General Health and Care PoliciesAs I live in a city with a large population of un-neutered domestic cats (who often carry diseases) and a lot of traffic nearby, the cats don't range freely, but are limited to the immediate garden in three large runs with grass and small trees. They are allowed out into the main garden as well, as it is fenced and carefully cat-proofed, but they are only out when I can keep an eye on them, as no cat-proofing is really perfect, and I can’t ensure other cats won’t get in. We have found that this arrangement is entirely to the liking of the cats, who never seem to want to range any further than their limited environment unless it is to wind me up! Although this means they are safe from communicated diseases, they are nevertheless vaccinated and queens are blood-tested when they visit stud cats.
Under GCCF guidelines, kittens are vaccinated before sale, and they receive their final 'flu and enteritis jabs at 12 weeks of age. After that time they are available for sale to suitable homes from the age of 13 weeks. I decided some time ago not to give the Leukaemia vaccine to my kittens before sale: vaccinations may have a damaging effect on a developing immune system, though vaccinating does actually activate the immune system. The leukaemia vaccine is very powerful, and after using it for a few years, I decided that it had such a dramatic effect on the kittens that I was not happy about its use at such an early age. On the other hand, not vaccinating leaves your cat open to numerous killer diseases. There are lethal illnesses around that have no conventional vaccinations, such as FIP or FIV. Sometimes a cat can carry these illnesses dormant, without manifesting them until it also comes in contact with another illness such as FeLV, against which it could have been vaccinated. I use conventional vaccines because they are proved to work, and I advise people who want to let their cats out to give the Leukaemia vaccine when the kitten is a bit older, but before it is let out.
I do not use Chlamydia vaccine as it does not work. Nor do I use combination multi-vaccines as they have been shown to give less effective cover than single vaccines, and there have also been some very nasty side-effects recorded by breeders and reported to the manufacturers.
Wherever possible I use an arsenal of herbal remedies which I've proved over many years can solve a problem when the vet has had to give up. The most notable was with a cat whose gut was gradually giving up and she was seriously constipated. None of the vet's cures worked, and he said she might have to be put to sleep. I was horrified. I just gave her a dose of rhubarb and aloe every night, and she went as regularly as clockwork until her natural death years later.
I'm gradually trying to put down all the things I've learned for other people to use, but it's taking a long time, and I have to admit that spending time with my cats takes priority over writing a website that people may or may not visit!
Please be patient if you're waiting for information on a particular subject, or contact me and bully me to complete the web page!
I hear all too often of people buying a kitten from a breeder, only to realise too late that it is undersized and/or unhealthy - anything from having a tapeworm and raging diarrhoea to being malnourished and carrying diseases that they pass on to other cats in their new home. Often in these situations the breeder will have nothing to do with the owners once they have paid their money, and more ethical breeders end up picking up the slack to try and help these people deal with the problems that have arisen. Please read the page The right breeder under my kitten heading, and also read the general advice about kittens on Price. It is difficult to give absolute advice, but don’t be misled by breeders who appear to be doing everything right: registering, vaccinating, etc., but then hand you a tiny, thin kitten.