Feline Health Care 101

Feline Health Care 101

Aside from the initial recommended exam and shots, very little information is given out to pet owners in regards to keeping their cats healthy. Unlike their stepsibling, there are no parks or fancy dining establishments that welcome cats. There is also little need for outside activity, since cats do not require a high level of exercise. Navigating through how to care for your cat, while also not putting them through unnecessary tests and procedures can be difficult and confusing. However, by keeping your Vet in the loop you could save yourself quite the headache!

Health needs for cats differ from dogs in the sense that they are not as vocal about how they are feeling, and they can react very emotionally to situations that a dog would not. A key area of health for your cat starts by evaluating their behaviors and paying attention to how they are feeling. It is very common that when a cat is feeling emotional, they will react by doing something out of their normal nature, for example using the bathroom outside of their litter box. While for a dog this could be a simple accident, it could be warning signs of UTIs, sickness or emotional distress for a cat. Keep your cat in high spirits by maintaining a consistent area for them to eat, use their litter box and play. Noticing signs out of character for your cat could save them, and you, a lot of pain.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, periodontal disease is the most common disease effecting cats older than 2 years old.  Dental care is a prime area of focus to maintain top health in a cat. Owners should invest in daily brushing of their cat’s teeth, and also investing in treats that aid in the cleaning process. Cats will grow additional teeth as they enter into adulthood, growing from 26 teeth to 30.

Perhaps one of the other striking differences from dogs is the debate on cat claws. Wether an owner chooses to declaw their cat or not, the paws are an area that is key to the health of the cat. If your cat is not declawed, maintaining a safe and manageable nail length is essential. Cats will grow accustomed to getting their nails trimmed, but could hurt themselves and damage your items if the length is not maintained. Redirection may also be necessary in the early kitten stages to avoid allowing the animal to scratch itself, or surfaces, and cause harm. If you choose to declaw your cat, the same behavior should still be taught to your pet, since the desire to scratch will remain.

In conclusion, there are many specific and unique areas that cat owners must keep in mind to ensure they are keeping their cat in optimal health. While cats for the most part are independent creatures and enjoy helping themselves to a meal or the bathroom at their leisure, there are times when we must step in. By maintaining good emotional, dental and claw care, you are adding not only happiness, but years to the life of your cat.