injections (vaccine, antibiotics, and others) called a sarcoma. The cat? immune system reacts to whatever is injected by developing a tumor. This is an uncommon problem, happening approximately 1 in every 5000 vaccinations.

We vaccinate to prevent diseases such as rabies (100% fatal and can be spread to people), panleukopenia (>90% fatality rate), rhino/calici (not often fatal but can cause lifelong infections), and feline leukemia (this virus causes tumors and immune system dysfunction). Some people think these diseases can only happen to outdoor cats, but some of these viruses can come indoors for example on your shoes , via bats in the attic or basement (rabies), or the new cat you just brought home (feline leukemia). Please ask your vet what vaccines your cat should have.

Question: Do I need to deworm my cat?


Kittens and outdoor cats are more likely to need deworming than an indoors cat.

Kittens are often given worms by their mother. Outdoor cats are exposed to parasite eggs in another cat\\\’s feces and when they hunt and eat birds and mice. If your indoor cat hunts mice in the basement, they may also have worms. Worms do not always make your cat obviously sick.

If you are concerned your cat may have worms you can test for the parasites (via a fecal exam at your vet clinic) or deworm your cat. Your veterinary clinic is the best place to get the dewormer. Pet stores may carry some dewormers but they are often less effective than the prescription medication your vet has.

It is extra important to keep your cat worm free if you have children in your home. Some worms can infect people, especially children.

Question: Why should I bring my cat to the vet every year?


Some people think the only thing their cat gets or needs from the vet is shots. The physical exam is actually the most important reason to visit the veterinarian.

When we examine your cat, we are looking for dental disease, heart problems, eye and ear disease, skin and nutritional problems (and many other body systems and concerns). Without an annual exam, minor changes in their health or early signs of disease may go unnoticed. Cats mature and age much faster than people so senior cats often benefit from a check up more than once a year. Please ask your veterinarian about an exam schedule for your cat.

Question: Why should I have my cats teeth cleaned?


Dental disease is common in cats over 3 years of age (60% of cats are affected). Dental disease can cause discomfort and infection that can affect the quality and length of your cat? life.

Cats can have tartar, gingivitis, and cavity-like problems called resorptive lesions. Your vet can evaluate your cat? teeth and gums and let you know if these problems are present and what treatment is best. Treatment often includes bloodwork, a cleaning under general anesthetic, dental x-rays, and sometimes extractions.

Dental homecare can slow the progression of dental disease. Options include daily brushing (it is possible!), gum disinfectants, and special diets. Ask you vet which is best for your cat.

Question: Is it bad if my cat is fat?



Obesity is a common problem for the modern cat. Being overweight makes your cat more likely to become asthmatic, diabetic, arthritic, constipated and have matted and unhealthy fur.

Not every diet works for every cat. We recommend changing to a lower calorie food (just decreasing the amount of the food they are on can lead to a very hungry cat and an imbalanced diet). Adult cat foods can be as high as 800 calories/cup for a dry food. Our prescription diets can be as low as 110 (not the 200 it said before) calories/can. The average cat needs 200-300 calories a day. In general, it is easier for cats to lose weight on canned food (dry food has a lot more carbs).

You should consult with your veterinarian when you have your cat on a diet. If your cat loses too much weight too quickly or if they stop eating, it can be dangerous, even deadly.

Question: What food is best for my cat?


Every cat is different in what tastes they prefer and how many calories they need. We do recommend a high quality brand name food. Look for a company that does research trials with their food to see how safe and effective it is. We use and sell Hills, Medi-Cal, Purina, and Royal Canin in our clinic.

Dry food alone is NOT the best diet for your cat. A diet that is 100% dry increases the risk of obesity, constipation and urinary disease. We often recommend a combination of canned and dry for most cats, and sometimes just canned for others. Your vet can advise you how many calories a day your cat needs once your cat\’s weight and body condition are assessed. You can then discuss which food is best.

Question: Why is my cat urinating outside his/her litterbox?


There are many possible reasons. The first thing to try and figure out is whether this is a physical problem or a psychological one. This requires and exam and often diagnostic tests (urinalysis, bloodwork, etc.).

Physical causes may include urinary tract infection, FUS (feline urologic syndrome), diabetes, kidney disease or arthritis.

If no physical problems are found it may be anxiety or litterbox avoidance. There is no test for these mental issues, so the physical problems need to be ruled out first.

Your cat may avoid the litterbox if their delicate nose considers it dirty, if you have changed the type of litter, if the box is in a noisy area (ie: the laundry room), or if there are more cats than litterboxes.

If your cat suffers from anxiety, it can help to try and find the cause, but it is not always easy to figure out (other cats in the house, cats outside the house, new people in the house, moved to a new house, noise inside or outside ie:construction, etc.). You should talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication for the cat (not you!).