Cat Health Maintenance

Keeping your cat healthy isn”t very complicated: Cats tend to be resilient animals that need relatively little upkeep. Regular cat vet visits, vaccinations and a healthy cat diet are usually enough to ensure your companion will stay healthy and happy for a long time.

Cat Health Maintenance: Yearly Veterinarian Visits

Regular cat maintenance includes a yearly trip to the cat vet. At this appointment, the veterinarian will perform a physical examination and will also make sure that your cat is up-to-date on all of his cat vaccinations. If your vet suspects a health problem, she will likely perform additional tests, which may include blood work and X-rays.

Regular cat vet visits are important, as they allow you to spot potential problems early. Also, they give the vet the opportunity to get to know your cat”s personality and his individual needs, which can help the vet treat your pet to the best of her abilities.

Cat Vaccinations

Certain diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus and rabies, will kill your cat if he is infected with them. Fortunately, many of these illnesses can be combated with annual cat vaccinations.

You should ensure that your cat receives the following vaccinations:

  • feline leukemia
  • FIP (feline infectious peritonitis)
  • FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus)
  • FVRCP (feline rhinotracheitis, calcivirus and pan leukemia)
  • rabies.

Some people think that cats should receive their vaccinations annually, while others think they should be administered less frequently, such as every three years. If you have questions or concerns about cat vaccinations and vaccination schedules, talk to your vet.

While all cats should receive vaccinations, they are particularly important for outdoor cats. An outdoor cat has a much greater chance of contracting illnesses than an indoor cat.

Indoors vs. Outdoors

Cat health is often determined by whether or not a cat is allowed outside. Being outside certainly encourages exercise, but the great outdoors is a dangerous place for many felines.

An outside cat is more likely to encounter dogs, wild animals and other cats, increasing the risk of both diseases and injury. Cars are also threats to cats, as are, unfortunately, unkind people.

Heartworm is another challenge to cat health. If your cat is allowed outside, a monthly heartworm pill is a recommended part of cat health maintenance.

All in all, keeping a cat healthier is much easier if the cat lives indoors. On average, indoor cats live longer than outside cats.

Cat Health and Diet

A proper cat diet helps prevent obesity and promotes good health. As a cat owner, you have several choices when it comes to your cat”s diet. Commercial food comes in dry, canned and semi-moist varieties. When choosing between the three, keep your cat”s specific needs in mind.

For instance, if a male cat”s diet consists only of dry cat food, he is at an increased risk of developing painful urinary crystals. Therefore, a male cat”s diet needs to include canned or semi-moist food in addition to dry food.

No matter what cat food you choose, look for food that meets the recommendations set forth by the Feline Nutrition Expert (FNE) subcommittee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Finding a food that meets the FNC”s recommendations will ensure that your cat”s diet is as healthy as possible.

After widespread concerns of tainted pet food in 2007, many cat owners began making their own cat food at home. Recipes for homemade cat food are available in a variety of resources. However, you should discuss the recipes with your vet to ensure that the food will provide your cat with the correct amount of necessary nutrients.

Cat Health and Exercise

Because cats are such independent creatures, cat exercise is an often-overlooked component of cat health. Regular cat exercise is, however, an important part of cat health maintenance.

Cat exercise doesn”t require you to put your cat on a leash and go for a walk. In fact, few cats would tolerate this behavior. Rather, the best exercise for your cat is play.

Make sure your cat has plenty of toys, cat towers and scratching posts and places to climb. Playtime should be a regular part of your day. Not only will it keep your cat fit, but it will also allow you to bond with your furry companion!

One of the best ways to ensure that your cat is getting ample exercise is to get a second cat. The two will enjoy chasing each other, wrestling with each other, etc.

Cat Health and Grooming

Regular grooming is part of keeping a cat healthy. Brushing removes loose hair, reducing the chance that your cat will develop hairballs.

Hairballs aren”t often seen as a threat to cat health. However, a severe hairball can lodge in the cat”s intestines, blocking the intestinal tract. Commercial hairball remedies are available that lubricate the intestines and provide soft bulk to help move the hairball.

In addition to brushing your cat, you should also regularly trim his claws. Use either a special claw clipper or small fingernail clippers. Be sure to cut only the points (tips) of the claws: If you clip too deeply, you”ll cut the blood vessel in the claw, causing your cat severe pain. If you are unsure of your ability to trim your cat”s claws, you can take him to your vet and have her teach you the proper trimming method.