Dr. Scott Miller's Cat Q&A

Last week we hosted the paw-some Dr. Scott Miller on our Instagram who took the time to answer some of your cat-related queries. 


Doctor Dr. Scott Miller Vet Veterinarian

Here's a selection of Dr. Scott's answers:


Cat Crying Meowing in the night


My kitten is waking me up at 4/5am and will consistently cry until food time, what can I do about it?


Well, your kitten is training you a little bit there, and what you need to do is make sure there is some exclusion between you and your kitten.

Some people use puppy training crates, which are a great way to corral them and keep them under control.

Your kitten, like a lot of young children, has a fast metabolism and they have to eat a lot, so try to feed the kitten as late as possible in the evening and then get up quite early in the morning (my child was up this morning at 2:45am!) so that is something that you have to go through. 

Throughout the kittenhood that will improve and you will be able to extend the time that you can sleep, as well as they will, but do try to keep your kitten away from you at points when you need to sleep, as we all need to work to make sure that we provide for our kittens, so a little bit of exclusion but also maturity will definitely help.


 cat pawing scratching let me in

My cat scratches outdoors to get attention at silly o’ clock in the morning, how can I stop it?


I think the clue was in the previous answer in that you really need to have an exclusion zone, if you really want to sleep well and you don't want your cat to wake you up then they cannot have access to you. 

Scratching the door is a way to say “hey, mum, dad, wake up, I want your attention” so sometimes it might mean that they have to be in a separate room to you altogether. 

Of course make sure they are fully exercised, that you play with them lots the night before and during the day as well, to make sure that all that energy is away from them, and they do have a good night's sleep. 

You have to be very careful with cats because if they are trying to get your attention and you negatively reinforce them, such as by spraying them with water, sometimes you can make them even more stressed. I wouldn't recommend that, but I would say it is fair enough that you need sleep, and therefore you should exclude your cat from a position where they can scratch the door.



cat shock gif


My 10 year old cat is always peeing on his back legs, and tracking pee everywhere, is there something I can do to prevent this?


I definitely think you need to go and see your vet. It is absolutely not right that a ten year old cat, which I assume is neutered, would be urinating across their back legs.

I would be concerned that either they are urinating excessively, which could mean kidney disease, or they are at a level of incontinence, which could be anything from a urinary infection to calculi or urinary crystals, so this is definitely worth going to see your vet about.

If you are struggling to go and see your vet at the moment, maybe take a urine sample from your cat and bring that into the vet clinic - that is a great way that they can assess your cat's urinary health before they actually see him.


cat sneezing

My cat seems sneezier than other cats - why could that be?


Well, a lot of cats are suffering, like we are at the moment, with hayfever - it is a seasonal allergy which means there are a lot of pollens in the air which can then cause your cat (just like you) to be a little bit sneezier, a little bit snufflier. 

Make sure that it doesn't turn into an infection, if it is a clear discharge at the moment that is fine, but if it turns into a sort of a yellow or green discharge, it is definitely worth discussing with your vet. 

There are some cats that suffer with asthma as well, so it is something that if it becomes a consistent issue, or you notice that is it worse when there is lots of pollen around or air pollution - those reasons could then mean that your cat is suffering with asthma - which is basically allergic bronchitis and is something that can be managed very well with medication. 

In this case I would say if it continues consistently, it is definitely worth seeing your vet.


 cat angry antisocial

How do I make my cat feel comfortable around other people?


Cats are solitary animals, and I think in a lot of ways we enjoy their company more than they enjoy ours, particularly when it comes to strangers. 

My cat is fourteen, his name is Ricketts, and he hates pretty much everyone except for my wife and I. He tolerates the children - he quite likes the dog, weirdly - but a lot of cats will just like certain people and their particular smell. 

If you’re trying to ingratiate your cat with a particular person, then it is worthwhile transferring some of your scent onto them. 

You can also try food, some cats are quite food motivated, you can maybe use some treats to try and see if that has some impact on making your cat more agreeable to people.

Most of the time your cat is trying to find their comfort zone and if that means it is away from people who are visiting your home, then do let them do that.



cat bite scratch toilet roll

How do I stop my cats destroying everything I own - plants, paper, shoelaces, etc...


Well, cats are the boss, so it can really be quite difficult to stop them from doing things in their house. 

What I would say in this case, is that it may well be that a lot of that energy that they are putting into that behaviour can be burned off by doing other things. 

Actively playing with your cat (particularly if it is an indoor cat) can be a good way of using this pent up energy which normally would be used outside - running around chasing and catching things. 

Use fishing rod toys, feathers, laser pens and things that can burn off that energy, get their heart rate up and make them feel like they've had some exercise. Then they will be far more chilled and relaxed and hopefully won't destroy all of your belongings!



cat boyfriend angry

My one year old kitten is very jealous of my partner, and he is scratching everything!


It would be interesting to know how that jealousy is manifesting. As in the previous question, I would say that your partner perhaps needs to put in a bit more work to try and encourage the love from your cat - doing the feeding stuff, doing the grooming as well just spending time with the cat and doing a little bit of play too, that's always really important!

As for scratching everything, again, this is all about diverting that energy from scratching to other things.

Some people say you can give them a little spray of water to try and stop them from scratching a particular area, but also providing some scratching posts can sometimes work really well - just make sure that they know that they can scratch there and it is absolutely okay. Sometimes, infusing the scratching post with catnip can really help.



cat brush teeth toothbrush

How important is it to brush my cat’s teeth? 

Well, I would be a hypocrite to say that I brush my cats teeth because I don't. I think with most cats it is very very difficult to try, and I think if I asked people to do it, there would be a lot of cat-related injuries as a result of that advice!

I think, if your cat is really chilled and relaxed there are some finger brushes that you can use to brush on the outsides, but using dry cat food is a great way to make sure they are naturally cleaned and abraded by the food.

Wet food tends to accumulate in the teeth - it is like eating stew every day of your life and never brushing your teeth - so it can really build up and lead to tartar.

A dental scale and polish maybe twice in a cats lifetime is fairly standard - some cats need more, some need less.

Also another option you could try is raw chicken wings - because a raw bone isn't like a cooked bone, it doesn't tend to snap quite as badly and they can be used to actually clean the teeth as they chew it so it as a natural alternative.

There are some gels you can put on their teeth which has an activated toothpaste and there are some things that can go in their water as well - lots of things to discuss with your vet, go to your practice and ask the vet nurses - they're lovely people!


 cat tongue lick mouth 

My cat loves licking inside my mouth - is it a health issue for me? Should I stop him?

Yes and yes - that's all I need to say!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to find out when the next round of Vet Q&A will be taking place!

14/04/2021 by NatuTeam

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