19 Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy
Make your feline friend happy with these smart strategies
A few straightforward suggestions—some of which can be integrated into your cat's routine right now—will help you keep your feline buddy happy and healthy.
Jeff Werber, a veterinarian in Los Angeles and owner of eight cats himself, provides some sound advise to cat owners on how to ensure their feline companions have the best possible life. It's essential to start cat care off on the right foot, he explains. Good daily routines are where it all begins. You may help your pet by following the advice in this article.
1. Groom your cat daily
The amount of hairballs that can form in the digestive tract will decrease with daily brushing or combing of your cat. Some cat owners might not be aware that brushing can benefit their pet by eliminating stray hair because cats spend so much time grooming themselves. According to Werber, the secret to persuading a cat to cooperate with brushing is associating brushing with joyful occasions. He suggests, "Perhaps you always brush before a meal." Your cat will then associate it with something tasty.
2. Avoid providing your cat with too much dry food
Cats cannot be vegetarians, even for brief periods of time, unlike dogs. They base their diets mostly on meat, and Werber contends that meat should always be the primary course at every meal. He issues a warning that restricting cats to dry food diets may result in their consuming an excessive amount of carbohydrates, which can be harmful to them in big doses. According to Werber, "We observe cats getting Type 2 diabetes and becoming obese from eating too much dry food." Although it may be tempting to treat your dog and cat the same if you have both, dog food is not good for cats, and a cat's digestive system cannot accept carbohydrates the same way a dog's does.
3. Recognize your pet's thirst
Since domestic cats now descended from desert-dwelling ancestors, they lack the same thirst-drive as dogs have. The majority of their water needs must be met by food. A mouse, for example, which a cat could typically consume in the wild, contains roughly 70% water, as opposed to 78% water in canned food. On average, only 5% to 10% of dry food is water. As long as your cat has access to clean water, you could observe that they tend to drink more while they are eating more dry food. Watch your cat closely for signs of dehydration like sunken eyes, drowsiness, and panting as older cats and nursing females may be more susceptible to it than others.
4. Provide an Appropriate Amount of Litter Boxes
According to Werber, it's a good idea to have one litter box each cat in addition to an extra one when it comes to restrooms. Therefore, you should put up four boxes if you have three cats. You should give the placement of those boxes some serious thought. Cats might not be willing to use the boxes in certain locations, even if people prefer to stow them away in obscure locations like a cellar or a shadowy corner. Think about how it is in nature, advises Werber. When carrying out those tasks, the animal is "vulnerable," he claims. They desire the ability to perceive their surroundings. Your animal companion might not be eager to utilize a box with a lid.
5. Don't presume to understand a cat's reasons for peeing outside the box.
Nothing annoys a cat owner more than when Kitty refuses to use the litter box and instead urinates somewhere else in the house, almost always on a favorite area rug or brand-new recliner. Why would a cat act in this manner? You should first rule out disease because there are many potential causes, according to Werber. Visit the vet with your cat to check for any illnesses that might be the cause of this unusual behavior, such as a urinary tract infection. Once disease has been checked out, make sure your pet enjoys using the litter boxes. Try out various kinds of litter to see if there is a particular brand that your pet prefers.Be diligent in keeping the box tidy; scoop once daily. Consider moving the litter box to a more peaceful area (away from noisy appliances) or a place that is simpler for your cat to access.
6. Teach your feline friend to use a scratching post
Don't want your new couch's upholstery to be ripped? So that they won't wind up scratching expensive furniture, teach your cat to utilize a scratching post. According to Werber, a common error made by owners is their ignorance of the need to make the scratching post appealing. Put it in the middle of the space to begin with, he advises. (Too many people put it in a spot away from the household's social activity, which makes it simple for a cat to ignore.) The vet recommends adding catnip to the post when you first bring it home. As soon as you have successfully gotten your pet into the cage, you can gradually move it to a less busy area and omit the catnip and the habitual use of it.
7. Neuter or Spay Your Cat
Nothing is more advantageous to your cat in the long run than getting them spayed or neutered, according to Werber. When female cats go into heat, he continues, "they are really uncomfortable." Additionally, spaying and neutering your cat might help keep it safe. Male cats that have not been changed will fight, which puts them at risk of spreading infections through their bites and scratches. For female cats, the situation is not much better. In addition to the stress that owners experience when their female cats go into heat, female cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age, and mating and giving birth to numerous litters of kittens can be quite traumatic for them. And because there are countless numbers of unwanted animals languishing in shelters. It's best to avoid increasing the population so they can have their forever homes.
8. Take Your Pet On Vacation Safely
Do not let your cat ride in an unrestrained state in a vehicle, even if they seem to prefer it. The motorist is distracted by it, and in the event of a collision, a cat could become a hazardous projectile. Additionally, Werber cautions, "Never, ever leave your cat in a parked car alone." Especially in cooler weather, a car rapidly becomes uncomfortable for a furry pet, even with the windows cracked. A cat can die in a warm automobile in just a few minutes. If you do not intend to bring your cat inside with you, leave him or her at home.
9. Pick a vet who is cat-friendly
It can be unsettling for a cat to spend a significant amount of time in the waiting area with dogs around in veterinary offices where the majority of patients are canines. Find a veterinarian who has separate waiting rooms for dogs and cats, advises Werber. Although it's ideal, not all practices have the room to make that kind of arrangement. If your preferred veterinarian doesn't have two waiting areas, Werber suggests at least asking to be called into the examination room soon.
10. Allow Them To Prove It!
A cat may try to show you how much it cares for you by giving you the spoils of a good hunt. Werber advises accepting presents graciously, even when they are a little unpleasant (hello, partially digested mouse!). Your pet may also give you a head bump, purr, or knead you with its paws to express its love for you. Relax and take pleasure.
11. Regularly groom your cat.
Your cat will gain a lot from routine brushing or combing, regardless of whether he has short or long fur. This assists in getting rid of the dead hair from his coat so he won't eat it while grooming himself. It also gives you the chance to see any physical alterations in him. Your veterinarian can then look into any irregularities, like as lumps, pimples, or tender places, immediately soon.
12. Daily supply of fresh water
Water that is clean and fresh is crucial for your cat's wellness. If your cat doesn't seem to enjoy drinking from a bowl, maybe about giving her a tall glass to drink from (some cats prefer not to stoop down to do so) or a cat fountain. Every day, make sure to replenish the water with new supplies.
13. Ensure you have an adequate number of litter boxes.
One litter box for every cat, plus one additional, is the typical rule of thumb. Therefore, if you have two cats, you need three litter boxes. Keep the litter boxes tidy to promote excellent litter box behaviors. This can include scooping multiple times daily. Regular cleaning will also enable you to spot any variations in your cat's feces or pee that can point to a health problem.
14. Watch to see if your cat begins to urinate outside of the litter box.
If the litter box is unclean, a cat might occasionally urinate elsewhere. However, make an appointment with the veterinarian before you assign the accident to your cat's mischievous nature or the condition of the litter box. Sometimes a cat's altered litter box habits indicate that it has a urinary tract infection or another medical condition.
15. Make sure your cat knows how to use a scratching post.
This will not only keep your furniture from becoming damaged, but it will also keep your cat's muscles loose and her claws healthy. Regular scratching helps your cat's claws shed their old coats on a suitable surface like carpet, sisal, or cardboard.
16. Transport cats in a cat carrier.
Do you need to take your cat to the vet? Maybe you're relocating to a new house? Use a pet-specific carrier while transporting your cat. Allowing your cat to roam freely in the car might make it difficult for you to drive defensively, which may result in collisions that could be dangerous for both you and your cat.
17. Keep the teeth of your cat clean.
Cats can build tartar on their teeth, much like people, and this can result in gum disease and dental rot. In addition to entering your cat's circulation, the bacteria that build up on her teeth can also cause various feline ailments. Cats cannot, however, wash their teeth way people can. Many cats also refuse to have their teeth brushed by their owners. Make an appointment with your veterinarian for a cleaning at least once a year to keep your cat's teeth in excellent condition.
18. Pick a vet who is cat-friendly.
It should be obvious that cats are not little replicas of dogs. So it stands to reason that cats require different veterinarian care than dogs do. In order to keep your cat in the greatest health possible, a veterinarian who specializes in feline anatomy and health might be a useful ally. By going to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, you can locate a feline veterinarian in your area.
19. Arrange for routine veterinary visits.
Veterinarians can deliver immunizations, clean the cat's teeth, and spot any potential feline ailments early with annual visits. If your cat is at a healthy weight, your veterinarian can also let you know.