Feline Scratching

More and more cats live strictly indoor lives these days, and one of the natural behaviours that cats bring indoors with them is scratching vertical surfaces. Scratching trees outdoors is usually not a concern but scratching furniture or door frames indoors can be problematic.

Cats scratch upright objects for claw maintenance by pulling off exterior layers of the nail and as a form of territorial marking. This type of marking provides both a visual and a pheromonal signal. During scratching behaviour, the pheromones are liberated on the surface of a vertical object by the footpads.

There are a number of ways to approach cat scratching. Frequent trimming of nails or the application of plastic caps “soft paws” can help to reduce the damage scratching does. Providing appropriate types of scratching posts, in appropriate locations can redirect scratching to more acceptable items. Offer several types of scratching posts to find what your cat prefers. Sisal-covered posts and upright fireplace logs are often good choices. Other options can include cardboard or carpet covered posts. Place the scratching posts in favourite locations, or directly in front of items that the cat has already chosen to scratch.

There are new feline behaviour products available that can help direct cats to specific items and away from others. “Feliway” is a feline pheromone product that can be sprayed directly on a surface daily to discourage scratching while at the same time a new product called “Feliscratch” can help to direct cats to specific areas to scratch. Feliscratch works in 3 ways, blue lines are applied vertically on the scratching post to mimic the visual message of scratch marks, catnip attracts cats to the post and pheromones deliver a scent message to the cat to scratch. Feliscratch can be used in combination with Feliway for cats who have well developed destructive habits in the home.

As Feliscratch is a relatively new product talk with your veterinary team to see how to get started and please provide your team of veterinary professionals with feedback so we can help more indoor cats and owners live together in a positive environment.

Written by: Chris MacDonald, DVM



The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: March 22, 2022.

Dear Clients,

Our top priority here at Westwood Hills is the ongoing health and safety of our clients, their pets, and our dedicated team members that serve you and the community.

NEW: We kindly request that clients continue wearing facemasks during their visits to our hospital. Our staff will continue to wear masks, as they remain one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
* *Facemasks are no longer mandatory in veterinary clinics (but still highly recommended) as per recent provincial guidelines.

Here is what you can expect during your next visit:

  • We ask that all clients keep their distance / practice social distancing.
  • Continue the use of debit / credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • For those interested we will still offer curbside pickup. Please place your food and medication order 48 hours in advance.
  • We are constantly analyzing our day to day actions and we appreciate your patience. We will continue to implement procedures that are in the best interest of both you, our clients and our staff.

    If you are not feeling well in any way, or if you have interacted with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 we ask that you stay isolated and do not visit us at the clinic. If your pet needs medical attention please have a family member or friend bring in your pet or pick up prescriptions / food.


    Monday - Friday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Sunday: Closed


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital