Tips For Keeping Your Cat Healthy
Owning a cat is no small responsibility. Your new companion will need love and attention, particularly during the first few weeks of settling in.
Ensuring your cat lives a long, healthy life involves routine examination of its behaviors and habits, regular vet check ups, and proper nutrition and hygiene. Crazy Cat Lady traits may be useful here as well.
In the process of adopting myself, I've done some research to hopefully cover all aspects of maintaining my kitty's health and well being. So, what are some techniques for keeping your kitty in prime condition?
Proper Nutrition Is A Must
Many cats develop illnesses as a result of poor nutrition. Cats are carnivores and require meat (animal protein) in their diets. In particular, cats need the animo acid Taurine for proper cardiovascular health and to reduce the risk of blindness. A well fed kitty also needs a diet low in carbohydrates. An excess of carbs can alter a cat's blood sugar and insulin balance, and possibly lead to Diabetes. Other health concerns arise if a cat is not receiving the nutrients it needs: obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney problems, and allergic reactions can be caused by an excess of harmful ingredients in a cat's diet.
Proper Hydration Is A Must
Cats do not have a strong thirst-drive, so it is imperative to keep water clean and accessible around the house. Lack of water content in your cat's diet will impede proper urinary tract system functioning, and can cause an inflamed bladder. A new bowl of water with each meal (particularly if your cat is on a dry food diet) is recommended. Having water available in multiple places will incentivize your cat to drink more. Some kitties prefer running water, so try letting them drink from a faucet or buy a pet fountain.
Observe Your Cat's Behavior
Whereas regular trips to the vet can help keep formal checks on your cat's overall health, it is also up to you to pay attention to your cat at home base. Take note of any odd or sudden changes in behavior such as: excessive thirst, changes in eating habits, weight gain/loss, vomiting, trouble breathing, or excess coughing. If you notice blood anywhere (stool, gums, skin) call your vet immediately.
Keep A Tidy Place
Cats are meticulously clean animals. Just watch how much time they spend grooming themselves. When it comes to eating, would you eat your meals from the same plate without washing it several times in a row? Your cat shouldn't either. Keep food and water bowls clean. Replace the water in your cats bowl at least once a day. Leave your cat's areas undisturbed and tidy. Clean the litter box daily.
Make Regular Trips To The Vet
Trips to the vet (and pet health in general) can be quite expensive, ranging from $50 to $200 a visit, sometimes more. Vet visits should not substitue healthy living at home, but are certainly worth it if you can afford it. Cats should be taken to the veteranarian annually. Senior cats (7+ years) can benefit much more from biannual visits, as most feline illnesses are best treated when detected early. At home, examine your cat's habits and behaviors and make sure to ask your vet about any noticeable changes. A newly adopted cat should be taken to the vet within the first week; kittens within the first 3 days. This will help build a roadmap to health. A visit to the vet will likely include:
- Physical examination of the cat's skin, coat, eyes, ears, heart rate, teeth, and weight.
- Internal and external parasite inspection. An internal parasite inspection will require you to bring a goody bag of fresh kitty doo-doo to your vet's clinic.
- Booster shots and vaccinations, depending on your veteranarian's recommendations and your kitty's individual needs.
Dental Kits For Kittys
Dental Care & Oral Hygiene
Cats, like many pets, are susceptible to oral health diseases. Whether your cat is likely to develop one of these diseases depends on a few factors, most notably the rate at which calcium forms on the cat's teeth. Most veterinarians recommend that regular, preventative dental care and hygiene begin by the age of 2.
Veteranarians are on the fence about whether a dry food diet enhances a cat's oral health in the long term. Some say that since dry food is so abrasive, it should be a regular feature in kittys' diets to keep their teeth clean and sharp. Others, including Feline Nutritional expert Dr. Lisa Pierson, claim that these dental health benefits are exaggerated. Pierson contends that many cats swallow their kibble whole, and don't actual chew. Foods specially made with formula to prevent oral disease exist, and depending on your cat's overall health profile, these foods may be appropriate.
The SPCA has a generous list of methods to keep your kitty's dental region in check. Brushing your kitty's teeth regularly can reduce the risk of plaque and tartar build-up. Dissolvable formulas can be adding to drinking water may reduce these risks as well, if your cat is willing to drink them.