Whether you have a “cool cat,” a “scare-dy cat,” or a “curious cat,” it is important to understand how to care for your feline friend. Read our care and tips information so that no matter what type of cat you have, it is a happy, healthy cat!
- Regular Veterinarian Visits
Regular visits to the vet are vital to keeping your cat healthy and happy. Annual visits should address vaccinations, parasite control, dental examination, and health screenings as well as nutrition and weight management. Visits to your vet will be more frequent with a kitten because of vaccinations, but will decrease as your kitten becomes an adult cat. When choosing a veterinarian, visit the American Animal Hospital Association’s website for a list of accredited vet practices in your area and ask for recommendations from friends and family—especially those who take skilled care of their cats’ health and welfare.
- Regular Veterinarian Visits
- Preventing Parasites
Proper parasite control is crucial to the health and wellness of your cat. Fleas can cause irritated skin, hair loss, and infection, and can also lead to tapeworms if your cat swallows just one flea. Heartworms are another common parasite among cats that can be fatal. Ear mites are also very common with cats, and need to be taken care of as soon as possible. Frequent scratching of the ears and/or shaking of the head are common symptoms of a cat with ear mites.Talk to your vet about regular flea, heartworm, and intestinal parasite control. It is very important that products intended for dogs not be used on cats.
- Weight Management
Obesity is a common problem among cats and the added stresses can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, arthritis, cancer, joint pain, and liver problems. Overfeeding plays a large role in many cases of obesity. Obesity generally develops when calorie intake exceeds your cat’s energy requirements. Speak with your vet about your cat’s ideal weight and recommended calorie intake so he/she can recommend a suitable food choice and provide instruction on how much should be given. Always consult your vet before starting your cat on a diet or exercise regimen.
Female cats should be spayed and male cats should be neutered by the time they are six months old. Spaying or neutering your cat not only reduces the number of unwanted litters, it also provides several health benefits. Spaying female cats helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, and prevents them from going into heat. Neutering male cats will decrease the urge to roam away from home to mate, prevent “spraying” to mark territory, and cut down on fighting between males. Contrary to popular belief, spaying and neutering will not make your cat become overweight. Getting your cat spayed or neutered also helps cut down on the overpopulation of cats in shelters.
Cats need to scratch things because it helps to shed their old outer nail and expose the smooth claws underneath. Providing your cat with a sturdy scratching post will help keep his/her nails healthy while protecting your furniture and other belongings. Sprinkling your scratching post with catnip once or twice a month will help keep your cat interested in the post.
- Grooming & Bathing
Regular brushing will ensure your cat has a healthy coat and skin. Bathing your cat may be necessary from time to time, even though cats generally bathe themselves on a daily basis. When bathing your cat, use lukewarm water and gently massage a mild shampoo from head to tail. Make sure not to get water directly in your cat’s ears, eyes, or nose. During winter, make sure to rinse off the bottom of your cat’s feet, because he/she can pick up salt and chemicals from the street that can hurt the feet and be harmful if consumed.Examine your cat’s feet on a regular basis to make sure they are free of foreign objects and nothing has become embedded in the paw. Clean any small cuts and apply antibiotic cream.
Be sure to regularly check your cat’s mouth for signs of gum inflammation, white or red gums, and plaque buildup. If you see any of these symptoms, put in place a regular tooth brushing schedule.
Keep your cat’s ears dry, clean, and free of foreign objects. Examine your cat’s ears regularly for ear mites, and contact your veterinarian if you notice anything inside your cat’s ears.
Some cat owners prefer to trim their cat’s nails on a regular basis. To trim the nail, apply gentle pressure to the top of the foot to expose your cat’s claws and use high-quality nail scissors to trim only the white tip of each nail (avoid the pink area, as this is actually the nerve that runs through the nail).