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Adult Cat Information Package


We are extremely proud of our clinic and of our team consisting of over 20 caring and experienced staff. We are dedicated to providing excellence in care for our patients and their families since 1972. Our entire team cares deeply for your pet and will treat them with caring hands and a tender voice; their comfort and well-being is why we are here every day.

We are also very involved in our community through our popular Junior Vet program which has been running since 2003, and wildlife triage that we offer at no cost. We are delighted to be one of the veterinary clinics providing patient care for the Northumberland Humane Society. 

Please check out our website at for more information on these programs and on our clinic and staff. We look forward to being your other family doctor!

Beyond What You See

Both Doctors and Staff have your pet's best interest at heart and strive to make their stay with us as pleasant as possible. We encourage you to accompany your pet to their kennel to allow you the opportunity to see where they will stay and to help them to settle in. Every pet has his or her own separate kennel or run, furnished with a clean, dry, comfy towel or blanket. If your pet has a "special toy” or “security blanket" feel free to bring it in with them.

If your pet is to have a general anesthetic we would like you to know that we minimize the risks by providing exemplary care during their stay. We highly recommend a pre-anesthetic blood screen prior to a general anesthetic. Just as your doctor would run a blood test before your procedure we do the same for your pet. A pre-anesthetic blood test is like an internal physical exam that will check organ function and help identify unknown diseases. For this blood work, we collect a small sample of blood that is sent to an outside lab. Blood work must be submitted at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Veterinarians will do a physical exam the morning of surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy before undergoing general anesthetic. Patients are assessed individually to determine which anesthetics will be safest for them. We have anesthetics available for all ages, from the very young to our senior patients. We also carry anesthetics specific to our work with exotic pets.

The doctors adhere to strict sterile techniques, complete with a cap, mask, sterile gown, and gloves when performing surgery. A separate sterile surgical pack is used for each procedure to avoid infection and cross-contamination. The animals are surgically prepared both at their incision and intravenous sites. This involves first shaving the hair, then cleaning the skin with antibacterial solutions.

Prior to the anesthetic, every animal is placed on intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids are important to help maintain optimal blood pressure during surgery as well as provide access that will allow us to administer drugs if an anesthetic emergency arises.

While under anesthesia, every pet is connected to a Cardell monitor for carbon dioxide, blood pressure, and heart monitoring. Each pet is provided with a warming blanket to manage its temperature during the anesthetic. As well, our Registered Veterinary Technicians continually assess the animals, during both the anesthetic and recovery periods. During recovery one of our technicians or assistants sit with your pet to comfort them as they recover from the anesthetic.

We are acutely aware of the level of pain of our patients and have very current protocols in place to help manage their pain while in the hospital as well medications for use at home to keep them comfortable.

Uncomplicated surgery cases are discharged the same day. This allows the animal to rest at home, which is usually less stressful for both patient and owner. We do keep some animals overnight if they require bandaging after surgery. We recommend that more complicated cases be transferred to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Whitby for overnight observation.

If you have any questions or would like to tour our facility, please ask any one of our staff members. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we strive to provide the best service possible for you and your pet.

Ways to Encourage Your Cat to Drink Water

1. Provide fresh, cold water every day. Cats seem to be very aware of the temperature and taste of water.

2. Make sure the water bowl is filled to the brim at all times. Cats have very sensitive whiskers and do not like putting their face into a bowl.

3. Use a large size bowl, a size that their whiskers will not touch the edges when drinking.

4. Some cats do not like the taste of tap water. You might wish to:

Refrigerate the tap water to improve its taste

Try Brita (filtered) water

Try distilled water

Try bottled water

Try a few types and see what your cat prefers

5. Some cats will drink more water if a drop or two of tuna juice (tuna in water or clam juice) is provided. If you try this, always make sure a separate bowl of fresh water is available.

6. Some cats enjoy ice cubes made from flavored broth (tuna or salmon juice mixed with water and frozen).

7. If your cat prefers to drink from a tap, make sure it can always get to the tap (don’t lock it out of the bathroom if that is where it likes to drink). If your schedule permits, turn the tap on for the cat as often as possible throughout the day. Water fountains can be purchased for cats that like fresh, moving water.

8. Keep the food and water bowls away from the litter box area.

9. Cats do not associate eating with drinking. When water bowls and food bowls are placed close together, food particles can get into the water bowl, making the water dirty and less palatable. Keep water bowls away from food bowls.

10. Keep the water bowl clean (cats have a keen sense of smell and are easily turned off by odors on the edge of the bowl). Stainless steel or ceramic dishes are easier to keep clean and odor free vs. plastic dishes. The water dish should be washed at least every other day if possible.

11. Some cats seem to prefer a clear, shallow glass bowl from which to drink (experiment with different water bowls).

12. Canned food is an excellent way to encourage water consumption because it is high in water content and most cats love the taste. It can always be warmed up in the microwave to enhance its smell for the fussy cat. Try to feed at least some canned food two to three times a day. You can also slowly add water to the canned food.

How to Tell if Your Cat Is In Pain

Cats can often hide the fact that they are in pain. This may be because in the wild, cats that appear sick or injured are vulnerable to predators. However, studies show that cats feel pain just like we do, but just can’t tell us about it.

Cat pain can be caused by such things as; arthritis, dental disease, urinary tract infections and cancer.  Discomfort can also occur following a surgical procedure.

You are in the best position to look for the subtle changes in behavior that may indicate your cat is experiencing pain. It is important to stay alert, because the sooner your cat’s pain is diagnosed and treated, the sooner he or she can heal and resume a normal, happy life.

If your cat shows any of these behaviors and you suspect that pain may be the cause, please let us know immediately.


In a previously quiet cat

  • Meowing

  • Purring

  • Hissing

  • Growling


  • Licking

  • Biting

  • Scratching a particular part of the body


  • Restless

  • Reluctant to move

  • Difficulty getting up from a laying position

  • Repetitively gets up and lies down

  • Trembles or shakes

  • Limps

  • Can't leap as high

  • Seeks more affection

  • Avoids being petted or handled

  • Hides


  • Grimaces, furrowed brow, vacant stare

  • Glazed, wide-eyed or looks sleepy

  • Enlarged pupils

  • Flattened ears

  • Pants when at rest


  • Protects a part of the body

  • Doesn't put weight on a limb

  • Doesn't want to be held or picked up


Especially a previous friendly cat

  • Acts out of character

  • Growls, hisses, bites

  • Pins ears back


  • Decreased appetite

  • Withdraws from social interaction

  • Changes in sleeping or drinking

  • Fails to use the litter box

  • Urinates frequently

  • Won't groom or grooms less, looks unkept

  • Sleeps more


  • Lays in a different position

  • Arches back or tucks in abdomen


Never administer pain medications to your cat without consulting your veterinarian. Some human pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), are poisonous and can be fatal to cats.

Different types of pain require different types of treatment. After diagnosing the problem, we will explain the benefits, risks and costs associated with each option. That way, together we can choose the treatment plan that best meets the needs of you and your cat.

Whenever you have a question or concern about your cat’s health, please call us!

Pain Scale - Chronic and/or Acute

Pets feel pain in the same way and for many of the same reasons as humans. Infections, dental problems, arthritis, cancer, and surgical procedures can cause discomfort just as they would in us. Unfortunately, unlike humans, they are unable to speak to us about when and where they hurt. For this reason we have developed a system to help identify signs that could mean pain in your pet and put them on a scale in order to provide your pet with optimal relief and comfort.

If your pet appears to be showing any of these signs please let us know, and together we will decide how we can best relieve their discomfort. Please be aware that pets can be very subtle about showing pain. A wagging tail or a purring cat does not mean that your pet is not uncomfortable.

Pain Scale - LEVEL ZERO - No Pain

  • May have increased heart rate in the clinic due to stress

  • No abnormal behaviors

Pain Scale - LEVEL ONE – Mild Pain

  • May have increased heart rate in clinic due to stress

  • Still may have no abnormal behaviors

  • May just not be themselves but no specific signs

  • May have a change in attitude

  • May have a change in ability to jump, sit or climb stairs

  • Possibly sllightly tense

  • Possibly slightly anxious

  • Possibly more needy and attention seeking

  • Slight change in gait

Pain Scale - LEVEL TWO – Moderate Pain

Can have any of the attributes from stage one PLUS

  • Possible increased heart rate due to pain

  • Possible change in facial expression

  • Possibly abnormally quiet, less interactive, withdrawn from family

  • Sometimes hiding

  • Possible shaking/trembling

  • Possible change in eating/sleeping patterns

  • Can be limping but still weight bearing

  • Reluctance to be touched in painful area; protects area

  • Sometimes panting

  • Sometimes restless

  • Can lay down but not sleep restfully

  • Posible inappropiate litter box habits in cats

Pain Scale – LEVEL THREE - Severe Pain

Can have any of the attributes from stage two PLUS

  • Sometimes crying/howling

  • Sometimes aggressive when not normally

  • Can be reluctant to be touched anywhere

  • Sometimes dilated pupils

  • Can be non weight bearing if limb affected

  • Increased respirrespiratory rate

  • Sometimes increased blood pressure

  • Sometimes increased temptemperature

  • Soetimes excessive panting

Pain Scale – LEVEL FOUR – Extreme Pain

Can have any of the attributes from stage three PLUS

  • Can be extremely vocal; crying/howling

  • Non responsive to comforting

  • May be unaware of surroundings

  • Shocky; pale gums

  • Likel recumpent


Pain associated with dental disease can be significant just as it can in us. However, because dental pain often comes on over long periods of time, your pet may not show the signs you would expect to indicate a high level of discomfort. Again, your pet feels pain the same way we do, and a tooth abscess or periodontal disease can be extremely uncomfortable. Below, we have listed the average pain scale associated with the different stages of dental disease:

  • Stage I Dental Disease - mild gingivitis and tartar build up

Pain Scale = zero to one (no pain to mild pain)

  • Stage II Dental Disease - significant ginigivitis and tartar build up

Pain Scale = one (mild pain)

Stage III Dental Disease - early stages of periodical disease

Pain Scale = two (moderate pain)

Stage IV Dental Disease - significant periodontal disease or broken teeth or some resorptive lesions..

Pain Scale = three (severe pain)


There are over 2,000 species of flea. The most common species we deal with is called the cat flea, but is found on both cats and dogs. Fleas are responsible for causing a variety of problems from itching and skin infections to allergic skin reactions and the spread of tapeworms.


The flea life cycle ranges from 16 days to 1 year. The female lays her eggs on the pet following a blood meal, and may lay several hundred eggs in her lifetime. These eggs fall off the pet to contaminate bedding, floors, carpets, etc. and the outside environment. Eggs hatch in approximately 7 days and the larvae eat organic debris (mostly adult flea feces).  After 4 to 14 days they form a pupa and in as little as 14 or more days the pupa hatch in response to vibration and higher carbon dioxide levels in the household or environment. The adult flea represents only a small percentage of the population in your home and environment as adults only live for 7 to 17 days. The majority of the flea population that will be in your home is in the egg, larval and pupal stages.

Fortunately, only 5% of a flea infestation is on your pet… Unfortunately, the other 95% is in your home!

5% of fleas are typically present as adults on the pet and begin laying eggs 24-48 hours after finding a host.

95% of fleas are present as developing adults (50% eggs, 35% larvae and 10% pupae) and they can be found on your sofa, bed, carpets and other places throughout your home. They can continue to hatch out for up to one year. Therefore, treating a flea infestation can take up to one year.



  • oral tablet that lasts 12 weeks

  • starts to kill fleas within 2 hours and 100% of the fleas are killed within 24 hours

  • kills 97% of ticks within 12 hours

  • for prevention five every 12 weeks

  • works from the inside out can be administered to dogs who are in close contact with cats

  • can be used in pregnant or nursing dogs

  • do not use in dogs under 6 months of age or under 2 kg in weight

  • combined with Interceptor provides excellent flea, tick, and parasite control



  • prevents flea infestation and heartworm disease by killing the flea egg and also the immature form of heartworm in the bloodstream

  • helps keep intestinal parasites under control

  • the pet must have a negative heartworm test before giving the tablets and should be tested yearly after that

  • give 1 tablet on the same day each month, (with a full meal), year-round to prevent fleas, heartworm, and intestinal parasite

  • if you are taking your pet south in the winter please contact our office about requirements for flea and heartworm prevention

  • all pets in the household must be treated



  • prevents flea infestation, heartworm disease, ear mites and a treatment of some internal and external parasites

  • apply contents of 1 tube onto the skin at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades once monthly year-round

  • breaks the flea cycle at 3 stages... effective against adult fleas, eggs and larvae

  • for the treatment and control of ear mites in cats and dogs

  • has been proven safe for adult dogs and cats as well as breeding dogs and cats and puppies and kittens six weeks of age or older

  • bathing or shampooing will not affect the product as long as bathing is done at least two hours after applying

  • the fur should be dry when Revolution is applied

  • your dog must have a negative heartworm test before applying and should be tested yearly after that

  • all pets in the household must be treated


ADVANTAGE MULTI (Topical) for Treatment/Control (DOGS and CATS)

  • once monthly topical applications for dogs and cats

  • for the treatment and control of roundworms and hookworms in cats and dogs

  • an aid in the treatment and control of the adult stage of whipworms in dogs

  • heartworm prevention in cats and dogs

  • your dog must have a negative heartworm test before applying and should be treated yearly after that

  • proven flea protection in dogs and cats (remains on the skin to kill adult fleas fast with no biting required)

  • for the treatment and control of ear mites in cats and dogs

  • for the treatment and control of sarcoptic mange mites in dogs

  • shampooing or bathing 90 minutes after treatment does not reduce effectiveness in heartworm prevention

  • all pets in the household must be treated


ADVANTAGE (Topical) For Treatment/Prevention (DOGS and CATS)

  • once monthly topical liquid for dogs or cats which distributes on the surface of the skin at the hair root level to kill adult fleas on contact

  • apply directly to the skin on the back of the neck, or in the case of large dogs also along the back

  • all pets in the household must be treated

  • shampooing of the pet may shorten the duration of the flea protection, therefore, re-apply after shampooing

  • if re-treatment is necessary earlier than the four weeks, do not re-treat more than once weekly

  • do not use on nursing animals or pets under 8 weeks of age


CAPSTAR (Tablets) For Treatment (DOGS and CATS)

  • oral tablet

  • kills adult fleas starting within 15 minutes, kills 98% of adult fleas on the pet within 6 hours, 100% within 24 hrs

  • works by interfering with the nerve transmission of the flea

  • use twice weekly until you no longer see adult fleas

  • may be used as often as daily if required, does not affect your pet or humans

  • Capstar does not stay in the body for more than 24 to 48 hours

  • may be used in puppies and kittens over 4 weeks of age and 1 kg body weight


If you have any questions about the products we recommend or about "store bought" products, please don't hesitate to contact our office

Choosing the Best Nutrition for Your Pet

Superior nutrition is as critical for pets as it is for people. It is important that your pet receives the benefit of a scientifically based diet for optimal health. With so many different options available, choosing the right food for your dog or cat can be a challenge.

A nutritional expert was recently quoted as saying, “there are three things that can influence how long your pet will live: heredity, environment and nutrition. The one that owners can influence most is what they choose to feed their pet.” Your veterinary team is the best source for accurate information about nutrition for your pet. We have your pet’s medical history and can work with you in choosing the appropriate diet, the amounts to feed and can monitor your pet’s response to their new diet.

Our veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians and support staff are continuously updating their knowledge of diets and nutrition. The diets we recommend are produced in processing facilities that have advanced safety standards and have had feeding trials performed. Feeding trials are the gold standard to determine how a pet will perform when fed a specific food.

Do not be misled by marketing tools that have no science or testing behind them. Recently there has been an influx of “natural”, “organic” or “holistic” dog and cat foods to choose from. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the lack of science behind these claims.

For example:


There is a myth that the terms natural and organic are interchangeable. This is not true. True organic foods must comply with Agri-Food Canada’s very strict regulations. This is an expensive process and there are few if any truly organic pet foods available.


The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates pet food in the USA, but unfortunately in Canada this is only used as a guideline, and is not a requirement. According to AAFCO the term “natural” requires that a pet food consist only of ingredients without chemical alterations.  In Canada, however, the term “natural” is not required to be proven nor is it policed to ensure it is an accurate claim.


There is no legal definition of this term in pet foods. Any manufacturer can make claims of “holistic” in their literature (including web sites) regardless of diet content. Unfortunately it means nothing.

Human Grade

Claims that a product contains ingredients that are human-grade quality. It can be a misleading term since there is no policing of pet food content to ensure this is in fact so.

Things to consider when choosing a new diet:


Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Generally meats are listed first as they contain a lot of water and therefore weigh more. The ingredient list is not nearly as important as the quality and nutritional value of each individual ingredient.

Guaranteed Analysis

This is the list of ingredients on the side of the bag of food provided as a guide to consumers. It is virtually impossible to compare foods by using the guaranteed analysis. It is the nutritional value of each ingredient blended together that delivers a product specific for a pet’s age or condition. You could do a guaranteed analysis on an old leather boot that would compare to the guaranteed analysis of some pet foods. Obviously an old leather boot is not a digestible item, but unfortunately digestibility is not listed on the label.

All” Life Stage diets

Although they sound convenient, most of these diets are formulated for puppies since they have the highest nutritional requirements. However a diet like this should not be used for mature or senior dogs, as they can be dangerously high in protein if an older dog is starting to have kidney trouble, and are also not properly balanced in calories and minerals. 

By Products

Foods that list by-products are not necessarily inferior products. By-products are commonly used in both human and pet foods and can include nutrient rich organ meats, ground bones, skin and some meat. It does not include beaks, feet and feathers as some people are led to believe. By-products are simply ingredients produced in the making of something else (i.e. when Vitamin E is extracted from soybeans the soybean meal that is left over is a highly nutritious by-product.)

Formulated vs. Feeding Trials

If a pet food label states that the food is “formulated” for a specific life stage it indicates that it is unlikely to have had a feeding trial done. Feeding trials are the Gold Standard for determining nutritional adequacy; therefore we sell only foods that have had feeding trials done i.e. veterinary diets made by Royal Canin and Hills.

The Corn Myth and Grain Free Diets

Recently foods with corn as a carbohydrate ingredient have been getting negative reviews. It is important to know that corn, as it is provided in high quality foods such as the veterinary Royal Canin diet is one of the best sources of grain protein, omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Corn causes no more allergies in pets than other grains. Grains can be an excellent source of nutrition for omnivores like dogs. Grain free diets that are marketed frequently use potatoes as their source of carbohydrate, since carbohydrates are a necessary component of a well-balanced canine diet.


The veterinary diets that we recommend, Royal Canin and Hills, have a very rigorous screening requirement to assure the safety and quality of their ingredients. Royal Canin diets use a high tech spectrophotometer to test each ingredient before they are allowed to enter the plant. A recent study indicated that little has been done to improve the safety of many other pet foods on the Canadian market.

Raw Diets

There has been an abundance of unsubstantiated information regarding alternative foods available for pets on the Internet and other sources. However, pet owners should be aware of the facts if they are considering an alternative food for their pets:

A- there is no scientific data to support beliefs commonly held by raw food supporters (bones and raw food); that feeding raw is “better” for your pet.

B- some raw food recipes contain excessive or insufficient levels of protein, calcium and phosphorus.

C- raw foods pose a potential hazard for food poisoning and bacterial (Salmonella) contamination for both humans and animals. Pets eating raw food can become carriers of these deadly bacteria and can accidentally transmit them to children, the elderly, or any person with a poor immune system, sometimes with very serious consequences.

D- in one study 90% of home made pet diets were found to be nutritionally unbalanced.

E- bones can cause intestinal blockage and fractured teeth.


A lot of people believe that veterinary diets are more expensive than pet store foods. This is often not the case. Ask us about cost per day and feeding amounts. Many of our diets are comparable to and in some cases cheaper than pet store diets.

Prescription Diets

We may recommend a specific veterinary diet for your pet depending on their medical diagnosis (i.e. pancreatitis, lower urinary tract disease.) In these cases please strictly follow your veterinarian’s diet recommendations. Do not be tempted by pet store or grocery store brands that claim to do what a veterinary prescription diet can do. Since there is no policing of pet foods in Canada, often these diets have not had any feeding trials done to prove that they do what they claim.

Why are Royal Canin Veterinary diets our number one recommendation?

We have made Royal Canin Veterinary diets our number one recommendation for a number of reasons.

  • All Royal Canin Veterinary diets have under-gone feeding trials

  • Ingredients are of excellent quality

  • Safety standards are unsurpassed

  • All of their diets are manufactured at their plant in Guelph, Ontario and 60% of their ingredients are purchased from Canadian farms.

  • Several of our staff have visited the Royal Canin plant to assure ourselves that Royal Canin Veterinary diets are produced with pristine quality control measures and with outstanding science based nutritional content.

We were very happy with the dedication the Royal Canin Veterinary diet team demonstrated in fulfilling our requirements and since this visit have used Royal Canin as our trusted primary veterinary diet provider.

We believe that proper nutrition for your pet from their baby to their senior years is of vital importance. We know you want to provide superior nutrition for your pet, and encourage you to ask any of our team members if you have questions regarding diet.

Please let us help you keep your pet healthy and happy!

“Let Food Be Your First Medicine” (Hippocrates)

Adult Feline Schedule


  • Full physical examination & consultation

  • Recommend FeLV/FIV test (Feline Leukemia Virus/ Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) - recommended for all outdoor cats or cats with a previous history of being outdoors

  • Recommend general Wellness blood test - (screens for general health and any underlying conditions, providing a baseline for future reference)

  • Vaccinations = FVRCP (Feline viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici, Panleukopenia (distemper) plus Rabies

  • +/- Vaccination = FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) - if there is a high risk of exposure (i.e. outdoor cats).

  • Recommend flea protection (June 1 - November 1)

  • Recommend diet consult

  • Recommend fecal analysis for parasites

  • +/- Deworming

  • Dental discussion/assessment


  • +/- Booster vaccination – FeLV and  FVRCP if needed


  • Full physical examination & consultation

  • Vaccination - FVRCP plus Rebies

  • Vaccination - FeLV - if outdoors

  • Flea protection - especially if outdoors

  • Fecal analysis for parasites

  • +/- Deworming

  • Diet Consult


  • Microchipping may be done at any time

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Urine produced in a healthy urinary tract contains a great deal of dissolved minerals.  In cats with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), mineral crystals collect in the urinary tract, especially the bladder and its outflow tract (urethra). The accumulating crystals irritate the lining of the urinary tract and may clump together to form "stones" in the bladder or obstruct the outflow or urine. Obstructions are relatively common in male cats and may be fatal if not treated promptly.

Signs of FLUTD include excessive licking of the genitalia, frequent voiding of small amounts of urine, urinating in unusual locations, blood in the urine, straining or evidence of pain during urination and unproductive attempts to urinate. Total urinary obstruction results in depression, lack of appetite, vomiting and eventually coma and death.

Despite intense study, no single cause for FLUTD has been discovered. We are, however, aware of several factors that may lead to FLUTD. These factors include bacterial and viral infections, diet, obesity, reduced physical activity, low water consumption and prolonged urine retention. Surgical neutering does not cause FLUTD.

Important Points in Treatment

FLUTD is an emergency and prompt treatment is essential.  Many cats require hospitalization for treatment. Treatment is designed to relieve the obstruction, flush the crystalline material from the urinary tract, treat any infections, correct any fluid imbalances and institute preventive dietary therapy. Despite treatment, some cats die from irreversible kidney damage.

Dietary control is essential to treatment and prevention of FLUTD. Veterinary prescription diets designed to treat or prevent FLUTD contain minimum magnesium levels and cause increased water consumption and production of acidic urine.  Neither ash content nor magnesium levels alone are responsible for this disorder. Grocery or pet store "Low Ash" diets may not have sufficiently low magnesium levels to help prevent FLUTD. Urine pH is the most relevant factor in the management of FLUTD. Producing urine with the correct PH helps to prevent the formation of mineral crystals. The best diets for preventing FLUTD are “Royal Canin Urinary S/O" and “Hill’s c/d”, feeding half canned food and half dry food.  These diets are only available as prescription diets through your veterinary clinic.  Please ask us about them. 

Notify the Veterinarian if Any of the Following Occur:

  • Your cat strains and/or cries when urinating

  • Your cat frequently passes small volumes of urine

  • Your cat has blood in the urine or urinates in off places

  • Your cat refuses to eat, seems depressed or vomits

Happy Cat Transport

More than half of cat owners report that the reason they don’t bring their cat to the vet is due to the stress of the trip and transport. Neither pet owners nor cats appreciate trying to wrestle the cat into a kennel and driving to the clinic with the cat yowling in the back seat.  But it is important for cats to get annual health examinations, appropriate vaccinations and treatment when they are sick. Here are some tips for making these trips a bit easier for you and your feline friend.

  • Leave your cat’s carrier out even when you are not using it. Cats like areas where they can hide, and they can get accustomed to the carrier and treat it as a bed, not a torture device.

  • Leave toys and soft bedding inside the carrier to make your cat as comfortable as possible. Familiar scents are reassuring to your cat. Feed special treats in the kennel.

  • Once your cat is secured in the carrier, place a towel over the carrier to block out any scary sights.

  • While driving, try to avoid abrupt starts, stops and turns, and reduce the noise (honking, music, etc.) as much as possible.

  • To get your cat used to trips, try taking a drive around a couple of blocks and then returning home. The carrier and the car shouldn’t always be about the vet clinic.  Try to feed special treats while driving to associate positive feelings with the carrier.

  • Make sure you are using the right size of kennel. Also, kennels that allow access from the sides and from the top (or allow the top to be removed) can make taking your cat in and out of the kennel easier and less stressful.

  • Feliway is a pheromone that can be used to decrease “environmental anxiety”. The pheromone used is a “territorial” pheromone naturally produced by cats. It allows a cat to confirm an object (like its kennel) as safe and secure. It is available in a spray or a wipe.

Remember it is important that your cat be seen for a health examination yearly (or more often, depending on its age and medical condition). Cats age differently; remember each year a cat goes without going to the vet is like you not seeing your doctor for seven years!

Indoor Pet Initiative

There is now a wonderful resource website, designed by veterinarians for owners of indoor cats. This website highlights many topics that range from introducing your cat to the household to information on issues that may arise throughout a cats life. The topics that this website covers include:

  • Basic Indoor Cat Needs

    • Making your house cat friendly

    • Education regarding feline idiosyncrasies

    • Litter boxes - types, sizes, numbers, etc.

    • Scratching - how to encourage "proper" scratching

  • Getting off to a good start

    • Introducing your new cat to their new home 

  • The needs of an Indoor cat

    • Sleeping, eating, and socialization habits

    • Grooming

    • Hiding instinct

    • predatory stressors and territories

  • Stressors

    • New people or pets

    • Moving

    • Holidays and other events around the house

    • Veterinary visits

    • Traveling, etc

  • Behavior/ Anxiety issues

    • Spraying/marking/inappropriate urination

    • Separation anxiety

    • Conflicts between cats

    • Increasing activity

  • Enrichment

    • Activities/playing

    • Toys

    • Creating areas for your cat

  • The Safe Cat Checklist

  • The Lost Cat Checklist

We hope that you can find this website very resourceful, but always remember if you are worried about a specific issue that you can feel free to call us at any time.

You can find this website courtesy of Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine @

Feline House-Soiling - Useful Information for Cat Owners


1. Environmental and Social Factors

Cats by nature are very clean and need adequate unsoiled locations to eliminate, especially in a multi-cat household. Some cats may avoid using a litter box located in a high traffic area or near cat doors or flaps.  In a multi-cat household, the presence of a more dominant cat near the litter box area may cause a less confident cat to seek out other places for elimination.  House-soiling may occur if a cat had a negative experience while it was in or near the litter box (e.g. someone administered medications, family members or children trapped a cat in the box for any reason, a dirty litter box, or even being startled by sudden noises from nearby furnaces or other loud appliances).

2. Marking Behavior

Urine spraying is a normal part of feline behavior in which a cat marks to leave its scent. Marking behaviors can include scratching, rubbing, urine spraying, and middening (depositing feces). Unneutered male cats and most unspayed females will mark as part of their sexual behavior. Spaying and neutering dramatically reduces this behavior. Anxiety-related marking occurs in response to a change in the cat’s environment, especially the core area where the cat eats, sleeps, and plays.  Cats often target items with new or unrecognized smells such as backpacks and shoes. Marking behavior that starts at windows and doors usually suggests that the perceived threat is coming from outside the home. Marking in stairways, hallways, doorways, or the center of rooms usually indicates stress or threats from inside the home, such as other pets or new people in the household, active children, or remodeling.

3. Medical Causes and Problems

Medical issues can cause a cat to exhibit behavior changes such as house-soiling. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose or rule out any medical conditions that could be a factor in the house-soiling behavior.

Every cat that starts to house-soil requires a thorough physical examination and urinalysis to check for medical problems such as infections, cystitis, arthritis, kidney problems, diabetes, and other medical issues.

If your veterinarian believes the house-soiling behavior is caused by a medical reason, he or she may perform additional tests such as a urine culture, abdominal radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, complete blood count, and biochemical profile. Digital rectal exams or fecal testing may be needed for cases of house-soiling with feces.

4. Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is a frequent medical cause of house-soiling. Cats suffering from FIC have increased frequency of urination, difficulty and pain when urinating, and can have blood in their urine. This inflammatory condition can increase and decrease in severity over time and is aggravated by stress, changes in diet, and other issues.


The design and management of the litter box are critical for encouraging acceptable toileting habits. When house-soiling occurs always evaluate the litter box. Designing the Optimal Litter Box

Number – The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box for each cat, plus one extra box in multiple locations around your home. Socially affiliated cats, which are two or more cats that are familiar to each other, share a territory, and exhibit behaviors such as grooming, playing, or resting together, may be more willing to share litter boxes. Because more than one social group may occur in a home, providing adequate resources for each group is important to decrease the chance of adverse behaviors.

Location – Take a look at the floor plan of your home and where your litter boxes are located: Avoid placing food and water close to the litter box.  Cats usually prefer quiet, private places. Avoid busy areas of the home and locations where a cat could be cornered in, blocked off, or unable to flee. Cats can be cornered in the litter box so they are unable to flee (e.g. if the box is in a closet or small room where another cat can block the exit). If one cat prevents another cat’s access to the litter box (e.g. the box is down a hallway or in a room where another cat can block entry), it can be very stressful and cause the cat to house-soil because the victim is avoiding or cannot get to that location.  Keep the litter boxes apart in different locations because your cat considers boxes close to each other one large litter box.  If a cat is toileting away from its box, try placing an additional litter box at the new site (temporarily or permanently) to get the cat using a box again.  In a multi-level home, place a litter box on each level. If you have an older cat, place a litter box on the level where the cat spends the most time, as it may not be easy for the cat to go up and down stairs each time it needs to use the box. Size – In general, bigger is better and many commercial litter boxes are too small. Litter boxes should be 1.5 times the length of the cat from the nose to the base of the tail. Suitable alternatives can include concrete mixing trays or storage containers. You can place the lid behind the box to protect the wall. Older cats need a low entry so you can cut down the side but inspect for any sharp edges.

Litter – If your cat is exhibiting house-soiling behaviors, you may need to try different types of litter until the cat indicates its preference. For preference evaluation, provide multiple boxes with different litters and variable litter depths.  Many cats dislike aromatic or dusty litters, litter deodorizers, and box liners. Most cats prefer soft unscented clumping litters.

Managing the Litter Box – Remove waste at a minimum of once per day and add litter as needed. Wash the litter box every 1-4 weeks using soap and hot water only. Avoid strong chemicals or any ammonia-based products.

Remove Marking Triggers

Neuter or spay your cat to physiologically eliminate sexually-related marking behavior.

Restrict the potential threat of other cats; outdoor roaming cats encroaching on the household can act as triggers. Tips: if the resident cat resides indoors only (never goes outside), use motion activated water sprinklers to make the yard unattractive to feline visitors. Laying plastic carpet protectors upside down in front of sliding glass doors creates an uncomfortable surface and may dissuade other cats from sitting close to the house and intimidating your cat.  Remove or block cat doors that allow roaming cats to enter the household. Tip: use microchip- or magnet-operated devices to only allow access to your cat.

Cleaning urine-marked areas frequently will reduce a cat’s habit of refreshing its scent on the marking site. Use a black light (UV) to find soiled areas. Clean affected areas with a good quality urine odor and stain remover according to the type of surface that the cat has soiled. Test products on an inconspicuous area first and clean a sufficiently large area to remove the odor, which may be up to three times the size of the soiled area. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, which smell like urine to a cat.

Enrichment Checklist

This Feline Enrichment Checklist is a great checklist for indoor cats and helps to insure they will thrive and be fulfilled in an indoor environment.

Basic Resources

  • Are basics provided in a convenient location that provides safety and some privacy during use (ie, away from appliances or machinery that could start unexpectedly?)

  • Does each cat have its own food bowl?

  • Does each cat have its own water bowl?

  • Does each cat have its own litter box in a well ventilated location (1 litter box per cat +1)?

  • Is the litter kept clean and scooped as soon as possible after use or at least daily?

  • Is unscented clumping litter used?

  • Are containers washed weekly with plain soap or a mild, unscented detergent, such as dishwashing liquid?

  • If a new resource is provided, is it placed next to the familiar one so the cat can choose whether or not to use it?

Structural Features

  • Can each cat move about freely, exploring, climbing, stretching, and playing when (if) it chooses?

  • Are climbing structures or opportunities provided?

  • Does each cat have its own scratching post?

  • Does each cat have its own resting area?

  • Does each cat have a “perch” so it can look down on its surroundings?

  • Is a radio or television on when the cat is home alone?

Social Contact

  • Does each cat have the opportunity to engage in play with other animals or the owner if it chooses on a daily basis?

  • Do you spend individual time petting each cat? (If yes, for how many minutes?)

  • Do you spend individual time playing with each cat? (If yes, for how long?)

Body Care & Activity

  • Does each cat have toys that mimic quickly moving prey?

  • Does each cat have toys that can be picked up, carried, and tossed in the air?

  • Are toys rotated on a regular basis (at least weekly) to provide novelty?