Frequently Asked Questions

My cat is an indoor cat.  Why should I get it neutered?

Indoor cats do need to be neutered as the females come into season just like cats that go outside. They start ‘calling’ when in season and roll around the floors and push their bottom in the air wailing. This can be quite loud and disturbing as it can go on for a few days and nights. The seasons will become more frequent if not neutered and your indoor cat could make a break for freedom to find a mate, either out of windows or doors and she may not come back. Tom cats gather and come from afar to a female in season and she will be mated many times by these un-neutered tom cats, a large proportion of whom carry the FIV virus that they can pass on to your cat.

Neutering your cat will be better for her health and will calm her down as an un-neutered cat gets very temperamental through her hormones raging around inside her.

Male cats also need to be neutered as they too can get agitated if not allowed out to find a mate. When they become mature they develop quite strong smelling urine which is like a strong sweet smelling ammonia smell that permeates throughout the property and can make them in some cases quite aggressive.

All of the above can be avoided by a simple neutering operation and you will then have a contented happy cat who will give you many years of pleasure!

I cannot afford to get my cat neutered.  Free neutering for strays

We are one of the joint funders of The London Cat Care Consortium (C4) which offers a free cat neutering scheme. To find out if you are eligible for the scheme visit www.cats.org.uk.uk/c4 or contact one of the following:

Cats Protection National Neutering Helpline
Tel: 03000 12 12 12        Mon – Fri 9.30am – 1pm.

Celia Hammond Veterinary Neutering Clinics
London SE4 1UY Tel: 020 8691 2100
London E16 4HQ Tel: 020 7474 8811

PDSA National Helpline
Tel: 0800 731 2502

RSPCA
www.rspca.org.uk

Cat collar or not?

Not all cat collars are safe. If you do decide to use one, make sure it is the safety type which pops open if it gets caught on anything.

Remember putting a collar on a young cat needs to be checked regularly as young cats grow into adults.  If not checked your cat could be slowly strangled, especially if they get lost at a young age and outgrow their collar which then gets embedded into their neck as they grow.

If a collar is too loose they can then get their arm through the collar and this can cause immeasurable suffering as the collar causes severe infection and an open wound under the arm  in some cases this causes the cat to have its arm amputated if found in time or, otherwise, if too late and the infection is too severe the cat may need be euthanised.

My cat has started to toilet in and around the house

Inappropriate toileting always means there is a problem: either your cat is not well and is trying to tell you something. It may be a medical problem like cystitis which can be very dangerous, especially to male cats.  Get this checked out immediately if you think there is a problem.

If you have a cat flap other cats might be coming in at night and eating your cat’s food.  Find out if any cats in your area are missing as it might be a cat that has got lost.

Cats spraying to mark their territory and even to fight with your cat. It could be a stray or an un-neutered tom cat. This will need to be addressed as un-neutered cats can be a problem and need to be sorted as your cat will be stressed by the visiting cat.

Free neutering is available for stray cats.

My cat is hiding away under the bed etc.

Cats hide away when they are not well and in pain. Your cat needs to be taken to the vet as it may be serious.

My cat seems to have difficulty eating and paws its mouth

Your cat is probably in need of a vet check-up and may need dental treatment and or teeth removed, Cats that have had dental treatment and are pain free are given a new lease of life, even if they lose all their teeth.  You will be surprised how well they do without pain and no teeth!

How do I know if a cat is a stray?

Most stray cats are looking a bit sad looking, may have been in a few fights and tend to look dirty and scruffy and hungry.

I am feeding stray cats, should I do this?

A stray female cat can get pregnant very quickly and the tom cats will come from a good way away to mate with a female on heat. Your one little stray could turn into one female stray, three stray tom cats and in nine weeks produce a litter of 3,4,5 or more kittens. If they grow up in 5 – 6 months’ time any females will start the process all over again so one cat becomes four and then nine and so on. It is important to prevent this by either taking responsibility to get the animals neutered or get help from an organisation to trap and neuter them but they are not always removed and relocated, many have to be returned but it is always best to sort out the one cat rather than a colony.

My cat always seems to get fleas

Yes, a big problem with cats, especially those that go outside and associate with other cats do tend to bring the little beasties back home with them.

Frequent vacuuming your home is a big help as it sucks up any eggs or larvae produced by them. All chairs that they may sit or sleep in, baskets and boxes that they may use and regular washing of pet bedding is also important.

Spraying the home with a good quality flea spray is also a good idea but it is always best to buy it from the vet, it may be more expensive than the  supermarket, but well worth the extra as it is a much stronger product to use.

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines though.
NEVER use this spray on the cat as it will KILL them.                                                                     NEVER use dog flea products either on your cat as this will also kill them.

Regular flea treatment for your cat is also required.
Products sold in the supermarkets like flea collars might only be a mild form of flea deterrent, as are spot on treatments, and they mostly repel fleas but don’t kill them.

These are nowhere near as strong as the ones from the vet.  Again more expensive, but well worth it as otherwise you will have to live with the consequences as well as the cat!

Fleas can also cause worms in your cat, especially tape worms, and these can be passed onto humans so it’s best to worm them twice a year and get worm pills from your vet as they are much stronger.

I have a cat in my garden that looks sick and hasn’t moved

Never leave a sick looking cat, always try and get help as you are the only person that can help it. Phone people, nag them: the RSPCA should come out for sick and injured animals and don’t take no for an answer. Hard we know but just keep trying.  You may be the only chance the animal has.

Should I let my cat out at night?

No, is the simple answer to that. All rescue centres would tell you the same thing. This is the most dangerous time for your cat as there are often un-neutered cats out there and this could cause a problem with fighting over territory that you may not have been aware of before. Your cat could come home with a nasty bite wound that then can turn into an abscess or even worse need stitches. A large proportion of un-neutered males carry the FIV* see below.

The dangers to cats on the roads at night are a high risk: your cat might be being chased by another cat or even a dog being taken for its nightly walk, and as there is less traffic and your cat may not realise the dangers and run across the road.  It only takes one car to seriously injure or cause death to your cat.

Foxes are around but in general are not high risk to a cat unless it is the season where they have cubs and then they are much more alert and protective of their young.

Even some people are up to no good at night.  You hear of cats being killed and mutilated.  It is just not worth the worry of where your cat has gone, is it injured, will it ever come home.

It is always better to be safe than sorry afterwards and know that when you get up in the morning your cat will be there to greet you and waiting for its breakfast.

*FIV or, Feline Immune Deficiency Virus is mainly passed on through biting whilst fighting.  This can also be passed on to females whilst mating as the male grabs hold of the back of the neck of the females.

Once a cat has the virus, it has it for life as there is no cure. There are no vaccinations as yet to prevent your cat catching it but neutering will help stop fighting in most cases.

FIV positive cats may have shorter lives but not always. There is no treatment as such but you just treat whatever problems as and when they arise.

Most rescue centres say that FIV positive cats should be an only cat or two FIV’s together.  They should not be let out unless the garden is a secure one, as they may get into fights with other cats and pass on the virus just like how they caught it in the beginning.

Can you re-home my pet cat?

We are a small charity with limited resources and do not have an animal rescue shelter to re-home many cats.  We have some foster homes but these places get full very quickly.  To protect your cat, always re-home your loved pet through a legitimate organisation or to someone you know who is capable, responsible and can afford the associated costs of having a cat. Be wary of people who wish to take your pet quickly as some unscrupulous people sometimes take pets for dog baiting.  Always make sure your cat is neutered before handing it over to anyone as it could be taken purely for breeding, leading to a life of misery for your pet.

What areas do you cover?

As a charity with limited resources we work within the North London area covering Haringey, Tottenham, Islington and some parts of Barnet and the few odd occasions Enfield.

A stray cat I am feeding has funny looking ears and nose

Cats that live outside often get cancer of the ears and nose.  Please gain the confidence of the cat and take it to the vet or find someone to help you get them looked at by a vet.

My cat is behaving out of character.  Could it be stressed?

Cats are creatures of habit and if circumstances inside or outside the home changes can cause stress.  Cat stress signs include changes in behaviour.  Cat stress can be caused by humans and other animals.  Some cats prefer less human contact and if humans behave inconsistently it can lead to confusion and the animal does not know how to respond.  More than one cat in a household can lead to increased stress, especially around the areas of feeding and toiletting.

De-stressing your cats can be helped by providing more than one feeding station and litter tray.  A litter tray for each cat plus an extra one helps.  More than one watering place is also useful and one on each floor if you have a house.  Hiding places, scratching posts and high perches so they can look down are important for them to have ‘space’ from others.  Cats are always ‘risk-assessing’ their situation.  A consistent daily routine really helps as to a cat this equals safety.