Animal Care

Obligations to care for your animals

As the person in charge, you are required to provide the following:

  • Proper and sufficient food and water
  • Adequate shelter
  • The opportunity to display normal patterns of behavior
  • Protection from and rapid diagnosis of any significant injury or distress
  • Adequate exercise

Identification for your pet

Dogs should wear a collar so should they escape it will be known they have a caring owner. Yearly dog licenses from the City Council need to be obtained.

Introduction to the property

When you get your dog home for the first time walk it around the property on a lead several times.

Introducing a new pet to an existing pet

TWO RULES:

  • Play it cool
  • Patience is essential

Spend a lot of time with the introductions. Your presence reassures your original pets and enables you to supervise the animals. Don’t leave them alone until you are confident that they are comfortable with each other.

Be patient, it could take a day or many weeks for the animals to get acquainted. Dogs and cats live in a “pecking order”. That’s what this acquaintance period is for. There may be a few scuffles; growling and hissing is perfectly normal. Don’t worry unless the fighting appears to be serious and does not diminish over time.

Your new cat

We recommend you keep your new cat inside for seven to ten days with a litter tray. This is so that your house will become his or her new territory.

Kittens should be kept inside for ten to fourteen days with a litter tray. This is so they can adjust to their new environment and increase in weight.

Obligations to care for your animals

As the person in charge, you need to provide the following:

  • Proper and sufficient food and water
  •  Adequate shelter
  • Protection from and rapid diagnosis of any significant injury or distress

Identification of your pet

It is a good idea for you new cat to wear a collar so if they get lost it will be known they have an owner.

Introducing a new pet to an existing pet

The first introduction should take place when you have 2-3 days off. Your presence reassures your original pets and enables you to supervise the animals. Don’t leave them alone until you are confident that they are comfortable with each other.

Be patient, it could take a day or many weeks for the animals to get aquatinted. Cats and dogs live in a “pecking order”. That’s what this acquaintance period is for. There may be a few scuffles; growling and hissing is perfectly normal. Don’t worry unless the fighting appears to be serious and does not diminish over time.

Resident cat meets new cat

Introducing two kittens to each other or a kitten to an older cat is easy, but adult cats are every bit as territorial as dogs and the introduction of a new adult of the same size, sex or temperament can be a delicate diplomatic matter.

To aid the peace process:

  • Place the carrier containing your new cat in a quiet corner or end room of the house and keep the carrier closed for the first hour or so. Then open the carrier. Put a litter box and bowls of water and food nearby and change the food, water and litter daily. Ask everyone, especially children, to keep things quiet and low-key at first.
  • Keep the new cat in its room for a few days before leaving the door open. The newcomer and resident cats can adjust to each other’s smells before meeting face to face and the new cat will start out with its own little piece of territory. Don’t be surprised if the new cat stays in its room or under a bed for several days. Adult cats need to feel confident before they delve into new territory from the safety of the carrier and room. The new cat can explore with confidence and can retreat there if any disagreement with the resident cat should arise.
  • Some cats crave attention after being confined, but others just want to be left alone. Give the cat a choice. Try to make friends by holding treats out to it, but do not insist. Instead, let the cat approach you – and explore the rest of the house – at its own pace. And before giving the new cat the run of the house, be sure that windows are blocked off with screens and that doors to the outside, basement etc are shut. Block off spaces behind appliances too.

Resident dog meets new cat

Any combination of young and adult animals will quickly work out well. Follow the steps outlined above for bringing a new feline into your home and do your best to prevent jealousy on the part of the dog.

Whereas cats are more independent creatures, dogs are closely attuned to the social structure in the home so pay special attention to the dog.

You can find out how ready the dog is for the presence of the cat by setting down the closed cat carrier with her inside. Let the dog sniff the carrier. If the dog is merely curious (not making aggressive noises), you can speed up the “let’s be friends” process. Hold the cat on your lap (assuming that he/she is not excitable or fearful) while another person brings the dog (on a leash) close enough to sniff. If this meeting is peaceful, reward both pets with praise and petting. If the dog growls or wants to lunge at the cat, growl at the dog strongly and take it out of the room (these exercises are for the safety of the dog as well as the cat, since a canine who doesn’t know the power of felines may be in for a rude surprise if the cat gets angry). In general, whenever the two animals meet quietly, encourage their behaviour with profuse praise.

Whatever combination of animals you introduce, remember to give your pets plenty of time to work things out for themselves. Domestic animals are wonderfully adaptable and reliant and a smooth introduction virtually guarantees your pets will be great pals all their lives.

Nutrition

What you feed will have an effect on the way your cat feels, his energy levels, the way he grows and his overall health so it is very important he is fed correctly.

General rules for feeding cats & kittens:

  • ALWAYS have fresh, clean water available.
  • Introduce any new food to your pet gradually over a week to avoid stomach upsets.
  • Kittens and cats do not need to be fed milk – in fact it will usually cause stomach upsets. If you would like to give your cat milk, buy Whiskas Milk Plus from the supermarket (this has had the lactose removed and should not cause upset stomachs.)
  • Buy the good quality cat food you can afford, but the food MUST include the words “complete and balanced” on the label.
  • Do not feed your cat dog food. They have different nutritional needs than dogs, and feeding them just dog food can make them sick or even kill them.
  • Raw meat such as gravy beef or plain cooked chicken or fish must not take up more than one third of your cat’s diet.
  • Cats should not be fed bones. They can get stuck in the gut and cause a lot of problems. However, RAW chicken necks are a good treat for cats, which can help keep their teeth clean and gums healthy. Your pet may be fed these once a week.
  • Steer clear of vitamins and calcium supplements, as long as your cat or kitten is being fed good quality food it does not need these, and they may actually cause the cat harm.
  • Too much fish or liver in the diet can be harmful to your cat or kitten, so try to feed these only as a treat every couple of weeks if desired.

Feeding a kitten

Correct feeding of the young kitten is vitally important, as it is at this stage that bones and joints are growing and forming.

All kittens should be fed a balanced formula cat food. Both dry and canned kitten foods are fine for kittens.

Again steer clear of vitamins and supplements for kittens, especially calcium supplements – too much calcium during growth can be very harmful to bones and joints.

What should I feed my cat?

Read through the general rules for feeding cats and kittens above, as these will help answer this question.

A cat over 12 months of age should be fed a cat or maintenance formula food which is complete and balanced as at least 2 thirds of its daily diet. If desired, the other one third can be made up of fresh meat, fish or boiled chicken.

Older cats need special feeding also – they should be fed “senior” or “geriatric” cat diets.

Number of meals per day for your cat

Age
Number of meals per day
6 – 12 weeks
3 – 4
12 weeks – 6 months
2 – 3
6 – 12 months
2
12 months & older
1 – 2

How much & how often?

How much you feed your cat at each meal will vary. Kittens need to be fed small meals often, whereas cats get a bigger meal.

Carefully read the packaging of your food to get an idea of how much to feed, as it will vary with the type of food.

Vaccination

  • Cat Flu or “Snuffles”: snuffles is a respiratory disease of cats similar to the common cold or flu in people. Vaccination will help to protect the cat against snuffles, which otherwise can be very unpleasant for the cat.
  • Rabbis—a very serious disease that effects the brain.  It is transmitted by saliva & bodily fluids and kills both dogs & humans bitten by Rabid animals.

When should my cat be vaccinated?

All cats should receive an initial course of vaccinations as a kitten (or as an adult cat if they missed out). After this, your cat will need a booster shot every year to keep its immunity.

Worming

As with most things, prevention is better than a cure, so you should follow a good worming plan through your cat’s life, rather than wait until they become sick.

As a general rule, kittens should be wormed every three weeks until they are 6 months of age. After 6 months of age cats should be wormed every three months for the rest of their lives.

Flea Treatment & Prevention

Although many pet owners do not see fleas as a serious problem, they can cause your animal severe discomfort, as they are intensely itchy and uncomfortable for the pet. In addition to this, a lot of fleas can make an animal become anaemic, and there are some animals that are allergic to the flea’s bite and can have an allergic skin reaction.

‘Advantage’ and ‘Frontline’: We would recommend one of these two products as the best and safest way to control fleas on your pet. They are both safe, easy to apply, and kill 100% of the fleas on your pet for 4 to 8 weeks after each application (depending on the product).

When Your Pet Is Sick or Injured

If at any point you are concerned about the health or well-being of your pet, contact your local veterinarian.

All animals should see their vet for a check-up once a year. This generally can be done at the time of the annual vaccination, and is important so that any health problems can be detected early.

Where all care has been taken to ensure the health of adopted animals; there is always the possibility of a disease in incubation that will not manifest itself until after adoption.

In cats this is commonly a sign of “cat flu” or “snuffles”. Snuffles is a disease of the upper respiratory tract (the throat and windpipe).

Because the disease is viral, and there are no animal medications that kill viruses, recovery involves the cat’s immune system clearing the disease from the body (in this way, the disease is very similar to a common cold or the flu in people). It may take one to two weeks for complete recovery.

NEVER give an animal human medicine such as Panadol or Aspirin, as these may harm or even kill the pet.

Resident dog meets new dog

Have the two dogs initially meet on neutral territory such as a park. Keep the dogs in separate rooms when you are not home – unless you are certain that they will not fight.

When you are home, have short fun periods with the animals – play games, go for walks and be liberal with doggie treats so the dogs associate being together with having a good time.

You can try ‘affection training’ if the dogs are not yet getting along. For example, you have the resident dog (on a leash) next to you while a friend brings in the new dog (also on a leash). Praise your dog (“good boy, good boy”) for good behavior. Do not praise for bad behavior.

Resident cat meets new dog

A new or resident dog is likely to get along well with a kitten. However, a dog will have to be supervised, as a playful canine nip could injure the cat. Individual adult canine/feline relationships depend a great deal on the personalities of the two animals and on the attitude of the human guardian.

Let your cat explore the house without the dog so it can find safe places if needed. When introducing the dog to the cat have the dog on a lead and praise him for good behavior. Don’t be surprised if the hisses and strikes out. Initially, do not leave the cat and dog together unsupervised. Dogs can play too rough, so ensure you reprimand over boisterous behavior.

Once the dog knows the cat’s limits, they will hopefully settle down to become good friends.

Nutrition

What you feed will have an effect on the way your dog feels, his energy levels, the way he grows and his overall health so it is very important he is fed correctly.

General rules for feeding dogs & puppies:

  • Always have fresh, clean water available.
  • Introduce any new food to your pet gradually over a week to avoid tummy upsets.
  • Puppies and dogs do not need to be fed milk – in fact it will usually cause stomach upsets.
  • Buy the best quality dog food you can afford; but the food MUST include the words “complete and balanced” on the label or it will not supply everything your dog needs. Also look for the words “AAFCO Tested” on the label. This is an assurance that the food supplies all your pets needs.
  • Unfortunately, many types of dog roll are NOT complete and balanced nutrition for your dog. Raw meat, household scraps, veges or poor quality dog roll must not make up more than one third of your dog’s diet.
  • Dogs do not need to be fed bones. If you would like to give your dog a bone as a treat, the ONLY safe ones to give are raw, large, beef cannon bones. They should never be fed any other bones as they can become stuck in the gut. As a general rule, feed bones they can chew on – not chew up.
  • Steer clear of vitamins and calcium supplements. As long as your dog or pup is being fed good quality food it does not need these, and they may actually cause the dog harm.
  • Keep a record of the weight of your pet as it grows and as an adult, and get your vet to advise you on your pets ideal bodyweight.

Feeding Puppies

Correct feeding of the young puppy is vitally important, as it is at this stage that bones and joints are growing and forming.

Both dry and canned puppy foods are fine for pups as well as a balanced diet of meat & rice. To get them used to eating biscuits, try soaking them in water to soften them.

Again, steer clear of vitamins etc. for pups, especially calcium supplements – too much calcium during growth can be very harmful to bones and joints.

For large breed puppies such as Mastiffs, Great Danes and other large dogs, nutrition during growth is particularly important. They need to be fed very carefully to avoid growing too fast as this can harm their bones and joints also.

See your vet to advise you on exactly how to feed this type of pup.

Number of meals per day for your dog

Age Meals per day
6-12 weeks
3-4
12 weeks-6 months
2-3
6-12 months
2
12 months & older
1-2

Vaccination

Your new dog will have had at least one of its first courses of vaccinations. The date it is due for it’s next shot will be recorded in the animal health record card, which we have provided with your dog.

IMPORTANT: Until your puppy has received its full initial course of vaccinations, it is important to avoid exposing it to disease. It should not be allowed to mix with other unvaccinated dogs. Not continuing with the vaccinations may result in your dog catching a fatal disease.

What diseases is my dog vaccinated against?  

  • Parvovirus or “Parvo” is a very serious disease of puppies , which is common in Kenya. It causes very severe
  • Rabbis—a very serious disease that effects the brain. It is transmitted by saliva & bodily fluids and kills both dogs & humans bitten by Rabid animals.

After the initial puppy vaccinations, your dog will need a booster shot every year to keep its immunity.

Worming

As a general rule, puppies should be wormed every three weeks until they are 6 months of age. After three months of age dogs should be wormed every three months for the rest of their lives.

Flea Treatment & Prevention

Although many pet owners do not see fleas as a serious problem, they can cause your animal severe discomfort, as they are intensely itchy and uncomfortable for the pet. In addition to this, a lot of fleas can make an animal become anaemic, and there are some animals that are allergic to the flea’s bite and can have a nasty allergic skin reaction.

In Kenya, fleas are a problem for pets throughout the whole year. This means that pet owners often need to use a flea treatment product year round.

When Your Pet Is Sick or Injured

If at point you are concerned about the health or well-being of your pet, contact your local veterinarian.   All animals should see their vet for a check-up once a year. This generally can be done at the time of the annual vaccination, and is important so that any health problems can be detected early.