The most Googled questions about cats

Happy Cat

Being a devoted cat owner can be a bewildering experience. One minute our lovable furball is snoozing in their favourite hidey hole, the next they’re tearing through the house as though they’re being chased by the hounds of hell!

So, many of us will have probably been left scratching our heads and wondering about some of their quirky behaviour. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. The internet is pretty much populated by people desperately asking the same questions.

To help you out, the team at Purely Pets have looked at the latest search data from Google to bring answers to your most popular questions of 2021. Take a look and deepen your understanding of your perfect puss.

Hungry Cat

While cats are most definitely funny and quirky, sometimes we’ll worry about them being vulnerable to pain or illness. But there’s no reason to be left guessing about their needs, just pop them to your local vet.

Obviously, we can’t predict when a medical issue or accident will happen. So, it’s vital to protect your feline friend with cat insurance, as vet bills can quickly mount up.

Most Googled questions about cats

Should I neuter my cat? And when?

When someone first brings a kitten home, this is undoubtedly one of the most popular questions. Pet charities like PDSA are unanimous in their advice that neutering has so many health benefits for cats, it really is essential.

For female cats it not only stops unwanted pregnancies but also other illnesses such as ovarian cancer and pyometra, a serious and potentially life-threatening womb infection.

For male cats, neutering will make them less likely to fight other cats so less likely to contract serious illnesses such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Similar to the HIV virus that causes AIDS in humans, there’s no known cure and once your cat is infected it’s permanent.

When should you do it? The PDSA says felines reach sexual maturity at around five months of age, so neutering should be carried out when they hit the four-month mark. Older cats can also be safely neutered if needed.

Why has my cat stopped using its litter tray?

A cat deciding they no longer wish to use the litter box facilities you’ve so helpfully provided is a common headache for owners. But they aren’t just being naughty – there can be many logical reasons behind this. Perhaps the litter box is being cleaned too infrequently. After all, cats are not partial to nasty whiffs!

But it could also be a health issue such as an urinary tract infection. Such infections need to be caught early, so make sure you have cat insurance in place so you seek a professional diagnosis as soon as possible. Stress and change in the household can also lead to undesirable toileting behaviour. Might your cat be feeling upset for any reason?

What plants are toxic to cats?

Both in the garden and in the home, there are many common plants that are potentially toxic to cats. Whether just digging in the soil, rubbing against plants or even chewing on leaves and flowers cats can easily ingest something highly toxic and make themselves very ill.

When looking to create a pet friendly garden or just purchasing a new house plant, it’s always worth checking this Cats Protection list for whether it’s toxic to cats.

For cats the following list includes some of the more commonly seen plants which are poisonous:

  • Amaryllis

  • Azaleas

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Cyclamen

  • Dracaena

  • Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane)

  • Fern

  • Iris

  • Lily

  • Lily of the valley

  • Marigold

  • Poppy

  • Rhododendron

  • Sago palm

  • Sweet pea

  • Yucca

What is pancytopenia in cats?

This new ‘most popular’ question for 2021 has a quite heartbreaking background to it. This question’s popularity soared after the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) launched an investigation into an increase in feline pancytopenia, a severe reduction in all major types of blood cells.

After finding a link to the diet of the affected cats certain pet foods were recalled from stores. The latest update from the RVC can be read on their website.

Symptoms of pancytopenia include tiredness, reduced appetite, and bleeding from the mouth, nose, or bowel. In very severe cases, excessive blood loss can lead to collapse and even death. Indeed, of the 443 cats recently diagnosed with pancytopenia 284 have sadly died, ITV News has reported.

Can cats get COVID-19?

Another question very much of the moment. According to the British Veterinary Association (BVA) there have been isolated reports globally of cats testing positive for COVID-19 after close contact with humans. But fortunately, there’s no evidence to suggest cats are spreading the disease to humans or becoming ill themselves. However, there are other diseases that humans can get from cats and dogs like Salmonella.

With the amount of misinformation on the internet it’s important to use a trusted source when it comes to the health of you and your cat. Along with our own Purely Pets guide, the PDSA’s Pet Health Hub has accurate information on the disease and the risk to your pets.

That said, if you ever notice any signs of illness in your cat, call your vet as usual. That’s why having up-to-date cat insurance is so vital in any emergency.

Why is my cat drinking more water than usual?

A common question during the summer months or if we have a warm spell at any time of year. When the temperature rises it’s perfectly understandable for cats to drink more water than usual.

However, if your cat is drinking a lot more than normal it could signal an underlying health problem and needs to be checked by a vet. Excessive thirst could be a sign of the following things:

  • Kidney disease

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Urinary tract disease

Pet food specialist Purina has some helpful advice on what to do if your cat is drinking a lot of water.

Curious Cat

How long does it take for flea treatment to work?

How long is a piece of string? It really depends on the treatment and how it is applied. Some flea medications will be effective after just a couple of hours, while others take quite a while longer!

Always read the product label to find out more and, if in any doubt, speak to your veterinarian.

How often should I worm my cat?

Cats Protection suggests adult indoor cats with restricted access to wildlife and the outdoors should be wormed every three months. While outdoor cats who are active hunters are more likely to need worming once a month.

Remember cats may also need annual booster vaccinations throughout their life.

The RSPCA states your cat needs protecting against:

  • Feline Leukaemia Virus
  • Cat flu (Feline Calicivirus and Feline Herpes Virus)
  • Feline Infectious Enteritis

How can I keep my cat cool?

When the temperature rises, cats can suffer as much as any furry animal. Keeping your kitty cool during the balmy summer months is therefore vital. Top tips from animal charity Blue Cross include:

  • Use their favourite treats to make up some feline-friendly ice lollies.
  • Let them play with slippery ice cubes.
  • Place a cooling mat in their favourite snooze spot.
  • Stroke them with wet hands or dab them with a cool, damp towel.
  • Keep on top of grooming to get rid of excess fur.

Can cats eat …?

We all love our little fur babies. And with their adorable eyes we can easily be convinced to slip them a tasty morsel or two from our plate when we’re eating. This often leads us to ask questions like ‘Can cats eat watermelon?’ or ‘Can cats eat peanut butter?’. Or any number of weird and wonderful combinations.

While there are lots of human foods safe for cats to eat, there are also plenty to be avoided. Some of the foods that are poisonous or harmful for cats include chocolate, coffee, citrus, coconut, grapes and raisins, raw eggs, garlic, and the sweetener xylitol.

Why are cats frightened of cucumbers?

Yes, this really is a thing. Apparently, there’s a whole sub-genre of cat videos showing their mortal hatred of cucumbers and pickles! Most experts seem to agree it isn't necessarily the cucumber itself that’s scary but rather its similarity to their natural enemy the snake.

Why do cats wag their tails?

Getting to the route of cat behaviour is an age-old question of many cat lovers roaming Google for answers. For example, why do cats wag their tails?

If they were a dog, we’d be pretty certain of the answer. But while some cats wag their tails when happy, for most it’s a far more complicated story.

What is a cat's age in human years?

The old rule that one pet year is equal to seven human years doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to our beloved pets. Particularly as working out your pet’s ‘real’ age is vital for things like diet, exercise, and pet care.

While every cat is different, it’s generally accepted by vets that the first two years of a cat’s life are equivalent to 24 human years. After that, each year is considered to be an additional four human years. So, if your cat is four years old, that makes it 32 years old on the human aging scale.

How to deter cats from my garden?

While many of us love cats, our feelings are not quite so friendly when we encounter neighbouring cats using our garden as a toilet or to hunt birds. Apart from growing lots of cucumbers (see above) there are plenty of friendly ways to deter cats from paying our gardens or veggie plots a visit.

Gardeners’ World recommends:

  • Mulching your soil with pine cones, twigs or holly leaves.

  • Growing strongly scented plants like lavender and rosemary.

  • Investing in ultrasonic cat deterrents.

How do I know if a cat is a stray?

When a friendly cat we haven’t seen before starts frequenting our garden we can sometimes wonder if they are a stray in need of ‘rescuing’. However, often such cats do in fact have a home. To find out if they’re an actual stray Blue Cross recommends:

  • Putting a paper collar on the cat.

  • Asking neighbours if they recognise the cat.

  • Putting up a ‘found’ poster.

  • Checking local Facebook groups.

  • Calling your local vet or rescue centre to see if anyone is searching for the cat.

Can cats see ghosts?

We just don’t know. However, it’s certainly possible cats are capable of picking up on something we have no way of perceiving.

How can I get the cat filter on Zoom?

The brilliant Zoom Cat Filter became globally popular following the viral video of a very funny but very awkward incident in a virtual legal case in Texas. If you want to know more about the Zoom Cat Filter and how to use it then ask a young relative or friend.

Where did the phrase ‘herding cats’ come from?

This phrase is often used to demonstrate the difficulty of organising large groups of people. The origin of this expression seems to be a line of dialogue in Monty Python's brilliantly satirical film The Life of Brian.

Are black cats bad luck?

Don’t be ridiculous! If any cat crosses your path count it as a blessing. Did you know there is a National Black Cat Day held each year on 27th October?

Black cats, and black pets in general, might be a little trickier to photograph than some other colours, but that’s where the bad luck stops.

Should I get cat insurance?

Of course! No matter how careful they are, all cats need to visit the vet at some point in their lives. Insurance cover can help with the costs if your cat needs medical treatment or emergency care.

Other benefits of cover through Purely Pets include excess from as little as £60 and an online customer policy portal, so you can manage your policy at a time to suit you.

Cat insurance helps you to give your cherished kitty the care it deserves throughout its life. And did you know our Gold products have recently been awarded a 5* Defaqto rating for 2021?

Get a quick quote today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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