Preventative Healthcare

Preventative Healthcare

A mistake seen all too often is the "more is better" approach that some people take when using flea products. More is NOT better when it comes to chemicals or medications! Following package directions is essential when using over the counter products and medications. Only buy products that are labelled for use on the species you will be using them on (dog, cat, etc.). Cats in particular are very sensitive to drugs and chemicals - be sure to read all labels carefully.

Flea shampoos
A shampoo, or "flea bath" is a good first attack on fleas for the pet that has large numbers of fleas visible on its body. Cats can be difficult to bathe. It is important to realize that a flea shampoo is not intended for lasting control. Many people are surprised when they see fleas and it was "only a week ago" that the pet had a flea bath. Shampoos are only effective for a day or less. They leave little residual chemical on the animal when properly used.

Flea collars
Flea collars work one of two ways - by emitting a toxic (to fleas, anyway) gas, and by being absorbed into the animal's subcutaneous fat layer. The toxic gas is usually only effective in the immediate area of the head and neck. This type of collar is best used in the vacuum cleaner bags to kill any fleas vacuumed up. The collars that absorb into the subcutaneous fat are much more effective, such as Seresto collars for cats and dogs.

Flea powders and sprays
Flea powders and sprays offer short term (2-3 day) protection from fleas, and with some products, ticks and mites too. Powders and sprays have fallen out of favour recently with the newer spot-on treatments that are available. Most flea powders and sprays are only effective for adult fleas, some offer additional flea protection by inhibiting flea egg and larval development.

Spot-on treatments
Common brand names include: Advantage, Frontline , Broadline just to name a few. Please consult with your veterinarian for the best choice for your pet(s).

These products are applied between the shoulder blades of the pet, and typically last about one month. Spot-on treatments are effective for adult fleas. Some include ingredients to inhibit the larva from emerging from the flea egg and some are active against larval development as well.

There are also some that include a wormer to provide ongoing control of roundworms. These include Revolution and Advocate.

Please be aware that they do not control tapeworms.

Oral medications
Flea "pills", such as Comfortis work by stopping the larva from emerging from the flea egg. Fleas ingest the blood of animals on these medications, and the female fleas then lay eggs that are unable to hatch. They do NOT kill adult fleas. These medications are essential to break the flea life cycle and stop the flea problem when used in conjunction with flea adulticide treatments.

Flea control for your house and yard
Only about 10% of the flea population (mainly the adults) are on your pet. The flea eggs, larvae, pupa, and the few adults that reside in the carpeting, bedding, and living areas make up approximately 90% of the flea population. Neglecting this population of fleas will ensure that the flea problem will continue and worsen over time.

Daily vacuuming - this is very important for overall flea eradication. This will pick up (and get rid of) adults, eggs, larvae and pupae before they develop. Putting a flea collar in the vacuum bag and emptying the bag frequently are also important; otherwise, the fleas will hatch, develop, and leave the vacuum to re-infest the living quarters. Dispose of the vacuum bag properly and frequently.

Wash all bedding, clothing, and removable furniture covers regularly (weekly).

Apply insecticide to home and yard - There are many options, foggers and flea bombs, or treatments by a professional exterminator. Follow all instructions very carefully; remove all pets, people, and cover all food in the environment before applying insecticide. Make sure everything is dry and it is safe to return according to package directions. Take special precautions for pets and children - eating or putting items in their mouth, etc.



Merial Frontline Plus Cat

Merial Frontline Spray

Bayer Advantage Cat

Bayer Advocate Cat

Revolution Cat

Active ingredients

Fipronil & methroprene



Imidacloprid & moxidectin



Fipronil: kills adult fleas

Methroprene: kills flea eggs, larvae and prevents pupae development

Fipronil: kills adult fleas

Imidacloprid: Kills adult fleas & flea larvae

Imidacloprid: Kills adult fleas & flea larvae

Moxidectin: Kills hookworms, roundworms, heart worms (not found in NZ)ear mites, sarcoptic & demodectic mites and Lice

Selamectin: Kills adult fleas, larvae and eggs, ear mites, round worms and sarcoptic mites

Time to kill adult fleas

18 hours post application

100% by 24 hours, 95% after 2 hours

Kills adult fleas and larvae within 20 minutes of contact

98-100% of adult fleas and larvae killed within 12 hours of application

Within 24-36 hours

Earliest age for puppies

8 weeks

2 days

Any, although not necessary if treating mother of unweaned kittens

9 weeks

6 weeks


Every 6 weeks

Every 6 weeks

Every 4 weeks

Every 4 weeks

Every 4 weeks

Also effective against...




Kills flea larvae in pets environment


Other benefits

Safe to use with breeding, pregnant and lactating queens


Stops fleas biting in 3-5 minutes, kills on contact- they don't have to bite.

May be applied straight after shampooing

Safe to use with pregnant and lactating queens

Very effective against Flea Allergy Dermatitis, stops fleas biting in 3-5 minutes

Safe to use on pregnant and lactating queens.

Can have a bath 2 hours after application.

Dries on coat within 2 hours.

Pack sizes

3 pipettes pack

100ml and 250ml

4 or 6 pipette pack

3 or 6 pipette pack

3 or 6 pipette pack


Can be applied every 4 weeks if infestation severe

Massage the coat all over to make sure spray gets right down to the skin


Safety of use in pregnant or lactating queens has not been established.



Inter Cat Tension and Aggression

Why does inter cat tension occur?

Cats are naturally solitary animals and prefer free access to water, food, litter trays, bedding, exits and entrances.
In a home with more than one cat this can cause competition between the cats for these things which in turn creates conflict.

It can be difficult to identify conflict between cats in the household or within your cats’ territories. However these conflicts can be stressful for your cats and in turn lead to unwanted behaviours of aggression, spraying or scratching.

How to reduce inter cat tension/aggression

1. Plug in a Feliway Diffuser in the room most frequented by your cats. Several diffusers may be needed in large homes or multi-level homes, when cats have different living areas.

2. Create multiple access points for valuable resources:

  • Litter trays (1 per cat + 1 extra)

  • Multiple food stations

  • Multiple drinking opportunities (away from food).

  • Enough climbing, hiding and sleeping areas for all cats.

3. Make sure these resources are spread around the house and on each floor to avoid competition for access.

Additional Advice


  • Covered litter trays may increase bullying in some multi-cat households.

  • Single cat-sized sleeping perches have been shown to help reduce individual cat stress in multi-cat households.

  • Placing a bell on the aggressor cat in the household can be useful as it provides a warning to the other cats that the aggressor cat is coming, giving them the chance to get out of the way.

  • Provide safe escape routes and hiding places at height to reduce bullying.






Urine spraying is an entirely different behaviour to normal toileting. When a cat urinates to expel body waste, he does so from a squatting position and will usually produce a pool of urine in a private, secluded place. In contrast, cats spray to leave a specific scent message. When they spray, they will back up to an object/surface and with their tail erect and 'quivering' will release a short burst of urine in an open area and sometimes right in front of you!


Why does my cat spray?

Spraying urine is a normal part of scent marking behaviour. Cats use scent to identify different areas in their territory; this provides them with a 'scent map' of their environment as they move around.

For example, cats tend to rub their cheeks and flanks on objects in the core part of their territory where they feel safe and secure leaving pheromone scents behind. In contrast, they spray urine in areas of their territory where they feel threatened. It is thought that the scent deposited acts as a 'reminder' for that cat to be wary in that part of his territory.

When the scent begins to fade, the cat will respray to top it up.

Un-neutered and un-spayed cats are by far the most likely to spray.

With the entire cat, urine marking will not only signal the cat's occupancy but also its status. Entire male cat spraying is triggered by hormonal changes when he reaches sexual maturity.

Female cats in heat have high levels of oestrogen in their urine. This is mixed with secretions from their anal glands and results in a very strongly smelling spray that is attractive to Tomcats.

A neutered or spayed cat will also sometimes spray urine indoors, although this is less likely than with an entire cat. The most likely reason for a desexed cat spraying is stress.

Why is my cat spraying indoors?

Cats may spray indoors when they are:

  • Ill

  • Highly aroused

  • Stressed by changes in the household e.g the arrival of a baby or new pet

  • Even new items of furniture, rearranging furniture, a change of household routine or the redecoration of a room, can all cause your cat upset.

  • A home with a great many cats trying to establish territory in limited space will likely result in spraying indoors.

  • Threatened by other cats coming in the house or in the neighbourhood

In may cases there may be more than one reason why your cat will spray in the house, it could also start off as a response to one stressor and then carry on as other stresses eventuate.

Never punish your cat for spraying as this will just increase the anxiety and exacerbate the problem.

What to do if my cat sprays in the house.

Firstly, get your cat checked by a Veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons for the spraying.

Then try and establish what may be stressing the cat, this can be more easily pin-pointed when you know when the problem started and identifying the areas where the cat sprays will be the areas he is mostly under stress.

  • If you have more than one cat, allow for more than one litter tray, food bowl and sleeping areas. Place shelves, cupboards etc in high traffic areas such as hallways to allow for each cat to pass each other on different levels.

  • If your cat is entire then spaying or neutering will likely end spraying. This is very effective with Toms, but is best done before your cat is sexually mature at six months.

  • If it is a cat that regularly appears outside the window that causes your cat to spray though anxiety, try preventing your cat access to that window.

  • Cats may be independent souls but generally they like enough attention to make them feel wanted, and therefore secure. A little playtime each day may work wonders, and regular stroking and petting may, given a little time, enable your cat to feel assured enough to end spraying.

  • Your cat will urine spray in the places that he has sprayed before. Cleaning products that merely mask the smell will be of little use. Use an enzyme cleaner and you may need to thoroughly soak the area. Shun ammonia-based products, as the ammonia itself smells like urine. There are also products that have been developed to specifically neutralize the smell of cat urine.

  • A hand held black light will help detect all the places your cat has been spraying. The urine stain will glow and show up easily.

  • Cat doors are a boon if you have an indoor-outdoor cat. But sometimes the presence of a bullying neighborhood cat will make your kitty insecure.

Your cat cottons on to the fact that if he can get into the house through the cat flap then so can the bully. So, to signal to the cat world that the house is his territory your cat sprays the cat flap.

Blocking up the flap should cure the spraying, but, of course, it will mean that you’ll need to let the cat in yourself. If this is your problem you may find an electronic cat door solves it.

  • If no medical reasons are found for the behaviour, medication may be prescribed. Medication can reduce your cat’s anxiety and need for spraying.

  • Using a Feliway diffuser (natural cat pheromone scent) to reduce your cat's anxiety naturally.




Routine vaccination has greatly reduced the extent of several feline diseases (including some that can prove fatal). It is vital that your cat has all the necessary vaccinations and boosters.

A kitten should be vaccinated around eight - nine weeks of age, with the important second dose being given at 4 weeks later.

A booster vaccination one year on is important to enhance the initial level of immunity. Regular yearly boosters throughout a cat's life will help maintain a good level of protection against cat 'flu, feline parvovirus and feline leukaemia.

What vaccines does my cat need?

Core feline vaccination

Vaccination is an integral part of a preventative health care programme. Every cat should be vaccinated against 3 core diseases – feline panleucopaenia (or infectious enteritis), feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus (both causes of “cat flu”). These diseases can have devastating consequences for a cat and it is easy to prevent them by regular vaccination.

Feline infectious enteritis (FIE) - a vaccination must

Feline infectious enteritis (a severe and often fatal gut infection) is caused by the feline parvovirus (or feline panleukopenia virus). Vaccination against FIE has been very successful. Unvaccinated cats are at great risk because the virus is widespread in the environment.

Cat 'flu - a vaccination must

Two types of cat 'flu are vaccinated against feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV). These viruses are very common and vaccination will protect your cat against prolonged illness, but because there are many different strains of cat 'flu the vaccine will not totally eradicate the threat.


Optional extra vaccinations dependent on circumstances.


Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)

FeLV is a lifelong infection and unfortunately most cats will die within three years of diagnosis, usually from a subsequent disease like leukaemia, lymphoma (tumors) or progressive anaemia. It is not an airborn disease and can only be passed on via direct contact between cats (usually by saliva or bites).

Feline chlamydophilosis

This bacterium, which causes conjunctivitis in cats, can't survive in the atmosphere and is thus spread by direct contact between cats (affecting multi-cat households and kittens predominantly).


Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)



FIV is a retrovirus similar to FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and the human AIDS virus. It was first discovered and isolated in 1986. It is estimated that 1 in 12 cats are infected with FIV. Some specialists believe that FIV is currently under-diagnosed. Although FIV is predominantly found in male cats, females can and do get this disease.

Bite wounds are the usual mode of transmission.

For the initial series of vaccinations, cats need 3 injections, 3 weeks apart. After the series of 3 vaccinations is completed, the cat will receive annual booster vaccinations.

IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT ALL CATS BE TESTED FOR FIV PRIOR TO VACCINATION. If a young kitten (less than 6 months) tests positive for FIV, it is recommended to wait on FIV vaccination and retest the kitten at 6 months of age. It is also recommended that that kitten be isolated from other cats until it can be determined that the pet is truly negative for this disease.

Your vet will discuss your situation and advise as to whether any of the above vaccines are necessary.




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