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Help- Need general cat care advice due to cultural differences

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
When I had a cat in the UK we only washed her when she was really dirty/had been rolling in muck/had an infestation. We always left her ears alone and never took her temperature. Basically I learnt the if it ain't broke don't fix it method of cat care. All we ever did was take her for yearly check ups and vaccinations plus the usual trips to the vet for medical problems like her thyroid (which eventually killed her) and fighting injuries. She lived a long and healthy life.

I am now in Korea and my Korean partner and I have just bought a one year old Turkish Angora. My partner has never had a cat before so he has been searching for advice on the Korean forums and sites. Pet ownership is relatively recent over here compared to in the west. I'm wondering slightly whether people are being over fastidious and possibly over medicating their animals.

Her previous owner told us to shower her once every couple of weeks. He said we should take her temperature (thermometer up the behind?) to make sure she's not too cold for it. He gave us a substance called Sulfodene which he said should be used to clean her ears every three days. My partner found that this advice matched that currently being given on Korean websites and message boards.

She's very shy of people and my father thinks all the bathing, ear cleaning and temperature taking has probably taught her to be wary of us. This evening my partner tried to clean her ears and she went absolutely beserk and scratched the inside of one ear trying to get it out. She hated it.

She's an indoor cat so I think we shouldn't wash her unless she gets smelly. She's cleaning herself and appears to be fine. She's a Turkish Angora and her coat hasn't got much of a shine. Is that normal? I wonder if the previous owner washed all the oils out. She lived on a diet of cheap dried cat food, which surely can't help.

If she's got an ear problem I want to hear it from the vet so we're not going to put that stuff in again until we've seen him/her. I'll check her ears every day until we go. It's normal isn't it if they look a little bit dirty? I mean what animal or human has entirely wax free ears?

Basically what I want to know is whether I've got the right attitude? If she's ill I'll take her to the vet and follow their advice. Otherwise if she looks happy and doesn't smell I'll let her look after herself.

Sorry for the long rambling message. It's half one in the morning here so I'm not at my most concise.
post #2 of 15
In general, indoor cats only need a bath if they get too oily, or if they have gotten into something. Since she has long hair, she may need a bath on occasion. Routine ear cleaning is only necessary if they have a medical reason. They really only need their temperature taken if they are ill. A good vet visit once a year is usually enough unless there is a medical problem in between. A poor hair coat could be from over bathing but also because of nutrition, or a medical problem. I would have the vet do a good check up, and go from there.
post #3 of 15
I completely agree with Sandie, no bath necessary unless oily or dirty and ears only need to be cleaned if vet says so and if you think she is ill take her to the vet and have him check her temp....
post #4 of 15
You are completely right in your instincts. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! If her ears are not dirty, she doesn't need them cleaned. If she's not dirty, she doesn't need a bath. If you have no reason to suspect she has a fever or is hypothermic, don't stick the thermometer up her poor little bottom. Trust your common sense.
post #5 of 15
I agree with the others... I bathe Oliver once a month just because he sheds a lot and because of human allergies to him (plus he's ok with getting baths)... at most I clean his ears twice a month (once at bath time to make sure all the water is out and once in the middle of the month)... this is mostly because he uses a covered box and it gets quite dusty in there when he attempts to dig to the other side of the world after pooing... doing all those things as frequently as you mentioned will only stress out your kitty and I'm not surprised that she's kinda weary of people! I would definitely stick to the advice found on this site as there are MANY informed people here - especially if you agree more with the North American ideas when it comes to caring for pets.... good luck to you and your kitty and kudos for doing research!
post #6 of 15
The lack of a silky, shiny, smooth coat is probably related to the food she is being fed. If she was on low quality food then that is most likely it.

What are you currently feeding her? I realize with pet cats being relatively new in Korea, maybe the best quality food isn't easily available. Try ordering off the internet though, you can probably get any food you want shipped to you!
post #7 of 15
I would get a vet to check her ears for mites, and if she is free of them then you can leave them alone. A cat's ears are not usually dirty inside, and if there is blackish waxy substance it indicates mites. But I agree do not do anything unless it is medically indicated.
post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by semiferal
You are completely right in your instincts. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Yes. This is even on deworming. Not long ago the recommendations were indoor cats should be dewormed at last once a year, outdoor at least twice a year.
Nowadays more and more seasoned and skilled cat-owners say*: deworm when needed! This means many indoor cats dont are ever dewormed. And most outdoors cats more seldom than before.

Of course, the owner must look out sharply if there is something looking as sure or possible worms or possible worms-symptoms.

And of course - if not sure - always contact the vet.

* In any case here in Sweden that is!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you :-) It's a relief to know I'm not a negligent cat owner! I don't think they have as many different types of cat food over here as we do in Britain, but I've spotted Whiskas and Sheba. We're introducing her to Whiskas at the moment.

It's very interesting looking at the different attitudes to animals in different countries. I think in the end all countries have their good and bad points. I've noticed Koreans as people are more likely to take medicine and are more focused on keeping their houses clean. Possibly this has carried over to pet care as well.
post #10 of 15
I wouldn't bathe her unless she gets into something really nasty. They are good at keeping themselves very clean.

You aren't a negligent cat owner. If you were, you wouldn't have come here looking for answers.
post #11 of 15
whiskas arent exactly a good food for cats. try pet shops(if there are any) for food instead of supermarkets...u should have more luck in getting a better food there...
post #12 of 15
Forgot to add they sell premium kitten and adult cat food at the pet stores here in Seoul. Just look at one near you. Wellness is a good one. Nutro is what I feed mine but they don't have the kitten one I need here so I order it off petsmart. But there are several different good ones in the pet stores.
post #13 of 15
I'm just across the ditch in Japan and there's a lot of fussy people here to. To the extent of wiping their dogs butt after a poo.
If you can get to a pet supplies shop try to get Royal Canin, the best the supermarkets have here is Eukanuba which is also good.
Someone has said it before but Whiskas is McDonalds for cats, nice as a treat but not all that healthy.
On the medication front, what an overreaction on the meds!
My last cat is almost 12 (new owners) and the only attention he's ever had is his yearly shot, he does everything else himself. Of course some thing are breed related.
I've noticed cats always love a good inner ear rub, I use a damp cloth for my girl. She shoves her head into my hand, eyes rolling in pleasure. Then I change to the other ear before it gets too good for her.
The only time my girl gets a bath is if she's gotten mucky on a walk or falls into the bath.
Go with your gut instinct.
post #14 of 15
I bathe mine about once a month because the shed alot and they actually enjoy baths now and it leaves them so sweet smelling and rabbit soft - but if the cat doesn't like it I wouldn't push it if you don't think she needs a bath.

Its actually quite strange even between the Canada and England, back home pretty much everyone i know lets their cats out, but here everyone has indoor only cats.
post #15 of 15
i've only bathed my cat twice and she is 2 years old and that was when she was dirty cats dont need bathes they clean themselves well inuff.
same with the vet she goes for her checkups/shots or when she's sick
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