HERE are the questions from pet owners answered by PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing.

Dear PDSA Vet: We went on holiday for two weeks earlier this year and our cat, Thompson, stayed at a neighbour’s house. Ever since we returned, he seems to prefer living there and doesn’t come home! Is he angry at us for leaving him? Sam

Cats can’t hold a grudge towards their owners but they can be quite sensitive to change. While staying at your neighbour’s house, Thompson may have become used to a different schedule and new people and smells, so adjusting back to his old routine might be stressful for him. You can reduce Thompson’s stress by making sure he has a set routine each day and creating a safe space for him to retreat to when he wants to be alone. A plug-in pheromone diffuser may also help to reduce his anxiety when at home, increasing the chances of him staying with you.

Dear PDSA Vet: My cat coughs up fur balls quite often – around once a month – is there any way to prevent them? Jack

Fur balls happen when cats groom their coats and swallow the hair. Most pass normally through the digestive system, but if any hair stays in the stomach, it may bind up into a ball. Occasional fur balls can be quite normal, especially in long haired breeds, as cats are very clean and groom themselves a lot. The best prevention is daily grooming with a brush or comb to help remove loose hairs. However, speak to your vet if your cat is vomiting frequently, as hair balls can sometimes cause a blockage in the intestines. They can rule out any medical reasons this might be happening but can also advise you on special diets or other products which may help reduce the build-up of fur balls.

Dear PDSA Vet: I recently noticed that my Yorkshire Terrier has been passing blood in his faeces. Could this be serious – should I take him to the vet? Samantha

Any pet with blood in their faeces should be examined by a vet. Blood in the stools, which may also be accompanied by mucus, can be a sign of colitis (inflammation of the colon – large intestine), or other conditions including infections, a tumour, damage to the rectum or a burst abscess. Your vet will do a thorough examination to determine the cause and can then advise on what further diagnostic tests or treatment is necessary. It can be helpful to collect a sample of the stool to show to your vet, or even a photograph if a sample isn’t possible.

My new kitten seems to be settling in well since we brought her home and is very energetic. How do I know if she’s getting enough exercise and are there any ways I can manage this? Daniella

Exercise is vital to your kitten’s overall physical and mental health, and encouraging lots of playtime at home is the perfect way to keep her active and stimulated – it will also help you strike up an unbreakable bond. In the wild, cats use hunting as a form of exercise, so try recreating pouncing and chasing fun with her favourite toys. Although it can be tempting, don’t use your fingers or toes for play as this can form unwanted (and painful) habits like biting and scratching. It’s best to keep your puss indoors until she is microchipped, vaccinated and neutered, but in the meantime, you can aim for several short bursts of playtime inside throughout the day. Pick times when she is active and looking to explore – and use a variety of different toys so she doesn’t get bored. For more advise on how much exercise your kitten needs, and how to give them the best start in life, you can download our free guide visit

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets.

For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn.

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.