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Cat with open mouth and claws extended

Aggressive cats

Living with a cat that loves nothing better than to ambush your legs, or attack you when you try to stroke it can be very unpleasant and often extremely painful! Treatment of aggressive behaviour can be very successful; however, it does require understanding of why the cat is motivated to show aggression.

Read Aggressive cats
Owner holding up treat for cat

Basic training for cats

Thousands of cats end up parting company with their owners every year, often due to behaviours that the owners consider problematic: such as scratching the furniture, jumping into places that owners would prefer them not to (e.g. the baby's cot) and scratching and/or biting their owners. Basic training with your cat may help prevent such problems and improve your relationship with your cat. For a long time, many people thought it was not possible to train cats, but in fact they can learn in the same manner as dogs.

Read Basic training for cats
Kitten sitting in grass

Cat behaviour

Cats are very special creatures and, despite the best efforts of humans, are not that far removed from their wild ancestors. They have a large range of behaviour patterns and a secret language of their own. So whilst we bring them into our homes and try to tame them they do tend to continue to know their own mind and 'do their own thing'! Understanding why they behave the way they do can help you develop strategies to persuade your cat to do things the way you want.

Read Cat behaviour
Kitchen scratching at sofa

Destructive cats

Does your cat scratch at the furniture, chew your belongings, dig up your plant pots or steal food? If the answer is yes, your beloved pet might be trying to get your attention, creating its own fun, or expressing anxiety. As there are many reasons for destructive behaviours, you must first understand why your cat is being destructive if you are to stop it.

Read Destructive cats

Firework fear

Although it appears to be rare in cats as compared to dogs, it is thought that they can often be afraid of fireworks. It is not surprising that animals are scared of fireworks since they are very loud (up to 150 decibels). Sounds this loud can be physically painful as well as inducing fear. Fear behaviour in cats is often more subtle (e.g. retreating and hiding) and may go unnoticed. However, hiding is an adaptive response for cats and allowing them to hide when they are stressed can make them feel better.

Read Firework fear
Scared cat hiding behind furniture

Noise phobias

If your cat is afraid of loud or sudden noises life can be miserable for both of you. Thunderstorms can become a major trauma and unless you live in a remote part of the country there is almost no way of avoiding fireworks. These loud sounds can turn your pet into a nervous wreck. There are some simple tips to make the whole experience more bearable for you both, but to find a solution to the problem you will need to seek some expert help.

Read Noise phobias

Scratching in the house

Claw scratching is a normal feline behaviour. However, the occurrence of this behaviour indoors can be very unpleasant for the owner as it can cause expensive damage. Scratching indoors may indicate that the cat does not feel completely secure in its surroundings. In order to stop this destructive behaviour the owner must first understand why their cat is scratching in the house.

Read Scratching in the house
Cat marking territory in garden

Spraying: urine marking in the house

Cats are usually meticulous in their toileting habits and seldom soil or mark indoors. It is not surprising that when your cat does do this you may be upset and unsure about what to do. Understanding why cats can sometimes soil in the house may help to tackle the problem. In most cases this occurs because the cat is anxious or unsettled.

Read Spraying: urine marking in the house
Stressed cat with arched back and raised fur

Stress in cats

A number of factors can cause cats stress. Such factors include moving house, a new member of the family (a new baby or a new animal joining the household) or something of shorter duration such as a visit to the vets. It is important to be able to recognise both potential stressors (things that cause stress) and the symptoms of stress in order to help prevent and alleviate it and keep cats happy.

Read Stress in cats

Bladder and kidney problems

British blue cat

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD)

AD-PKD is an inherited condition (passed from parents to their kittens) that can cause progressive kidney failure in cats. The disease has become particularly common in Persian and Exotic Shorthaired cats. In the future it may be possible to eliminate this potentially fatal disease by careful breeding from unaffected individuals. To assist in this International Cat Care has set up a register of AD-PKD negative cats from these breeds in the UK.

Read Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD)
Cat using litter tray

Cystitis (bladder inflammation)

As anyone who has ever suffered with cystitis (a sore bladder) will know, it is a very unpleasant condition. Although not usually life-threatening, cystitis can be very distressing for your cat. It is important to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible since most cases can be easily treated with a short course of antibiotic tablets.

Read Cystitis (bladder inflammation)
Cat drinking tap water

Drinking: increased water intake in cats

Drinking more is a common medical problem in cats, particularly older cats. This factsheet discusses how to tell if your cat is really drinking excessively, the causes - common and rare - and how the issue may be managed. The medical term for an increased thirst is polydipsia and for an increase in the volume of urine being produced it is polyuria. Vets often refer to the joint syndrome as PU/PD.

Read Drinking: increased water intake in cats

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)

FLUTD is a catch-all term used by vets to describe a number of conditions which cause cats pain and discomfort when trying to pass urine. These include different types of bladder stones, blockages in the tubes running from the bladder to the outside and inflammation of the bladder itself (cystitis). About three in every 100 cats will be affected at some stage in their lives and some can suffer recurrent problems. In extreme cases your cat may be unable to empty its bladder and may die without emergency treatment.

Read Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)
Old cat

Kidney disease in your cat

Kidney failure is a common health problem in middle-aged and elderly cats. A gradual reduction in the ability of the kidneys to do their job is an inevitable part of the ageing process and occurs at varying rates in different animals. The damage is irreversible and will eventually be fatal. Your cat may still have many months of good quality life after diagnosis of kidney disease if it receives effective treatment and if you co-operate with your vet.

Read Kidney disease in your cat
Urine sample

Urine samples: how to collect

Tests are used by vets to help them diagnose disease in animals that are ill, which means your vet may ask you to bring in a urine sample (water sample) from your pet to help find out what's wrong with your cat. Urine samples are usually taken to check for diseases such as diabetes or cystitis. Urine samples are also often used as part of a routine health check to detect hidden disease before the development of obvious symptoms; this allows your pet to be treated earlier and more effectively.

Read Urine samples: how to collect

Blood diseases

Green-eyed cat


Anaemia means a shortage of red blood cells in the circulation. Anaemia is not a disease but it is a sign that there may be something seriously wrong in the body. There are many different causes of anaemia in cats and in most cases your vet will need to perform a variety of tests to work out what is wrong. Severe anaemia can be life-threatening and requires urgent treatment.

Read Anaemia
Exotic cat

Feline Infectious Anaemia (FIA)

Feline infectious anaemia, also known as FIA, is an anaemia in cats that is caused by a parasite that lives in the blood. If your cat is unwell and pale, it may be that it is anaemic, but there are many different causes of anaemia in cats and FIA is just one of these. Early recognition and treatment of FIA is important to maximise the chances of full recovery.

Read Feline Infectious Anaemia (FIA)


Close up of cat's face

Brain tumour or cancer

Brain tumours in cats are unfortunately as common as they are in people. Brain tumours can be devastating diseases and sadly cannot be cured in most animals. At present the only options for treatment are to improve the animal's quality of life and help them to live for as long as possible. Unfortunately all brain tumours are eventually fatal diseases.

Read Brain tumour or cancer
Woman cuddling cat

Cancer in your cat - possible options

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The speed with which a cancer spreads and the severity of the disease it causes depends on the type of tissue cell affected. As many as one in five cats are likely to develop one of the many different forms of cancer at some stage of their lives. The risk of developing cancer increases with age. This means that, as cats now enjoy a longer life expectancy through improved veterinary care, the number of animals with cancer has been increasing in recent years.

Read Cancer in your cat - possible options

Chemotherapy for your cat

Although it can be frightening to learn that your pet has cancer there have been big advances in the treatment of cancer in animals. Chemotherapy is now a commonplace treatment for cancer in pets. If your cat is diagnosed with cancer it is possible that you will be offered some form of chemotherapy (perhaps alongside surgery or radiation therapy).

Read Chemotherapy for your cat
Hazardous substance symbols

Chemotherapy: safe handling

Chemotherapy is now a commonplace treatment for cancer in pets. In many people's mind the term 'chemotherapy' conjures up frightening images of people suffering with cancer (and the effects of treatment) - however chemotherapy in pets is usually very different.

Read Chemotherapy: safe handling
Vet ready to inject cat

Feline injection site sarcoma

Feline 'Injection Site Sarcoma' or 'Vaccine Associated Fibrosarcoma' is a rapidly progressive and aggressive cancer affecting cats. The true cause of the disease is not yet understood but it is definitely associated with the administration of long-acting injections like vaccinations. Vaccine technology has advanced since the condition was first reported in October 1991 and effective vaccinations now exist that have not yet been associated with this condition. Rapid appropriate action is required to give patients with this condition the best chance of a lengthy remission or cure.

Read Feline injection site sarcoma
Vet holding cat

Feline lymphoma

A diagnosis of cancer is always frightening. One of the most common forms of this disease in cats is lymphoma. This is a cancer of the lymph nodes and can arise almost anywhere in the body. However modern treatment protocols can be highly effective in providing some control of the disease and it is possible for affected cats to have several years of normal life following treatment.

Read Feline lymphoma
Looking inside the mouth of a cat with squamous cell carcinoma

Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is a nasty disease in cats. Frequently, these cancers are not identified until the lesion has progressed significantly with associated oral pain and halitosis due to bacterial infection.

Read Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma
A Siamese cat with lump on neck

Lumps and bumps

Finding a lump on your pet can be a worrying experience. Although most lumps are harmless it is impossible to tell what a lump is simply by looking at it. If your pet has a swelling that lasts for more than a few days always ask your vet to check it for you.

Read Lumps and bumps
Intravenous therapy

Lymphoma chemotherapy

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph cells and can arise almost anywhere in the body. Lymphoma is one of the most commonly treated forms of the disease. Modern treatment protocols can be highly effective in controlling lymphoma and affected cats can have several years of normal life with appropriate treatment.

Read Lymphoma chemotherapy
Giving a cat an injection

Radio-iodine treatment for thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer (hyperthyroidism or over-active thyroid gland) is quite common in middle-aged cats. If your cat has been diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid gland there may well be an effective treatment for your pet. The disease can often be successfully treated by surgery but a form of radiotherapy (radio-iodine treatment) is another option and this has fewer complications and a higher success rate than surgery or other forms of treatment.

Read Radio-iodine treatment for thyroid cancer
Radiotherapy machine

Radiotherapy for your cat

Pets today are healthier and, in general, living longer than ever before. However the increasing numbers of ageing pets mean that they are at increasing risk of developing cancer later in life. Radiotherapy aims to give a high dose of radiation to the cancer cells (doing maximum damage) whilst minimising the dose to the rest of the body.

Read Radiotherapy for your cat

Caring for your cat

Amputee cat

Amputee cat care

There are a number of reasons which may necessitate the removal of an animal's leg. The two most common of these are severe trauma, for example after a road traffic accident, or as management of a leg cancer. As a general rule, cats cope far better with amputation than people imagine they will. Humans of course only have two legs, so losing one leg means a reduction to only one. Cats have four legs so losing one still leaves them with three.

Read Amputee cat care
Abscess on cat's jaw

Cat bite abscesses

If you notice small lumps or swellings when stroking or brushing your cat do not be unduly alarmed. There are many possible causes: growths, cancers, infections, allergic reactions to flea bites or foreign bodies such as thorns or airgun pellets. Occasionally your cat may pick up ticks that swell up as they feed on cat's blood and can easily be mistaken for a skin lump. However, the most likely cause of a lump in your cat is an abscess.

Read Cat bite abscesses
Cat using cat flap

Cat flaps

Fed up with playing doorman to your cat, without a tip? A cat flap could be the solution, allowing your cat free or restricted access to the outside world.

Read Cat flaps
Acupuncture needles

Complementary therapies

Some forms of alternative or complementary medicine such as osteopathy and physiotherapy are widely used in veterinary medicine alongside conventional treatment. However, owners of dogs and other small animals are increasingly looking at other alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine and homeopathy to help with a wide variety of common complaints.

Read Complementary therapies
Cat licking while eating

Feeding your cat

The modern domestic 'moggie' is descended from wild cats that hunted for their living in the desert regions of North Africa and the Middle East. Although most pet cats are now fed entirely on tinned or packaged food, their nutritional requirements are exactly the same as their ancestors' centuries ago. So to stay healthy, a domestic cat must receive a balanced diet containing all the nutrients that would be found in the natural diet of a hunting cat.

Read Feeding your cat
Kitten licking while eating

Feeding your kitten

The adage 'You are what you eat' applies to cats as well as people - however more is not necessarily better. Over-feeding and over-supplementation with unnecessary nutrients and minerals can have serious consequences. If you are getting your first kitten make sure you ask your vet for advice on feeding them.

Read Feeding your kitten

Flea control

Fleas are the most common parasite in household pets and every cat is likely to be infected at some stage in its life. Fortunately, with the advent of modern products it is possible to prevent fleas from becoming a problem in your home. Your veterinary practice can give you advice on which flea control products to use, and how.

Read Flea control
Itchy cat

Fleas - an itchy business

Fleas are the most common parasite in cats and every cat is likely to be infected at some stage in its life. However, with the advent of modern products it is possible to prevent fleas from becoming a problem in your household. Your veterinary practice can give you advice on how to use these products effectively, so you can stop these nasty little insects making a meal of your cat and you!

Read Fleas - an itchy business
Cat retching

Furballs in cats

Most cat owners will have seen their cat produce a furball at some time. Although this can appear rather distressing it is a normal event for a significant number of cats so it's nothing to get unduly concerned about.

Read Furballs in cats
Empty medication packaging

Giving medicines to your cat

For most veterinary treatments it is important that medicines are given correctly. In the hospital, trained staff give medicines and it is important to ensure that you are able to continue to give the medicines once your cat has been sent home. If you have any doubts about how to give the medicine your pet has been prescribed, ask your vet or a nurse to show you.

Read Giving medicines to your cat
Cat looking at goldfish bowl

Indoor cats

Cats are increasingly being kept indoors, for many reasons. Owners may want to protect their cats from road traffic accidents, from sustaining injuries from fights with neighbouring cats, and theft. Alternatively, some owners may wish to prevent their cats preying on local wildlife. Despite increasing the average life expectancy of cats, can an indoor life lead to ill health and mental suffering?

Read Indoor cats
Syringe and vaccine

Injecting your cat

Administration of medicine by injection is often referred to as giving drugs by the parenteral route. The other main means of administering treatment is via the mouth and digestive system - the oral route. Effective administration of medicine is a key part of most veterinary treatments and many medications are most effective when given by injection. Administration of medicine by injection is also essential for some drugs that are destroyed by acids in the stomach, e.g. insulin.

Read Injecting your cat
Baby with a cat

Introducing your new baby to your cat

Bringing a new born baby into the home can be a stressful and exciting time for parents. Spare a thought for your cat for whom it will seem that their whole life has been turned upside down. Not only will your cat be exposed to the baby's crying and smells, but it will also have to tolerate physical changes to its environment, i.e. new baby equipment and furniture. Inevitably, once the baby is born, you will not have the same time to give to your cat.

Read Introducing your new baby to your cat

Kitten care

Cats are now our most popular domestic pet. Some people acquire a cat almost by accident but if you make a conscious decision to get one you should think carefully about what sort of cat you want - short or long haired, pedigree or ordinary 'moggie', etc. Although obtaining a kitten may be a particularly attractive proposition because of its playful and endearing personality, taking on a young cat also involves extra responsibilities.

Read Kitten care
Checking cat for a microchip

Microchipping your cat

Stray cats and dogs are a big problem in many countries. In the UK alone it is estimated that more than £250 million a year is spent by local authorities, police forces and animal welfare charities rounding up and looking after stray dogs and cats. It is much harder to calculate the emotional cost to both the owner and animal when a pet is lost. Microchips are a quick and efficient way to reunite owners with their lost pets, even across international frontiers.

Read Microchipping your cat
Two adult cats snuggling

Multi-cat households

The number of cats in the U.K. is currently on the increase and so is the number of cats per household. Cats had previously been thought to be solitary animals but, more recently, it has become accepted that some cats can live happily with others. Whether cats will share a household depends on the temperament of the cat, its previous experience with other cats, the household and surrounding environment and the number of resources available to the cats.

Read Multi-cat households
Cat nursing kitten

Neutering your cat

It is a sad truth that the number of kittens born every year is far greater than the number of good homes that can be found for them. As a result, thousands of healthy animals are destroyed and many unwanted cats are left to fend for themselves. Having your cat neutered will not only help to reduce these numbers, it is also one of the simplest, safest and most practical ways of safeguarding your cat's health and welfare.

Read Neutering your cat
Obese cat


Cats are generally able to regulate the amount of food they eat but there is a trend for modern cats, like modern humans, to eat better food and take less exercise than their predecessors. Just as in people there is a risk that your cat may become overweight. Obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat in the body - it does not just mean being overweight.

Read Obesity
Surgeon's gloved hands

Operations: caring for your cat before and after surgery

Most pets will have an operation at some stage in their life, e.g. for neutering (speying or castration) or to treat a disease. Nowadays most operations in cats are fairly safe but the success of treatment and recovery depends to some extent on the quality of care that the owner gives before and after the operation.

Read Operations: caring for your cat before and after surgery
Kitten with a bandaged leg

Pet insurance for your cat

In recent years huge advances have been made in veterinary medicine. Vets can now do things to improve the health and welfare of cats that would have been unimaginable or impractical only a few years ago. Not surprisingly, these advanced surgical and medical treatments are often expensive so that a vet's bill for intricate surgery or a prolonged course of treatment could be thousands of pounds. Many pet owners worry that they will not be able to afford to pay for treatment if their cat becomes sick or has a major accident.

Read Pet insurance for your cat
Healthy cat

Routine health care

We are all familiar with the phrase "A healthy pet is a happy pet" - but there is probably also something to be said for keeping your pet happy in order to maintain its health. Most owners know their pet very well and can quickly spot if it is feeling under the weather.

Read Routine health care
Tabby cat

Saying goodbye - options for euthanasia

Some of our beloved pets are living longer and longer lives. This is due in large part to the amazing care we provide for them. As our time with them grows, so does our bond and devotion. As they approach the end of life, it can be a very challenging time filled with questions and concerns. When it becomes clear your pet's life is drawing to a close, you may face a painful and difficult decision about whether your pet should be euthanased due to unmanageable illness or advanced age changes. This factsheet is designed to help you understand euthanasia options and provide guidance to everyone caring for the pet. 

Read Saying goodbye - options for euthanasia

Senior cat care

A kitten is endearing to everyone but kittens grow up all too fast. By a year of age cats of all breeds will be mature. Although individual cats age at different rates, most 10 year old cats can be considered to be in old age.

Read Senior cat care
Dog tick

Tick control

Ticks are common external parasites (ectoparasites) affecting cats in many areas of the world. Environments suitable for tick development include forest, grass and moorland vegetation, close to wild mammals or birds on which they can feed during their immature stages. Cats most commonly become infested with ticks when they are walking or hunting in these areas. Some specialised ticks can develop in kennel environments. The risk of tick bites may vary with the time of year; cats appear to be more at risk during the Spring and Autumn periods but this varies with geographical region and tick species. Ticks may cause several problems when they bite, many of which can be difficult and expensive to treat. For these reasons, if there is any risk, it is very important to use tick control and prevention.

Read Tick control
Cat tick remover

Tick removal

Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that can affect your cat, especially if it goes out in the countryside or grassy areas during the Spring and Autumn months.

Read Tick removal
Pregnant woman holding a cat

Toxoplasmosis and risks to pregnant women

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease which can affect cats and all other warm blooded animals, including humans. In both cats and humans its effects are usually mild and the parasite is easily kept under control by the body's natural defences. However there are exceptions:

  • In pregnant women, the parasite may cause severe damage to the unborn baby.
  • In humans with a weakened immune system, the disease can sometimes be fatal.
Read Toxoplasmosis and risks to pregnant women
Vet ready to inject cat

Vaccinating your cat

There are a number of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases which can affect your cat. There is no treatment for many of these diseases and young kittens who catch them often die. However, for many of these conditions there is a simple protection in the form of vaccination. Ensuring that your cat completes an initial course of vaccinations and then receives regular booster jabs is important if you want to keep your cat fit and healthy.

Read Vaccinating your cat
Syringe and vaccine

Vaccination protocols and safety

For a long time all new kittens and puppies were given a standard vaccination, which protected them from a number of infectious diseases. Recently a number of new vaccines have been developed and pet owners and veterinarians have begun to question the value of routine annual vaccination for adult pets.

This has led to development of the concept of tailored vaccination protocols. If your pet is not likely to be exposed to a disease there is little point in vaccinating them against it. Your vet will be able to advise you on the most appropriate choice of vaccine for your pet weighing up the benefits of protection against any risk associated with the vaccine.

Read Vaccination protocols and safety
The life cycle of a cat worm

Worm control

All pets will be affected by worms at some stage in their life and many will be re-infected unless they are given regular, routine worming treatment. Getting rid of worms is relatively simple and inexpensive so regular treatment is strongly recommended, particularly as some types of worm can be passed onto humans.

Read Worm control
An adult tapeworm in a petri dish

Worms - a wriggly problem

It can be alarming to discover that your cat has worms but it should not come as a surprise. All pets are affected at some stage in their life and many will be re-infected unless they are given regular, routine worming treatment. Except in rare cases, worms are unlikely to cause serious harm. Getting rid of worms is relatively simple and inexpensive so regular treatment is strongly recommended, particularly as some types of worm can be passed onto humans.

Read Worms - a wriggly problem


Colourpoint cat

Epilepsy (seizures)

If you have witnessed your cat having a seizure (convulsion), you will know how frightening it can be. If your cat has had more than one seizure it may be that they are epileptic. There are medications that can control seizures, allowing your cat to live a more normal life.

Read Epilepsy (seizures)
Close up of cat's face

Epilepsy treatment

If your cat has recently been diagnosed as having epilepsy you may be concerned about the future. Discuss your concerns with your vet - it is important that you fully understand the goals of treatment right from the start.

Read Epilepsy treatment
Cat laying down

Fainting (syncope)

Fainting (syncope) does occur in cats but is less common than in people. When a cat faints it briefly loses consciousness and falls to the ground motionless but in most cases recovers within a few moments without treatment. It is important, but often difficult, to differentiate between fainting and fitting because the causes and treatments for the two conditions are very different. In addition, some other medical problems (for example, reduced blood levels of glucose, or certain diseases of the nerves and muscles) can cause episodes of weakness or collapse. If your cat collapses for whatever reason contact your vet immediately for further advice.

Read Fainting (syncope)

Dental disease

Cat having teeth cleaned by vet

Dental disease in your cat

Dental disease is very common in cats. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of tooth disorders. If left unattended these may cause irreversible damage to the cat's teeth, gums and jaw bones. Dental disease can be prevented by stopping the build up of plaque.

Read Dental disease in your cat
Vet checking a cat's teeth

Periodontal disease and how to prevent it

Periodontal disease affects the area around the teeth and will eventually lead to tooth loss. Prevent this by brushing your cat's teeth, using the step-by-step guide included here. 

Your cat's teeth deserve as much care as your own!

Read Periodontal disease and how to prevent it

Ear disease

White cat

Deafness in cats

Deafness is quite common in cats. Around three in every four white cats are deaf because of a defective gene that causes the inner ear to fail to develop normally. Some of these cats are deaf in only one ear and their owners will often not realise that there is a problem.

Deafness is also common in older cats, probably due to age-related degeneration in the inner ear, as seen in older people.

Other reasons for deafness are less common in cats than in people or dogs. Long-term ear infections, growths in the middle ear or external ear canal and medications given by veterinary surgeons to treat these conditions are probably all important causes. Head trauma and brain tumours are possible causes. However, deafness can result from anything that damages the conduction of sound waves from the ear hole through the ear canal and ear drum to the bones of the middle ear or which affects the conduction of impulses through the nerves to the brain.

Read Deafness in cats
Woman wipes her cat's ear

Ear cleaning

Ear disease is quite common in cats and you should make ear examination part of a weekly health check for your pet. If your cat's ears look red or sore on the inside, if there is a smell coming from the ears or if your pet is shaking its head excessively then contact your vet for advice. Ear disease can quickly take hold and is unlikely to get better without treatment. If left untreated it can cause permanent damage to the ear canals and make your pet more likely to have further problems in the future.

Read Ear cleaning
Close up of a cat's ears

Ear disease in your cat

A cat's ear is quite a different shape to ours. Humans simply have a horizontal tube that runs straight from the side of the head into the inner ear (auditory canal). In the cat, however, the outside opening of the ear canal is high on the side of the head. The canal runs vertically down the side of the head and makes a sharp right angle into the inner ear. Foreign bodies (usually grass seeds) can get stuck in the ear canal and infections may develop. Most often ear disease in cats is caused by a type of mite which lives inside the ear canal.

Cats can also get diseases that affect the skin of the ear flap. Solar dermatitis is an irritation caused by sun burn on the ear tips which causes crusting and scabbing. This must be treated early as it can lead to cancer of the ears later in life if left untreated.

Read Ear disease in your cat


Examining a cat with a stethoscope

Emergencies - what to do

Immediate veterinary attention can mean the difference between life and death for an injured cat following all but the most minor of accidents. Getting your cat to your vet (where all the necessary equipment is on hand) is quicker and gives the cat a better chance than calling a vet out to the scene of the accident. The most important thing to remember in an emergency is - don't panic! - this could cause further anxiety for an already frightened animal and it wastes valuable time.

Read Emergencies - what to do
Cat with cooling compress

Fever - is it serious?

Often when you put a hand on your cat it feels warm, particularly on a patch of bare skin. This is because the normal body temperature of a cat is higher than that in people. Body temperature is maintained within a fairly narrow range (between 38.1°C / 100.5°F and 39.2°C / 102.2°F) although it varies slightly during the day, with lowest temperatures recorded in the morning and the highest in the evening. Fever is simply an increase in body temperature and can be seen with many disorders in cats.

Read Fever - is it serious?
Upside down cat

Fitting in cats - an emergency?

If you have witnessed an animal or person having a seizure (convulsion or fit), you will know how frightening it can appear. An animal suffering a generalised seizure (also known as grand mal seizure) will be unconscious. They may show violent, rhythmic movement of their legs, excessive drooling and twitching of the face and jaws. Some animals cry out and it is not uncommon for them to lose control of their bladder or bowels.

Although time seems to slow down when you are faced with a seizuring animal most seizures only last for 2 minutes or less. Seizures are not common in cats and some cats will have only one seizure in a lifetime. Remember your cat does not know what it is doing during a seizure so it is important to keep you and your pet safe.

Read Fitting in cats - an emergency?
Kitten looking at vase of flowers


Poisoning can occur if a poisonous substance is swallowed (solids or liquids), breathed in (gases) or absorbed through the skin (normally liquids). Poisons are substances that damage the cells in the body. In order to cause harm they must enter or come into contact with the body.

Many poisons are products we use every day and can be found in food, medications, household and garden substances. Accidental poisoning in cats is usually caused by substances we commonly have around the house, e.g. human medications and pest control products.

Read Poisoning

Eye disease

Blind cat

Blindness in cats

Just like people, cats normally use their vision for getting around, as well as hunting and interaction with other cats. However, a cat with poor vision or even total blindness can lead a comfortable and fulfilled life.

Read Blindness in cats

Cataracts in cats

Cataract is a disease of the lens of the eye in which the normally clear lens becomes opaque or white. You may see the whiteness of the eye when you look at your cat. This interferes with vision and can result in blindness. In some cases, if the cataract is causing significant problems, an eye specialist may be able to operate on the eye to remove the cataract.

Read Cataracts in cats
Close up of a cat's eye

Conjunctivitis in cats

If your cat has a sore or red eye, or there is discharge from the eye, then it is important to contact your vet. Your cat may have an infection in the eye, but a discharge can also be caused by a foreign body (such as a grass seed) caught under the eyelid. It is important that diseases of the eye are treated quickly to prevent any permanent damage being done.

Read Conjunctivitis in cats
Winking cat

Corneal ulcers - a sore eye

Although cat's eyes have a number of differences which improve night vision, the basic structure is much the same as a human's. Consequently cats can suffer a similar range of eye diseases to humans. Because the eye is complicated, delicate and very sensitive, all eye problems require immediate veterinary attention. One of the most common eye problems in cats is a corneal ulcer.

Read Corneal ulcers - a sore eye
Nurse putting drops into cat's eye

Eye medication: how to give to your cat

Eye problems in cats are quite common. Tears quickly wash out any treatment put in the eye so eye drops need to be given several times a day. This means you will have to learn how to give the treatment at home.

Read Eye medication: how to give to your cat

Gastrointestinal disease

Cat using litter tray

Constipation in your cat

Cats are often secretive about their bowel habits and it can be difficult for owners to notice problems. However, if you suspect that your cat is having difficulty toileting or shows a reluctance to go to the litter tray you should make an appointment with your veterinary surgeon. Simple constipation can sometimes be easily treated but it is common for constipated cats to be distressed, significantly ill and permanent damage to the bowel occurs easily. Constipation should always be taken seriously. Also, very similar signs can be seen in cats suffering from lower urinary tract disease which itself is distressing and potentially very dangerous.

Read Constipation in your cat
Examining a cat with a stethoscope

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)

Almost all cats will suffer from diarrhoea at some point in their lives. In most cases this lasts no more than a few days and cats generally get better without any treatment. However, in a few cases the diarrhoea is due to a more serious underlying cause and does not resolve. EPI, although uncommon in the cat, is a condition that can cause chronic diarrhoea.

EPI results in a reduced ability to digest food this means that an affected pet will suffer from chronic diarrhoea and be significantly underweight. Cats with EPI have a good appetite but despite consuming lots of food they are literally starving.

Read Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
Cat with Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Liver problems in your cat

Liver disease is quite common in cats and can occur at any age, from kittens to old age. Usually the signs of liver disease, like many diseases in cats, are a bit vague; affected cats are often just quiet, have reduced appetite and lose weight. Jaundice is quite often seen and if your cat has this you may notice yellowness in the eyes, mouth or skin or the urine being darker than usual.

Read Liver problems in your cat


Pancreatitis is a condition which ranges in severity from almost no clinical signs to severe abdominal upset and even death. It can therefore be very difficult to know if your cat is suffering from pancreatitis Your vet is best placed to advise you on any illness in your pet so if you are worried about your pet's health a visit to the vet's surgery for a check over is always warranted.

Read Pancreatitis
Poorly cat

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Vomiting and diarrhoea are common in cats. Both are symptoms of other conditions rather than diseases in their own right and there is a vast range of cat diseases in which diarrhoea and/or vomiting may occur. In many cases the problem may be successfully treated without ever pinpointing the actual cause. However, the information that you give your vet may be vital in deciding whether the case is serious enough to need further detailed investigations.

Read Vomiting and diarrhoea

Heart diseases

Examining a cat with a stethoscope


Cardiomyopathy is a disease affecting the heart muscle. There are two main forms of the disease - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). HCM commonly affects middle-aged cats and is more common in male cats than females. Cardiomyopathy is commonly associated with signs of heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

Read Cardiomyopathy
Examining a cat with a stethoscope

Congenital heart diseases

Bringing a new kitten into the family is an exciting time and should a time of great joy. It can be particularly distressing to find that your new arrival has a problem. It is important that you get your new kitten checked over by your vet so that any obvious problems can be identified before you become too attached to it.

Read Congenital heart diseases
Pale foot pads on a cat with an aortic thromboembolism

Feline aortic thromboembolism

Cats may be struck 'out of the blue' by a blood clot resulting in dramatic signs (sudden onset of lameness and pain) and potentially devastating damage. The back legs and the right front leg are most often affected and may be paralysed. This is an emergency - if you suspect that your cat has suffered a blood clot, you must seek veterinary help as soon as possible.

Read Feline aortic thromboembolism
Close up of cat's face

Heart disease in your cat

Heart disease is increasingly common in cats, probably because their average life expectancy has increased due to improved veterinary care. Some heart defects may be present from birth (congenital heart defects) but only show symptoms as the cat gets older. Other diseases develop later in life as a result of the effects of ageing or damage to the heart. The most common heart disease which develops later in life is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Read Heart disease in your cat

Heart rhythm disturbance (atrial fibrillation)

There are many different heart problems that can affect cats. Some of these affect the rhythm of the heart beat and one such condition is atrial fibrillation. This is most commonly seen in association with severe heart disease. Atrial fibrillation does not cause any specific signs so it is unlikely that you will identify this as a cause of illness in your pet. Signs of heart disease can also be hard to recognise in the cat but may include excessive lethargy, inappetence and rapid or laboured breathing. However, any heart disease should be taken very seriously and an early visit to your vet can help to achieve the best outcome.

Read Heart rhythm disturbance (atrial fibrillation)
Measuring a cat's blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Hypertension (high blood pressure) has long been known to be a problem in people and is being increasingly recognised in pets. Hypertension is very common in older people and is often associated with smoking, or with stressful living. In animals, hypertension is almost always caused by an underlying disease.

Read High blood pressure (hypertension)
Examining a cat with a stethoscope

Investigating heart disease

It is important that your vet can recognise the early stages of heart failure (and therefore when to begin therapy, if necessary). Investigations of animals with heart disease are important to identify early signs of failure and to establish the appropriate timing and type of therapy. Heart disease and heart failure are not the same thing. In the early stages of heart disease most animals are able to cope although their heart is not working as well as normal. Animals can live with some forms of heart disease without showing any signs of illness at all. Heart failure occurs when the heart disease is more severe and signs of malfunction (usually coughing or breathlessness) develop. Investigations of animals with heart disease are important to identify early signs of failure and to establish the appropriate timing and type of therapy.

Read Investigating heart disease
Woman cuddling cat

Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is one of the more common congenital heart defects in cats. It is sometimes referred to as a 'hole in the heart'. The condition is often discovered in apparently healthy cats by a vet during a routine examination (such as before vaccination).

Read Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

Hormonal diseases

A cat showing signs of acromegaly

Acromegaly in cats

Acromegaly is a relatively rare condition, caused by excessive hormone production in the brain or in mammary gland (breast) tissue. It is more common in cats than dogs. Affected cats can develop gradual changes in their appearance but because the disease develops over a long period of time owners may not notice any problems. Some cats become extremely hungry or start drinking and needing to use the litter tray more frequently. Often it is the vet who notices the change in a cat's appearance, when cats are presented because of the changes in appetite or increased drinking and may recommend further investigation. It is important to get a diagnosis as early as possible if treatment is to be effective.

Read Acromegaly in cats
Black cat

Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism)

Cushing's disease (also called 'hyperadrenocorticism' by vets) is rare in cats. Although it is a severe disease it causes subtle changes in the early stages. Many owners do not recognise the signs of Cushing's disease in their pet, instead confusing the changes caused by the disease with ageing.

Read Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism)
Vet ready to inject cat

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is a relatively common disease in older people and is being recognised more frequently in older pets. If untreated the disease has serious effects and will ultimately result in the death of your pet. The good news is that the majority of diabetic animals can now be treated and may live normal, happy lives if you are prepared to invest time and money in their care.

Read Diabetes mellitus
Cat with untidy fur


Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by an overactive thyroid gland, an organ found on either side of the windpipe at the base of the neck. This gland produces thyroid hormone which helps to regulate your cat's metabolism, or rate of bodily activity. When the thyroid gland produces too much hormone, your cat's 'internal motor' effectively goes into overdrive. Untreated this would eventually be fatal but the condition can now be successfully treated.

Read Hyperthyroidism

Infectious diseases

Cat kennels


Bordetella is not particularly common in the average pet cat but can be a significant problem where a number of cats live in close contact particularly in breeding establishments and catteries. It is very easily spread from cat to cat. It is rarely fatal, but can be a real problem because the symptoms may be very difficult to clear up. Prevention is far better than cure - if your cat needs protection make sure she is fully protected by regular vaccinations.

Read Bordetella
Cat with severe cat flu

Cat 'flu'

Cat flu is very common in unvaccinated cats and is very easily spread from cat to cat. It is rarely fatal, except in young kittens, but can be a real problem because the symptoms may be very difficult to clear up. Prevention is far better than cure - so to protect your cat make sure she is fully protected by regular vaccinations.

Read Cat 'flu'
A cat hunting in grass

Cat pox

If your cat is a keen hunter they may be at risk of catching cat pox from their prey. Cat pox is a viral infection that is also known as feline cow pox. Most cases recover without treatment but in a few cases the disease can be much more serious and veterinary advice should be sought. It can also infect humans which is important to be aware of.

Read Cat pox
Close up of a cat's claws

Cat scratch disease

Cat scratch disease is a disease of people carried by cats. Infected cats usually do not show any sign of illness but the disease can be passed to humans via a bite or scratch from the cat.

Read Cat scratch disease
Cat washing kitten

Chlamydia disease

Chlamydia is not particularly common in the average pet cat but can be a significant problem in cats in close contact. It is very easily spread from cat to cat. It is rarely fatal, but can be a real problem because the symptoms may be very difficult to clear up. Prevention is far better than cure - if your cat needs protection make sure she is fully protected by regular vaccinations.

Read Chlamydia disease
Stray cats

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

As its name suggests, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is closely related to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) responsible for causing AIDS in people. There is no cure for either disease and the virus causes the gradual destruction of the white blood cells needed to protect the body against infectious diseases. However, the two viruses will only survive inside normal host species - in other words, there is no risk of humans catching FIV from a cat, or vice versa.

Read Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Hearing that your cat has Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is one of the worst bits of news you can get from your vet. The disease is almost always fatal, although treatments can make your cat's remaining time more comfortable. If you have more than one cat in your home, taking sensible precautions and following your vet's advice can help to reduce the risk that your other cats will be affected.

Read Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
Cat licking its nose

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is probably the most important virus in cats. About one in three cats that come into contact with the virus develop a permanent infection which is almost always fatal. FeLV infection causes a wide range of symptoms and by weakening their immune defences it can also make cats more susceptible to other infections. The effects of the virus on the immune system are similar to those that occur in humans with AIDS, but FeLV only affects cats. It cannot affect humans or other animals, such as dogs.

Read Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

Feline panleucopenia (Feline infectious enteritis)

Feline panleucopenia is a very serious disease of cats which, before vaccination, was commonly fatal. Even today, with good nursing care, between a quarter and two-thirds of all affected cats will die from the disease.

Read Feline panleucopenia (Feline infectious enteritis)
Stray cat


Rabies is a very serious disease, killing more than 30,000 people around the world each year. There are few reported cases of recovery from confirmed infection. If you plan to take your pet abroad then they will need protection against this deadly disease.

Read Rabies


Ringworm is the common name given to a fungal infection also known as dermatophytosis. Ringworm is not uncommon in cats and if your cat has skin problems it may have ringworm. The disease is highly contagious and can be passed on to humans so if any signs develop it is important that you seek veterinary advice immediately.

Read Ringworm


Old cat


Arthritis is a familiar problem for most vets. An increasing number of cats are diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis simply means an inflammation of joints and animals with arthritis usually suffer with pain and stiffness in their joints. Arthritis is typically a problem in older pets. However, many animals with arthritis will have had signs of disease from an early age if their arthritis is caused by problems with joint development.

Read Arthritis
Cat laying down

Myasthenia gravis

Myasthenia gravis (MG) literally means grave (gravis) muscle (my-) weakness (asthenia). It is an unusual cause of generalised weakness in cats.

Read Myasthenia gravis
Old cat


If your cat suddenly finds it difficult or painful to take exercise they may have myositis. Myositis is an inflammation of the muscle. It can be a serious and painful condition and may be an early indicator that your pet is ill in some other way. A veterinary examination is important to try to identify a cause of the problem so that appropriate treatment can be given.

Read Myositis
Cats climbing on fence

Slipped disc (Intervertebral disc herniation)

Back problems are not common in cats - they are generally lighter and more athletic than dogs. A slipped disc (also known as intervertebral disc herniation) is the most common cause of paralysis in dogs but cats are much less often affected.  No-one really knows why this is but it may be that discs are made slightly differently in cats.

Read Slipped disc (Intervertebral disc herniation)

Neurological disease

Vet holding cat examines x-ray

Inflammatory CNS disease

Animals with brain disease may show sudden, dramatic signs and become very poorly extremely quickly. In other cases the signs are more vague and it may be some time before your vet gets to the bottom of the problem. Diseases affecting the brain are not limited to brain tumours and include conditions affecting the blood supply (stroke), causing inflammation (meningitis or encephalitis), trauma or malformation of the brain. Many of these diseases can be treated (or at least managed successfully) to give your pet a good quality of life, so it is very important that conditions are investigated and an accurate diagnosis made so that the best treatment can be given.

Read Inflammatory CNS disease
Examining a cat with a stethoscope

Ischaemic myelopathy

Back (spinal) problems are not common in cats. If your cat has a spinal problem they may have neck or back pain or show a variety of signs including difficulty walking, jumping, using one or more legs or even complete paralysis. These signs may occur suddenly (acute spinal problem) or more progressively (chronic spinal problem).

Many different spinal problems (slipped disc, fractured spine, spinal infection, spinal tumour, ischaemic myelopathy) can cause similar signs. Ischaemic myelopathy is only occasionally seen in cats but comes on very suddenly without warning and can be very frightening. If you suspect your cat might have a spinal problem (especially an acute one) you should make sure your vet checks them over as soon as possible.

Read Ischaemic myelopathy
Close up of cat's face

Neuro-diagnostic tests

If your pet is unwell it can be a confusing time trying to make sense of what your vet is doing and why. There are many tests commonly used in veterinary practice that help your vet to work out what is wrong with your pet. This information sheet explains what we are looking for when they perform tests to investigate an animal with a disease affecting the nervous system. Some of these tests can be done in general practice, but others are more difficult to perform or interpret and your pet may need to be referred to a specialist for these.

Read Neuro-diagnostic tests
Young girl brings cat to the vet for a check up

Neurological examination

A neurological disease is one that affects the brain or the system of nerves running throughout the body. The signs of illness can range from very mild (a weakness in one leg) to very severe (the inability to stand). In order for your vet to investigate the disease they need to know where the problem actually lies.

If your pet has difficulty walking this may be because of a problem with the nerves in its leg, pressure on the nerves in its spine (like a slipped disc) or a problem in the brain. Only by careful examination can your vet identify where the problem is likely to be in order to perform the most appropriate tests.

Read Neurological examination
Cat laying on its side

Paroxystic events

A paroxysm is a sudden uncontrollable attack and in people is often applied to events like a fit of giggles. In animals a paroxystic attack is more serious and describes a disorder that starts suddenly but also resolves quickly. A one-off event like this may be nothing to worry about but if the experience is repeated you should contact your vet immediately for advice. Attacks may occur at home or at exercise and the most important concern initially is to make sure your pet cannot hurt themselves during the attack. There are many causes of these attacks and your vet will need to investigate further in order to find out what is causing the attacks so that appropriate treatment can be given if any exist for this type of attack.

Read Paroxystic events
Abyssinian cat

Pyruvate kinase deficiency

Pyruvate kinase deficiency is an inherited disease that was first documented in Abyssinian, Somali and some domestic short-hair cats in the early 1990s.

Read Pyruvate kinase deficiency
Black cat

Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)

Until recently, it was thought that strokes were very rare in domestic pets. In the last few years, with the advance and increased availability of more specialist tests, strokes are being recognised more often in pets. The thought of your pet suffering a stroke may be frightening - but you should not be alarmed as strokes are often not as debilitating in animals as they are in people. With appropriate care your pet may do very well.

Read Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)
Upside down cat

Vestibular syndrome

Vestibular syndrome refers to a group of diseases that affect the balance system also known as the vestibular system. Common signs of vestibular syndrome include loss of balance, falling, rolling over, abnormal flickering of the eyes and general wobbliness. The signs of vestibular disease often come on very suddenly and if your pet develops these signs it can be very frightening. Many people mistakenly think that their pet may have suffered a stroke. However, most affected animals recover over a few weeks.

Read Vestibular syndrome

Reproductive problems


Birth control in the queen

Most responsible cat owners want to prevent unplanned breeding and the production of unwanted kittens. Most forms of birth control prevent the heat cycle of queens, and so mating and conception does not occur. The cycle can be controlled permanently or temporarily. Pregnancy prevention is also possible after an unplanned mating has occurred.

Read Birth control in the queen
Cat nursing kitten

Breeding from your cat

A female cat (queen) can produce several litters of kittens every year throughout her life. If you don't want the responsibility of finding good homes for the kittens you should have your queen neutered. Keeping an un-neutered queen indoors is not a good answer to the problem. A calling queen will keep you and your neighbours awake and will do her best to escape at every opportunity. There is also a risk of infection developing in your cat's uterus (pyometra) if she is neither neutered or bred from, and cancer of the mammary gland (breast cancer) is more common in un-neutered cats. If you decide to breed from your cat there are various things to consider to make sure that both mother and kittens are strong and healthy.

Read Breeding from your cat
Pregnant cat

Pyometra ('pyo' or womb infection)

Pyometra is a common disease in un-neutered female cats and dogs that requires major surgery to cure. Though potentially very serious, many animals respond well to the treatment and can expect to make a full recovery. The best way to protect your female pet against pyometra is to have her neutered.

Read Pyometra ('pyo' or womb infection)
Feeding a kitten by hand

Rearing orphan kittens

Hand rearing a kitten or kittens can be an extremely rewarding experience but it is not a job to be taken on lightly. The task ahead is difficult, exhausting and there is no guarantee of success. However hard you try, you are a poor substitute for a kitten's natural mother and despite the best efforts of human volunteers the death rate among orphaned kittens is often high.

Read Rearing orphan kittens

Respiratory problems

Cat with nebuliser

Feline asthma

If your cat has a persistent or chronic cough thay may have asthma. Asthma is the most common cause of coughing in cats. In many cats the signs are relatively mild but it can also cause life-threatening breathing problems.

Read Feline asthma
Cat's face

Nasopharyngeal polyps

Nasopharyngeal polyps are not common but they can cause significant distress to affected cats. A polyp grows from a small stalk but can become quite a substantial size. Nasopharyngeal polyps can grow into the back of the throat obstructing the breathing passageways. Signs such as sneezing and difficulty breathing are common. Surgical removal of the polyp can provide a complete cure.

Read Nasopharyngeal polyps

Skin disease

Cat with acne on its chin

Feline acne

Some cats, like some people, are unfortunate to suffer from acne. The condition in cats is generally mild and since cats do not worry about their appearance the condition rarely causes serious problems. However if your cat has any skin changes you should make an appointment to see your vet - skin disease may sometimes be a sign of something else more serious.

Read Feline acne
Cat with eosinophilic plaque on roof of mouth

Feline eosinophilic granuloma complex

This syndrome describes a group of skin conditions in cats. Most cases are caused by an underlying allergy and can be effectively resolved by treating the allergy. In a few cases more invasive or prolonged treatment is required. Whatever the cause, it is important to seek veterinary advice early to have the best chance of resolution. If your cat has any itchy or sore looking patches on their skin or ulcers on their lip which refuse to heal you should make an appointment with your vet immediately.

Read Feline eosinophilic granuloma complex
Malassezia-associated dermatitis in a cat


If your cat has a greasy hair coat or recurrent ear problems they may be suffering from Malassezia. This fungal/yeast infection of the skin can be mild or extensive and may indicate that there is an underlying health problem. If your cat has any skin lesions you should make an appointment to see your vet - it may be that the skin disease is an indication that something more serious going on.

Read Malassezia
A cat grooming itself

Over grooming (feline psychogenic alopecia)

In the hurly-burly of our modern lives we ask a lot of pets. Fortunately most cats adapt well to all the changes and excitement around them, managing to fit into our hectic schedules and, in doing so, enrich our lives. Unhappily, there are some cats for whom the stress of modern living is just too much and these poor creatures show us their unhappiness in a variety of ways.

Read Over grooming (feline psychogenic alopecia)
Black cat

'Walking dandruff' (Cheyletiellosis)

Cheyletiella infection is a form of mange that is also known as rabbit mites and walking dandruff. This is an itchy skin condition caused by small parasites living on the skin surface. The mites can be found on many animals including dogs, cats and rabbits and can be transmitted from pets to people. Early recognition is important as the condition can be simply treated.

Read 'Walking dandruff' (Cheyletiellosis)


Kitten in carrying cage

Choosing a cattery

It would probably be less traumatic for our pets to have 'cat sitters'; enabling them to remain in their home environment when we go away or are on holiday and have to leave them in the care of another. The majority of cat owners, however, have to rely on boarding catteries for the care of their animals while they are away. The experience is always going to be variably traumatic for your cat but by taking care in choosing a cattery, the stress can be minimised, ensuring that your pet returns to you fit, happy and healthy after its stay.

Read Choosing a cattery
Woman carrying cat in a carrier

Moving house with your cat

Moving to a new home can be stressful for both you and your pets. Cats are highly territorial animals and are often as closely attached to their surroundings as they are to their owners. So not surprisingly many cats try to return to their old haunts after their owners change address if it is nearby. Some simple precautions can help to reduce the risk of your cat becoming permanently lost.

Read Moving house with your cat
Pet passport

Pet passports

Pet passports are part of the European Union (EU) Regulation on the movement of pet animals. Certain non-EU listed countries may also issue a passport. Cats travelling on Pet Passports must be treated against tapeworms before entering the UK from most countries. The treatment will be recorded in the passport.  

Read Pet passports
Cat laying on suitcase

Taking your pet abroad

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows for limited movement of pets between the UK and some European countries under controlled conditions.

Read Taking your pet abroad
Cat sleeping in carrier

Travelling with your cat

Travelling can be a stressful experience for human beings and it is probably equally so for cats, although for different reasons. While your cat is not going to be worried about arriving at its destination on time it will have been plucked from its familiar territory, put in to a container and subjected to an array of strange sights, sounds and smells. A frightened animal is likely to panic and so care has to be taken to make sure it arrives safe and well at its destination.

Read Travelling with your cat
Cat kennels

Travelling: leaving your pet behind

International travel is becoming increasingly common for pets and the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which even allows limited movement of pets through Europe and the UK, is now fully operational. However, many pet owners still prefer to leave their pets behind when they go away.

Read Travelling: leaving your pet behind

Veterinary procedures


Endoscopy - the inside story

Sometimes it can be really helpful to look inside an animal to see what is going on. There are many ways of examining the insides of an animal: blood tests, imaging techniques (like X-ray and ultrasound) and sometimes it is necessary to operate to find out what is going on. Endoscopy is an alternative to some forms of surgery. Endoscopy is increasingly being performed in general practice and your vet may suggest it for your pet if it has a breathing problem or bowel trouble.

Read Endoscopy - the inside story
Urine sample

Samples and tests - how they help your vet

Laboratory tests are used by vets to help them diagnose disease in animals that are ill. Increasingly, they are also used as part of a routine health check to detect hidden disease before the development of obvious symptoms. This allows your cat to be treated earlier and more effectively. A very important use is to test that your cat's kidneys and liver are working properly before a surgical operation.

Read Samples and tests - how they help your vet
MR scanner

Scanning - the inside picture

The term 'scan' is often used to describe the method of obtaining an image of the inside of the body. This may be done with ultrasound (details of which can be found in a separate factsheet), which is often available in veterinary practices and may be performed at your vet's surgery. Recently, more specialised scans (MRI and CAT scans) have become widely available for pets - however it is likely that your pet would need to travel to a specialist centre for one of these scans.

Read Scanning - the inside picture
Vet reviews x-ray

X-rays and ultrasound

Veterinary medicine has made many advances in the last 10 years and many local veterinary practices are now able to perform x-ray and ultrasound examinations.

Read X-rays and ultrasound