Tag: cats

Help, My cat keeps marking its territory around the house!

Dr Richard Thomas – Cairns Vet Clinic

Dear Dr Richard Thomas, my cat keeps marking its territory around the house. What can I do?

Cats tend to mark areas/their territory in response to stressful stimuli, luckily there are a few things you can do to stop this. Try different types of litter and make sure to keep it fresh. Have more trays than cats, placed in a quiet and accessible area. Restrict access to areas they’re marking or use a cleaner containing ‘urease’. Spray relaxing pheromones, or install a diffuser (“Feliway”) near the marking areas, and make sure to keep cats separated if they don’t get along. If this doesn’t work then you should speak to your vet.

Read more from Cairns Vet Clinic here. 




Help, My Cat Keeps Marking Its Territory!

Urine marking can land your cat straight into the bad books. Even some furniture and shoes in particular can often be permanently ruined by a smelly territorial mark. Thankfully, there are many treatments and preventative strategies to reduce the incidence and severity of this noxious behaviour. 

In general cats tend to mark in the wild to define their territory to reduce violent overlap with other cat’s territories. Feral cats can have natural ranges of anywhere between 2.5 and 700 acres. So if you think about it, we’re taking animals that are genetically geared to roam hundreds of acres by themselves, and putting them into tiny apartments in close proximity with other cats. No wonder it can be very stressful for them.  

In response to the stress mentioned above, cats are prone to developing urinary tract inflammation and crystals. For this reason, abnormal marking is a problem where you should visit the vet first. Ideally, bring in a fresh urine sample for testing. A visit is essential to check for infection, urinary crystals, stress cystitis, and kidney failure, amongst other problems.

If your cat gets the all-clear after being checked, then their marking problem is likely behavioural. So how do we reduce this behaviour? 

Take your number of cats, plus one, and that’s how many litter trays you need. 

Got two cats? Get three litter trays. Got three cats? Get four litter trays. Cats prefer fresh, clean litter, so encourage them to use their litter tray by changing it regularly. You can even try offering different types of litter to see if there’s one they prefer. By making the litter as appealing as possible, you’re helping encourage them to urinate where they’re meant to. 

Restrict access to the area, and clean the area immediately. 

One of the best ways to break the marking habit is to remove access to the item or area they’re marking. This may mean closing off the lounge room door, or moving your shoes from the floor. Clean the area they’ve marked immediately with a urease-containing cleaner (“urine-off”) to reduce the scent trigger for them to re-mark the area.  

Have plenty of hidey holes and space. 

Many cats prefer their own company, and find social interaction with other cats quite stressful. Try making sure they have plenty of places to hide and relax around the house. Boxes, cat towers, and cupboards, can all be used as hiding places. 

Try pheromone sprays and diffusers.

“Feliway” sprays and diffusers contain artificial pheromones that help to reduce stress related marking behaviour. The spray can be sprayed daily on problem areas, such as the couch, whereas a diffuser will treat a whole room for around 30 days. 

Try some Zylkene.

“Zylkene” is a milk protein that seems to help relax stressed-out kitties. The powder is sprinkled onto their food and they tend to eat it enthusiastically. It has the main benefit of being a safe and simple treatment to reduce stress. 

Consider environmental adjustment.

Installing an outdoor cat run can take time and effort, but your cat will thank you when they can go outside and enjoy some space, sun, and fresh air. You won’t have to worry about them going missing, hunting wildlife, or getting into fights. This can help to increase their available space and reduce their stress levels. 

Try some cat nip toys.

Many cats respond positively to catnip toys or fresh catnip. We can use this in their environment to help keep them relaxed. 

Use separate water and food bowls.

Cats can find sharing food and water pretty stressful! Try placing food and water bowls around the house so they can eat where and when they want. 

Consider veterinary treatments.

Vets can provide advice on the best diets to reduce stress and reduce crystal formation in cats. We can also discuss stronger ways to reduce stress-related behaviour, such as antidepressant use. It is always necessary to address environmental problems alongside medical treatment.  


You can find more expert advice on the Cairns Veterinary Clinic website





Pregnancy is a time that is so exciting, but it can turn the best of us into worry-warts. Bringing life into the world is an experience incomparable to any other.

Your body goes through many stages during this time, and certain things from your pre-baby life may not be safe for you or your baby.

There are certain foods, drinks and activities that should be avoided during pregnancy, as they may carry a risk (although often small) of infection, poisoning or other harm to you both.

Food and Drink

Raw fish Raw fish can cause several infections, such as Salmonella, Vibrio and Listeria. Pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than the general population, so hold off eating that sashimi until after birth.

Soft cheeses – Avoid mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie and camembert. The mould can, again, contain Listeria, so it’s important to take precautions. However, you can still eat hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan (phew).

Raw or partially cooked eggs – You may want to avoid ordering eggs benedict next time you’re at brunch, as there is a risk of Salmonella poisoning.

Liver products – Liver pâté or sausages may contain a lot of vitamin A, too much of which may harm your baby.

Alcohol – There is no safe level of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, so it is safest to have none at all as even the smallest amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development.


Don’t paint the nursery – Exposure to toxicity from the paint may harm your unborn baby. Just find someone else to do the painting; win-win.

Don’t change the kitty litter Cat faeces may carry toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic disease. While rare, it’s better to be safe than sorry – and if you must do it yourself, wear gloves and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.

Don’t go on any rides – Steer clear of those rollercoasters and any other rides that involve forceful take off and landings, especially if you are prone to nausea.

Don’t go in hot tubs or saunas – As tempting as it may be to soothe your aching body, soaking in a hot tub or relaxing in a sauna can be harmful as it raises your body temperature, which has been linked to birth defects.

Certain exercises – Staying active while pregnant is great and carries many health benefits for you and therefore your baby, but not all exercises are safe. Avoid repetitive high impact exercises, avoid contact sports and activities that have a risk of falling, such as cycling, horse riding or gymnastics.

If you are unsure what exercises are safe for you, a doctor or physiotherapist will be able to point you in the right direction.

Steer clear of the above, and you should be a-okay. It’s completely normal to be worried about the things that may potentially harm your baby, so if you are ever in any doubt, ask your doctor.

What Is Tick Paralysis?

Cairns Vet Clinic

Dear Dr Richard Thomas, what is tick paralysis?

In Australia, ticks paralyse around 75,000 dogs and cats each year. In North Queensland, these ticks are more prevalent from June to December but cases do occur all year round. Areas of natural bush land which harbour native animals, particularly bandicoots, are the most likely areas where these ticks are picked up.

Tick paralysis can quickly progress to severe paralysis and death, so if you suspect your pet may have a tick, early diagnosis and treatment gives them the best chance of recovery. Don’t delay, contact us day or night.


Read more pet blogs HERE. 








As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”, and the same goes for your pets too. Which is why a premium diet is best for your pets. Feeding a well-balanced diet to your pet, regular exercise and veterinary check-ups promotes health. It keeps their teeth, skin and coat in check, as well as strong well-developed bones, bright clear eyes, good muscle tone, firmer smaller stools, increased energy plus improved quality of life and longevity.

Premium pet foods contain a higher quality protein than inferior foods. The protein is usually sourced from chicken, fish, lamb and beef. Inferior pet foods source their protein from bone and connective tissue, which has a lower nutritional value. Protein is an essential nutrient as it provides the building blocks for healthy coats, skin and muscle growth. It also assists brain development in younger animals.

The higher quality ingredients in premium foods are also more digestible compared with lower quality ingredients in inferior pet foods. This means more nutrients are absorbed into your pet’s system. Pet foods that are less digestible move more quickly through your pet’s system.

The benefits of premium pet foods:

•• Less waste – Being more digestible and containing more useful ingredients, your pet retains more nutrients from the food. This results in healthy, well-formed stools and a reduction in quantity, less flatulence and less mess.

•• Less food – As it is more concentrated your pet requires less food than when being fed inferior brands.

•• Contains quality nutrients – These keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy. They can help prevent issues such as food allergies, sensitive stomachs and obesity. They may also help with hip and joint stiffness, hairballs, urinary tract issues and oral disease.

The good news is that premium pet foods cost less than you think. The chart below shows how much on average it costs to feed your pets, Hill’s Science Diet Vet Essentials per day:

Hill’s Science Diet Vet Essentials diet range has been developed to provide a large range of health support for your pet. It has a great taste and contains superior quality ingredients, is 100 per cent guaranteed with no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours and is recommended by vets worldwide.

For more information about your pet’s nutritional needs or Hill’s Vet Essentials, visit our website www.cairnsvet.com.au or contact our friendly team at either of our convenient locations.

CAN PREGNANT WOMEN BE AROUND CATS?|Pregnant women and cats


“Pregnant women should avoid cats.”

If you’re pregnant and own a cat, you’ve probably heard this common myth a few times. So, before you consider rehoming your beloved cat, rest assured that exposure to cats won’t harm a developing foetus, but it is important to make some changes to how you handle their cat litter tray.

So where has this myth come from? Cat faeces can spread toxoplasmosis, which in pregnancy is a dangerous infection that can cause birth defects.

What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. In most cases, the effects of toxoplasmosis are mild, and it often goes undetected, but for pregnant women, toxoplasmosis is very risky, as the parasite from the faeces can infect the placenta and the unborn baby.

The most common way humans become infected with the parasite is through direct contact with infected animal faeces. Cats are a common host as they pick up the parasite from eating infected rodents or birds.

What are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis?

Symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of the flu, e.g. fever, headaches, aches and pains, etc. and often infection shows no symptoms at all.

What happens if my baby becomes infected?
Most children born with toxoplasmosis won’t show any signs of infection at birth but will begin to show signs months to years later. Signs and symptoms can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, jaundice and rashes and bruises under the skin. They often have an unusually large or small head and can have brain and nervous system problems. They are also at high risk of retina damage which results in blindness.

How to avoid toxoplasmosis.

Infection can be prevented by practising good hygiene. In particular, pregnant women should do the following to reduce the risk of infection:

•• Wash hands thoroughly before eating.
•• Wear gloves while gardening.
•• Avoid contact with cat faeces and their rear ends.
•• Ideally, your partner should handle the emptying of your cat’s litter tray; however, if this is not possible, wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after emptying.
•• Don’t scoop; it’s best to make sure that litter trays are thoroughly emptied, cleaned and filled with fresh litter daily.

We treat your pets as if they were our own and are proud to have been caring for Cairns’ furry family members since 1966. With a vet available 24/7, 365 days per year, we are always here when you need us.