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A vet's cat care advice

A few simple measures could stop your feline friend needing expensive care from a vet, says Rebecca Davies from Which? Local-recommended Victoria Veterinary Centre in Glossop.

A vet caring for a cat

1. Early vaccination and yearly boosters

Problems prevented or controlled:

Cat influenza; enteritis; leukaemia.

Initial vaccinations are essential and should be given to young cats as early as possible. Yearly boosters maintain their protection.

These visits also give vets an opportunity to check your cat’s general health.

Some insurance policies are invalidated unless your pet has a full health check, including a dental examination, each year.

2. Food and water

Problems prevented or controlled:

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD); obesity; diabetes; dental problems; kidney disease; heart disease; allergies; joint problems.

Making clean water available is a must. With food, you get what you pay for.

‘Super premium’ foods recommended by vets are human-grade meat and often can work out cheaper as you don’t need to feed as much.

Cats are carnivores so avoid cheap, cereal-based food as they won’t provide all that your pet needs.

Dry food suits many cats and helps to keep their teeth clean.

3. Parasitic pests

Problems prevented or controlled:

Flea allergic dermatitis; vomiting; diarrhoea; lack of condition; anaemia; heart and lung problems; contamination to humans.

Parasite control needs to be regular and all year round because, as well as making them feel uncomfortable, fleas, worms and ticks can make cats seriously ill.

Preventative treatments cost about £40 per year, but the cost incurred should your cat need veterinary treatment could be considerably higher.

4. Keeping things under control

Problems prevented or controlled:

Unwanted kittens, less fighting, fewer cat bite abscesses (£150 or more to treat), less spraying.

Unless you are serious about breeding from your cat, have them neutered. It’s a routine operation which helps to prevent a number of behavioural and medical conditions.

Neutering costs from £35 to £70.

Insuring your pet

These measures could lessen the likelihood of veterinary intervention being needed. But Rebecca still recommends pet insurance to all of her clients.

Pick the right policy for your pet with our insurance advice guide.

5. Get grooming

Problems prevented or controlled:

Matted fur, hair balls, skin conditions, infestations.

As with all animals, grooming is a great way to form a bond. It will familiarise your cat with being handled, which will help if you need to administer treatments.

There are also health reasons for keeping your pet properly preened. The process stimulates the skin and blood flow. It also means that you can become familiar with your feline friend's condition and notice any bumps, lumps or other changes.

About our expert trader

Our expert: Rebecca Davies

Rebecca Davies is a vet at Which? Local-recommended Victoria Veterinary Centre in Glossop.

Which? Local reviewers have praised Victoria Veterinary Centre for it's quality, caring service and described it as respresenting good value for money.