As the pet parent of a cat, you already know that your favorite feline is independent. Living life on their own terms is a hallmark of virtually every breed. While it is easy to think that your kitty has everything covered and does not need even the slightest bit of help from you, there actually are several things you should do to ensure that your pet remains their healthy and happy self for years to come.
Wellness Visits with the Veterinarian
Preventative health care helps to ensure that your cat has everything they need to promote longevity and happiness. To that end, it involves maintaining a focus on proper nutrition, early detection of medical issues or diseases, adequate stimulation and good hygiene. Convincing your cat to accompany you to a vet appointment once per year (twice per year if your pet is eight or older) may not be at the top of your list of fun ways to spend the day, but making this commitment is critically important. That is because the severity of many feline health conditions can be minimized if treatment happens early. Cats can be so stoic that, without the intercession of an expert, you may not realize there is a problem until it is in the advanced stages.
During this wellness visit, your veterinarian will focus on the following areas:
- Vaccination updates.
- Internal and external parasite control.
- Dental health.
- Questions about environmental stimulation and exercise.
- Examination of ears and eyes, coat and skin.
- Bloodwork to determine metabolic function.
After the results of this examination have been obtained by your vet, you will discuss any further actions that need to be taken in order to foster optimal health and happiness for your furry companion.
Assisting With Your Cat’s Hygiene Regimen
While it is true that cats spend a lot of time bathing and grooming themselves, there are still some additional steps you should take to make optimal hygiene possible:
- Brush your cat on a regular basis. This minimizes knots and tangles and reduces the likelihood of those nasty furballs.
- Trim your cat’s claws yourself or take them to a groomer.
- Interact with your feline to promote socialization, thereby enriching both their world and yours.
If you have one of those, shall we say, determined cats who resists your hands-on attentions, talk to your vet for suggestions on the best ways to get up and close and personal without compromising your companion’s dignity or autonomy.
Watch for Feline Cancer Signs
When detected early, many types of feline cancer can be treated. However, spotting the signs can be difficult for a layperson. This underscores the importance of regular vet visits. During your time with the doctor, they can discuss what to look for, including lumps or bumps on your cat’s body. If you do spot something concerning, make an appointment right away.
Attend To Your Cat’s Teeth
By age four, the majority of cats have developed dental disease serious enough to require veterinary intervention. Your kitty will not tell you if their mouth is hurting, so it is your responsibility to act preventively with proper feline dental care.
Your vet may want to thoroughly clean your cat’s teeth once or twice per year. This will require X-rays and other interventions done under anesthesia to check for dental disease under the gumline. One thing you can do at home to stave off a more invasive dental exam is to gradually and respectfully introduce your cat to a toothbrush. Daily or even twice-weekly toothbrushing helps to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease and can ultimately enable your pet to keep their teeth for much longer.
Be Vigilant About Protecting Against Fleas and Ticks
Fleas not only have the potential to infest your home and yard, but also they can cause intense skin irritation and allergic reactions to your cat. Ticks are often the bearers of deadly and painful diseases. Your kitty can pick up either of these parasites even if they never go outside. Safeguard your feline’s health by talking to your vet about the safest and most effective parasite prevention plan.
Keep Your Cat Well Nourished
As is the case with most animals, the nutritional requirements of cats change as they move through the various stages of life. Providing high-quality, balanced meals in moderate quantities is one of the most loving things you can do for your cat. Most experts recommend a diet that primarily consists of canned food, although a little kibble is also fine. Be sure the quantities you give are regulated; cats will generally over-eat if allowed to free feed. The bad news is that obesity is one of the most common and dangerous health conditions among feline pets. However, the good news is that you and your vet can work together to prevent it.
Keep Your Cat Vaccinated
When your cat is a kitten, they should receive a number of immunization shots. Throughout their lives, they will get boosters that continue to protect them against disease. These shots keep your pet healthy and also help to prevent the spread of diseases between felines and even to humans. Talk to your vet to come up with a customized vaccination plan that takes factors like lifestyle, geographic location and pre-existing medical conditions into consideration.
Whether your cat is the type who wants to cuddle in your lap all day or the kind who prefers to go about their business independently while tolerating your presence in their home, there is almost nothing you wouldn’t do for your feline friend. Making preventative health care a priority means that you can play a vital part in the happiness and long life of the kitty you can’t imagine life without.