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Vet Dr Sarah Elliott chats conditions that can cause excessive tiredness in cats and the ideal age to neuter a kitten.

In our recent live Facebook Q&A, vet Dr Sarah Elliott answered cat owners’ veterinary questions.

Here’s a roundup of some of the topics covered:

Why does my cat seem down?

I’m a bit concerned about my cat. He seems to be a bit down and is sleeping lots and doesn’t want to interact with me unless I actually force the issue and pick him up for a cuddle. He is not off his food or anything – I  just notice his mood has changed a little and he seems sad to me.

I'm sorry to hear that your cat is feeling a bit out of sorts. It might be worth booking him in for a quick MOT with your vet, just in case there is anything amiss medically. There are a few medical conditions that can cause excessive tiredness. It would be important to monitor how much he is drinking, whether there is any sign of diarrhoea, or any signs of weight loss. These are all important observations to report back to your vet when you go for your visit.


How can I make my kitten calm?

My kitten is almost six months old and has recently been spayed. She has allowed me to clip her nails, however as she is getting older it is becoming increasingly difficult. Is there an over the counter medicine or something I can administer myself to sedate/calm her to allow me to do her nails?

Cats Protection recommends Feliway pheromone sprays and diffusers as one of the ways of creating a calming environment for your cat. Most young cats do not need to have their claws trimmed, especially as outdoor cats will use their claws for climbing or fleeing from danger. Providing plenty of scratching post options for her will encourage her to keep her claws in good condition by scratching. Cats also love to use scratch posts as a way of transferring their scent from the scent glands in their paws - they love to have their own familiar scent in the home. Some older cats can suffer from long and thickened nails as they become less active. These cats will need some claw maintenance. Your vet may be able to show you some gentle cat-friendly restraint techniques to make the process less stressful.

grey cat looking out window

Credit: Flickr: Sjingel



Our kitten is going to have her microchip done at the same time she is neutered. When is the best time to get them neutered from?

I'm so glad you have asked this question as there are some common misconceptions out there about when is the best time to neuter cats.

Cats are capable of becoming parents as early as four months old, when they hit puberty. Cats Protection, along with many other charities, as well as the British Veterinary Association recommends that cats (be they male or female) get neutered at the age of four months or sooner to prevent any unwanted litters. There are some myths out there that cats must be allowed to have one litter first, and this is totally untrue. Cats can lead happy, healthier lives when neutered, as neutering prevents the onset of some cancers and sexually transmitted disease, as well as diseases caught through cat fights. Cats are less likely to fight and roam if neutered. Find out more at:


How can I stop my cats going to the toilet all over my gravel?

It sounds like they really like using your gravel as a toilet! The best solution is going to be giving them somewhere even more preferable to use instead. Here are some tips on creating the perfect cat loo.

tabby and white cat with closed eyes

Credit: Flickr: angintaravichian



My one-year-old cat died last week, so I got a kitten for my other one-year-old as he seemed really down. How long will it take for him to accept the kitten?

I'm so sorry about your loss. While many people think that cats need friends, they descend from a solitary ancestor, so generally they are much happier having the whole place to themselves! Ensure that your cats have lots of resources (litter tray, food bowl, water bowl etc) - ideally one per cat plus one extra to avoid any competition. You may find the tips in our guide helpful about cats living together.


Veterinary note: Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For more advice, please visit:

Consult your vet if you have a specific concern about your cat.

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection's experts a question? Don’t miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: our Stray and Feral Q&A is on the 15 August and our next veterinary Q&A is on 24 August.

All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2pm. See you there!

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