Spring dangers for cats
Spring has sprung and It’s time to dust off the winter blues and get out in the fresh air!
Great mews for our feline friends who have been climbing the walls (quite literally) during the colder months.
Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, the season brings a whole host of potential dangers
Keep reading to discover the common threats cat owners need to look out for in spring, courtesy of our lead veterinary nurse:
Springtime can be rife for cat allergies just like with us humans!
You may notice more itching or ear problems around this time of year. The first sign of this can also be hair loss or you may notice red and angry skin.
Behaviour can also change as they are uncomfortable, and the skin feels irritated.
So, you may notice your cat is suddenly not wanting to be touched, is grumpy, not eating as well as they usually do, or is choosing to stay indoors and is more sleepy than usual.
Most of our allergies in spring are due to hay fever. You may also notice some allergies will affect cats' respiration or cause runny eyes too.
This is one of those unusual and unexpected veterinary emergencies that require hospitalisation for investigation and treatment.
Who would have thought that a tiny bit of grass could cause such massive problems? I’ve seen it so many times whilst working in vet practices!
Owners bring cats in with copious amounts of snot and mucus, coughing, retching and sneezing. And they may also have a loss of appetite and display obvious signs of distress.
And all because your cat has gobbled up some grass, and a blade has become stuck in the nose/throat.
I must admit it is highly satisfying when you find the cause of the problem!
I have a ginger cat called Duncan. I like to joke that Duncan has used all nine of his lives even though he's only four years old!
Duncan is one of those cheeky cats that loves to chase, hunt and "play" with wasps and bees.
I’ve lost count of the number of times he's walked in with a fat face or swollen paw after one of these encounters.
In most cases, an insect sting is just like it is for us.
It’s uncomfortable, a little painful and a bit of an inconvenience, but not harmful.
There are some occasions when a sting may require veterinary assistance.
If the sting is near the nose, mouth or neck and there's inflammation, this may cause breathing difficulties.
It all depends on how your cat reacts to the sting and what has stung them!
Sometimes Duncan has a lot of inflammation and looks like Quasimodo for the day. Other times he barely has any reaction at all!
At home, you can check the area to see if there's a sting still in there and remove if you can.
It's always better to be cautious and keep a close eye on your cat if you suspect they've been stung.
Just like humans, cats can be allergic or become allergic to stings. Look out for signs of distress, swelling and trouble breathing.
And if in doubt, always contact your vet immediately for advice.
Why the heck is this a spring danger? I hear you ask! Well spring is when all the unneutered female cats go into season every few weeks.
This usually lasts until September/October time depending on the weather.
So if you don't fancy three or four litters of kittens this year, we highly recommend spaying!
The same goes for any boys too! Naturally the girls will be calling for a mate, and uncastrated boys will be very tempted!
This may cause them to venture out of the area and across busy roads, where they could get lost or injured.
Fights between uncastrated neighbourhood toms are common because of this. They're simply fighting over the ladies!
But this can lead to wounds, abscesses, and diseases such as FIV (transmitted through cat biting and scratching).
All in all, we think thats purrlenty of good reasons to get your feline friends neutered to avoid a lot of hidden spring dangers!
The adder is the only snake in the UK with highly dangerous venom to cats.
Adders can be found across Britain but are absent from Ireland.
They enjoy basking in the sun and live in open habitats such as heathland, moorland, open woodland and sea cliffs.
They start to come out of hibernation in spring. And although rare, this is when they are most likely to bite in self defence!
They’re still sleepy, on edge, and not alert enough to slither away in the face of danger!
It pays to be mindful this time of year if you have a curious kitty that likes to hunt and explore!
If you know your cat has been bitten by an adder, seek veterinary attention immediately.
There are many springtime flowers and plants that pose a risk to cats.
It's always worth checking to make sure your garden is safe!
Common poisonous springtime plants include:
Nettles are another one of those unexpected risks that can cause a lot of distress.
Because our cats have such soft and tender little toe beans, running through nettles can cause extreme irritation.
If your cat is walking as if they've stepped on hot coals (hopping, chewing at or flicking the feet), the first point of call would be to give them a good wash (if possible!).
Usually, this will settle the sting after an hour or two. But in other cases, a trip to the vet for treatment might be necessary.
Pesticides and herbicides can be dangerous to cats if ingested.
Store these products in safe places your cat can't get to, and always restrict access to areas that have just been treated.
Clean up any spillages immediately to prevent your cat from walking through them and swallowing chemical residue during grooming.
Ask at your local garden centre for non-toxic and pet-friendly alternatives.
Slug pellets and rat poison is also very poisonous to cats. Keep these out of paw reach and search for non-toxic alternatives online instead.
Signs of cat poisoning include:
If your cat displays any of these signs after ingestion, contact your local vet immediately, this is urgent.
A good spring clean is ideal for getting rid of old dirt and dust. Just be sure to keep a close eye on any cleaning stuff!
Don't leave your cleaning products out or open on the kitchen counter or worktop. A cheeky cat may swipe substances onto the floor and accidentally come into contact with chemicals.
Spring cleaning is also great for protecting your kitty against parasites by eliminating any potential bugs and fleas in your home.
Whilst you're cleaning, it’s good practice to use an environmental flea spray in the home to kill any live fleas, eggs and larvae.
I recommend Indorex Defence Household Flea Spray. It is an approved insecticide that's very effective and safe to use in the home.
A 500ml spray is enough to treat an average-size three-bedroom house!
What’s more, It provides up to 12 months of environmental flea control in a single can.
Make sure you keep your cat in another room for over 30 minutes after spraying.
Even better if you can remove your cat from the home entirely, whilst you spray!
As a vet nurse, I’m a huge advocate of preventative healthcare, which includes preventing fleas, worms and ticks.
Although parasites are a year-round problem, they become more prevalent as summer approaches and the temperatures.
Whilst parasites pose many risks to cats; you must also be super careful when it comes to choosing a treatment.
Permethrin is an insecticide commonly found in many spot-on flea treatments for dogs which can be purchased over the counter.
Most cases of cat poisoning occur when their owner has mistakenly used a dog product on them!
Luckily, the cats I have nursed in this situation have all survived. But occasionally, it was touch and go and required a lot of hard work from the vet team to heal them back to good health.
Signs of poisoning include:
If you suspect your cat has poisoning from flea medication, please contact your vet immediately as a matter of urgency.
If you want a flea and tick treatment that's UK Veterinary Licensed and approved by our in-house veterinary team, click below.
Overall, spring really is a delightful season, especially after those cold, long dark winter days!
Don't let these dangers discourage you from getting out there and enjoying the beautiful outdoors with your cats.
Remember to bookmark this blog and make a mental note of all these potential threats to protect your kitty this season.
Stay connected with us on social media below or visit our Buddyhub for valuable tips and support to keep your cat safe this spring and beyond.