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British shorthair care

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by moggieandme, Dec 23, 2019.


  1. moggieandme

    moggieandme PetForums Newbie

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    Hello!

    I just joined this forum because I've found so much helpful information about caring for British shorthairs here when googling, and also because everyone seems very nice here. I live in Sweden but I haven't found any good information on Swedish sites about British shorthairs because they're not super common here, but you all seem to love them as much as I do! Sorry in advance for my awkward English.

    So, I have a beautiful British Blue boy named Morrissey, or Moggie for short, who is 8 months old. He is the first cat I've had as an adult, and the first pedigree cat I've had. I love him very much, and I worry a lot about him because that's who I am as a person. I just want to take care of him in the best way possible since his wellbeing is my responsibility. So I google things all the time. Like seriously all the time. But most often it's difficult to get straight answers, so I thought I would ask here instead.

    I am wondering about how to clean his eyes, or the area around the eye where the tears go? He has kind of watery eyes so it needs cleaning but it is difficult to get the gunk off and he doesn't really sit still long enough for me to rub it thoroughly.

    I am also wondering about kitten food vs. adult food. Is it okay to switch to adult dry food when he is 8 months or should I wait until he's 12 months? The huge bag of Royal Canin kitten food I got ran out last week and I thought I could get the adult one now since he is quite big already. So he has been eating the adult food for a week and it doesn't seem to be a problem, but I worry that maybe he needs kitten food still anyway? He eats one pouch of wet food a day, and has unlimited dry food as well.

    Another question about food: do you have the food bowl (or as in my case, plate) and drinking bowl elevated? Moggie was hunching over a lot so I raised them up, but I am wondering what is best for his posture and how high up they should be?

    Lastly, I am wondering about the size of the litter box. I read that it should be extra big since British shorthairs are big cats. I use a Peewee box that is the size of a standard litter box right now and it doesn't seem to be a problem for him, he uses it fine. The only thing is that he scratches the sides for ages after he poos, I don't know if that means something bad? Do you think that I need to get a bigger litter box instead? Would that maybe make him more comfortable and make him stop the excessive scratching?

    Sorry this got so long! I am just excited to be able to talk to other British shorthair owners, I hope you can bear with me. Any tips you might have would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers!
     
    #1 moggieandme, Dec 23, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @moggieandme and welcome :)

    Morrissey is a great name for a cat! If that is him in your avatar, he is a handsome boy! :)

    Your English is absolutely fine :)

    I have had BSH cats in the past (they have now gone to Rainbow Bridge). The best way to clean their eyes is using boiled cooled water (so the water is lukewarm/tepid), and clean cotton wool pads, a different one for each eye. You can add a couple of pinches of salt to the water as an antiseptic. Then, gently dab the inner corners of the eyes until the gunk loosens and comes away. After that get a clean piece of paper towel and gently dab the skin around the eye to dry it.

    After bathing the eyes I put a dab of pure cold pressed olive oil in the corner of the eyes (using a clean cotton bud for each eye) as this moisturises the skin and also acts as a mild antibacterial. You should bathe the eyes every day, to prevent gunk building up and going hard.

    To answer your questions about food:

    1/ Yes, it's Ok to switch him to adult food at 8 months if is a good quality food. Many good quality foods are suitable for all stages of development..

    2/ A diet of mostly wet food is much healthier for him that mostly dry food. e.g. 3 pouches of wet food a day (or a couple of cans) and a little dry food in a puzzle ball so he has to work for the dry food. Cats are designed by nature to get their fluids with their food (i.e. their prey) they are not designed to drink a lot of water. There is a risk your kitten could develop a low level of chronic dehydration on a mostly dry food diet. That would be harmful for his kidneys and other organs.

    3/ I am afraid that feeding unlimited amounts of dry food is not a good thing for a cat or a kitten. Dry food is very high in carbs and fats and feeding unlimited amounts can cause obesity or digestive problems (such as diarrhoea) If you are going to feed some dry food, do not leave it down all day for Morrissey to snack on. Instead weigh out enough for one meal (according to the instructions on the packet) and feed it to Morrissey for one of his meals.

    3/ There is a good choice of healthy wet cat foods available in Sweden. Have a look online at Zooplus.com for example. Morrissey can be allowed to eat as much wet food as he wants while he is growing. He will be best with set meals (say 4 meals a day) so he has a break between meals. Cats being carnivores, are not designed to be grazers like herbivores. If you're going to be out of the house in the daytime, you can buy an auto-feeder with a timer, and put a couple of wet meals in that for him. The one I have used for 25 years is the Cat Mate C20. You can buy it on amazon.

    4/ Dry food should not be fed after the bag has been open for more than 6 weeks. This is why it is not worth buying the very large bags of dry food. Dry food contains a high level of bacteria and fungus, which is activated as soon as the bag is opened and the contents exposed to the air. Buying small bags works out more expensive but the food will be fresher.

    5/ Unless Morrissey has digestive problems (or arthritis in his spine - more likely in an older cat) he should not need his food bowl and water bowls elevated at his age. If he was catching his own prey he would eat it at floor/ground level. However, some cats prefer a flat plate to eat from (e.g. like a large tea plate). Food bowls and water bowls should be wide and shallow, so the cat's whiskers do not touch the sides, so as to avoid whisker bruising. And they should be made of ceramic, glass or stainless steel, not plastic or melamine.

    Litter boxes - he needs a minimum of 2 boxes, as cats often prefer one box for pee and one for poo, though they may swap from day to day which is which. Ideally boxes should be uncovered so the cat can see around them while at their toilet. Do not place the boxes next to each other.

    A fine granular clumping litter is preferred by most cats. Poo should be removed as soon as possible after being deposited. Pee clumps should be removed twice or three times a day.

    Some cats scrape the sides of their boxes and it maybe an action they learned from their mothers. However, it may be that Morrissey finds the box a bit small for him, so I would try adding a larger box (as one of his boxes) and see if he prefers it. Also, non clumping litters may result in the cat standing in wet litter, so always provide a clumping litter. The corn based litters such as Worlds Best Original or Super Benek are well liked by cats. (see Zooplus.com again for value for money).

    If you have any more questions we are happy to help. :)

    p.s. a larger photo of Morrissey would be great it you have one to share. We all love kittens, and BSH cats! :)
     
    #2 chillminx, Dec 23, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  3. lea247

    lea247 PetForums VIP

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    Great advice from @chillminx as always! I have a BSH and find that when he's been fed exclusively raw food his eyes barely have anything in them (I call them eye bogies :D). Also if you get him used to his chin being tickled you might find it easier to clean his eyes.
     
  4. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

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    Very Good advise Chillminx. I have learnt something too. I have always bought the 10 kilo bag of British short hair biscuits and it last them months as they only have them for snacks:Nailbiting:Nailbiting:Nailbiting.
    So only small bags now on.x
     
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  5. moggieandme

    moggieandme PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx thank you! And thanks for the great response, I am so sorry for the late reply!

    Most people I know have been confused by the name, so I'm glad to hear you like it! I guess most people I know just need better taste in music :)

    That's very kind of you. I feel like my English is very stiff and clumsy, but this is good practice for me!

    I used up all the money I got on christmas and made a huge order from Zooplus, and I'm not even sorry about it. I am now that person who's obsessed with her cat, and proudly so :)

    I actually found wet wipes meant for cleaning your cat's eyes on Zooplus, and I figured it was easier than boiling water. They work pretty good, but I think your suggestion with the oil was what made the most difference! The gunk seems easier to get off now, it's great!

    I also bought the biggest litter box available, it's comically big compared to his old one. Morrissey seems a bit happier with the new one, he now digs a bit more and scratches the side less. I think that's a good sign, right?

    I didn't know that he should have 2 litter boxes though. He seems okay with just the one, especially now that it's larger, but should I add 1 more anyway? I don't really have room for it, but if it's important I will make room of course. How far away from each other should the 2 litter boxes be? I read this thing about cats needing 4 different zones (1 for food, 1 for play, 1 for sleep, and 1 for the litter box), and I only have 4 rooms so all rooms already have a zone. So can the litter boxes be in the same room only not exactly next to each other? The rooms in my flat are quite small so they will still be close to each other even if they are on opposite ends of the room, it's maybe 2 metres.

    I also put his food plate back on the floor, because what you said about cats eating on the ground in the wild makes sense. I think I worry too much sometimes! He does eat from a flat ceramic plate but I could probably find a wider and more shallow bowl for his water, I will look for one.

    I really appreciate all the information about food, this is something I worry about a lot. Proper food and diet seems almost like the most important thing for your cat's health, and I want to get it right so Morrissey is as healthy as possible! But it's so difficult to find helpful information about it, I feel like there's just a lot of marketing lies everywhere. For example, is Royal Canin dry food for BSH cats good quality? I thought it was a good choice because it's supposed to be a veterinarian brand, and they have a specific kind for his breed and all. The vet even sent some food from that brand home with us after Morrissey was neutered, so that should mean it's good quality. But my sister told me on christmas that she had heard that it wasn't really a quality brand, it's just marketed as such but it's not true. How do I know which food is good and which isn't? It's so confusing.

    I didn't know about the dry food going bad after 6 weeks, I will definitely get the small bags from now on! Should I throw out the large bag that I already got after it's been opened 6 weeks, or is it fine to eat a while longer do you think? It's really unfortunate that I already bought it, that wasn't very smart of me.

    I did know that cats should eat a bit of wet food every day because of the fluids, so I've been trying to get Morrissey to eat at least one pouch of wet food per day. He has never been overly fond of the wet food though, he mostly licks the sauce off. I thought that was good enough since he is very good with drinking water, I didn't know that dry food is unhealthy and that he should eat mostly wet food. So it's a good thing you told me! I've been trying for the last days to change this and transition Morrissey into eating more wet food, but he isn't pleased. He will eat nearly one pouch, but he leaves some of it. And he won't eat more. I've still got the dry food out most of the time but I'm limiting the amount a bit. I take the dry food away when I give him the wet food, and I've tried to not put the dry food back until he finishes the wet stuff. But he is really stubborn so it doesn't work very well. He still won't eat more than nearly 1 pouch. I've tried some different flavours, different brands and different kinds (chunks in gravy, fillets in jelly, and mousse) but it hasn't made a difference. I even tried mashing the fillets for him, but no luck. I'll keep trying different kinds, but any tips would be greatly appreciated! Are there any specifically good brands? Is there something else I should do to get him to eat?

    I'm sorry for all the new questions, I don't mean that you have to answer all of this! It's just questions that came up in my head when I read your comment, no pressure to answer! I'm only throwing them out here in case anyone has an answer and feels compelled to respond :)

    Thanks again for your thoughtful response. It was really helpful, I'm so glad that I found this place.

    p.s. of course, I love showing people pictures of Morrissey! Adding some photos below. At the top is the most recent one, then it's descending to the least recent one :) 20200106_141938.jpg 20191125_234112.jpg IMG_20200106_071210_613.jpg IMG_20200105_013854_643.jpg IMG_20191210_144953_210.jpg
     
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  6. moggieandme

    moggieandme PetForums Newbie

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    @lea247 thank you for the great tip about the chin tickling :) He likes having his chin tickled actually so it worked great to tickle him a bit while cleaning the eyes, he was much calmer. I've never thought to do that before, thanks!
     
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  7. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi @moggieandme - it's good to hear from you and I am glad you found my advice helpful :)

    Morrissey is gorgeous! And very cute! xx The photos are fabulous - my favourite is the 4th one down, the close-up. I love his expression and the way you can see the texture of his fur! :)

    I would give him a 2nd litter box. It doesn't need to be as large as his new one, it can be medium sized. He may not always use it every day but it is there in case he needs it. He is only a youngster at present, but as he matures he may be more inclined to want 2 litter boxes. You can place it in the same room as the other litter box if there is nowhere else to put it, but at the opposite side of the room. The main thing is that he can find it easily if/when he needs to.

    Well done on placing an order with Zooplus.com! :)

    I'm very pleased the oil is helping with keeping his eyes clean. :)

    It is not always easy to switch a cat from dry food to wet. Best to do it slowly and if necessary sprinkle crumbled Thrive (or Cosma) freeze dried protein treats to the top. Or, buy a cheap pepper grinder and use it solely for grinding up a few of his Royal Canin kibbles to sprinkle on top of the wet food.

    Only introduce one new wet food at a time. Start with a teaspoonful in a separate dish alongside his dish of regular food, and watch for any adverse reaction over the next 24 hours such as loose stools. Increase the amount slowly day by day as you reduce the regular food. Wait to introduce another new wet food for about 3 weeks, and use the same method of introduction.

    If you have had the bag of RC kibble open for more than say 3 months I would stop using it and bin it. 6 weeks use after opening is preferable though.
     
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