When spring comes along, your pets tend to spend more time outside, making the most of nature. But a bigger playground can also mean the appearance of new dangers for your cat.
Falls, spikelets and allergies are just some of the many threats to your cat's health that should be taken seriously so you can react as quickly as possible.
Below you will find the top seven spring-time dangers to your cat and how best to deal with them.
1. Beware of ticks and fleas
Your cat can catch ticks and fleas throughout the year. However, the higher temperatures in spring increase their chances of manifesting.
House cats are just as much at risk as cats with access to the outdoors as the parasites can attach themselves to your clothes which are then transferred to your cat's fur.
A single flea can produce up to 50 eggs a day. Their growth is difficult to control and can cause intense itching for your cat. If they scratch too much, they can end up hurting themselves.
Ticks are even more dangerous for your cat. They can cause feline anemia or in worst cases potentially life-threatening diseases such as Lyme, ehrlichiosis or even feline leukaemia.
Ticks are particularly difficult to spot in cats because, unlike dogs, they don't cause itching.
To fight against cat parasites, it is recommended to regularly check their fur, by brushing it for example.
You can also use pest-control products for your cat as well as an insect repellant which should keep them away. An insecticide will allow you to kill any parasites already present on your cat and should stop any others from settling.
2. Allergies threatening your cat
Allergies pose just as much a threat for your cat in the spring as they do for your dog. Pollen, dust and mites can all cause your cat to have an allergic reaction.
The most common feline allergy is a flea allergy. Their bite leads to allergic dermatitis which can cause your cat to scratch itself until it bleeds.
All allergies present the same symptoms: coughing, skin irritation, hair loss, vomiting…
Don't hesitate to contact your vet if you see one of these symptoms, they will be able to prescribe the exact anti-allergic treatment for your cat.
3. Gardening products and toxic plants
Cats regularly need to eat plants or catnip to purge themselves. It therefore isn't rare to see your cat chewing on some grass or plants in your garden. However, some plants are very toxic for cats:
The ingestion of one of these plants can lead to poisoning. This can cause digestive, cardiac and nervous system problems.
If you see your cat vomit, have diarrhoea, hyper-salivate or even shake, then you need to take them to the vet immediately. If you know what plant your cat has eaten, bring some of its leaves or flowers to help your vet.
4. Stopping your cat from falling from a balcony or a window
Cats are naturally agile animals, often jumping from heights without hurting themselves. However, sometimes they can slip from a balcony ledge or a window which can lead to bone fractures or in worst cases, their death.
Your cat may also try to open a tilt-and-turn window or velux, causing them to get stuck and perhaps injured in an attempt to free themselves.
To avoid this type of incident happening, protect your windows or balconies (mosquito net, fence) or keep an eye on them while their in the room and stop them when you think they're too close.
5. Brush your cat during moulting to avoid hair-balls
During spring, cats begin to lose their excess fur from winter. When cat's moult, they lose much more hair than normal and therefore risk ingesting a large amount while they groom themselves.
Large hair-balls may lead to vomiting, constipation and even bowel obstruction. In the case of the latter, it is urgent to consult a vetanarian.
To avoid this happening, you can brush your cat more frequently than the rest of the year and adapt their diet by increasing the amount of fibre to aid with the digestion of hair-balls. Catnip is also a way to help them purge.
6. Beware of spikelets; they are very dangerous for cats
Spikelets are one of the biggest dangers cats and dogs face during spring and summer. Spikelets are small blades of foxtail grass which detach themselves when they dry out, something that happens mainly in summer. They then attach themselves to nearby animals.
Source: Veterinary Clinic
Their seeds are easily spread, sticking to the coats of animals and getting into their skin, ears, nostrils, eyes, and even between their paws. This can lead to an infection.
If you come across one, don't try and remove it yourself but instead make a visit to your vet. This can be very painful for your pet so try and avoid the spikelet getting in in the first place by regularly checking their fur and orifices.
7. Watch out for processionary caterpillars
The number one danger for dogs and cats during the summer is processionary caterpillars. They are mostly seen during hotter temperatures which is why they're more prevalent during the spring and summer months, nesting in pine trees.
They are covered with little stinging hairs that can cause serious damage if they come into contact with mucous membranes. If your cat tries to eat one of these caterpillars, you must take them to the vet immediately before the infections necrose its tongue.
The hair, if inhaled, can reach the lungs. Finally, if your cat manages to eat a processionary caterpillar, they will inevitably suffer from abdominal pain and vomit.
Watch out for places where your cat usually hangs out, particularly if pine trees are nearby.