Sharing your life with a cat is a rewarding & enriching experience. Cats have so much to offer including love & companionship. But we must face the fact that along with this comes the responsibility of caring for their physical & emotional well being. Cats will get sick from time to time, but there are ways to reduce the chances of this happening. Below are some suggestions.
Vet Check Ups
Regular vet checkups are a must. Even if your cat appears to be fit & well, it is still important to have your cat thoroughly checked over with his veterinarian once a year. Often problems can be picked up early & effective action taken, this is far better than waiting until a disease has progressed & more damage has been caused.
Not only will your veterinarian give your cat a thorough check up but he will also be able to advise you on cat care. As your cat ages, it’s requirements will change. So it is always handy to speak to your veterinarian about the different needs of your cat throughout his life.
There are many different options in regards to what cat owners can feed their cat including: commercial diet from the supermarket, premium diet from pet stores/veterinarians, home prepared raw & commercially prepared raw. Whichever diet suits you & your cat is a personal choice. It is always best to speak to your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet. This is especially important in cats who have an ongoing medical condition.
Cats are obligate carnivores & have very specific dietary requirements. Therefore it is vital that their nutritional needs be met with an adequate diet especially designed for cats. Never feed your cat a diet for dogs & if you do choose to feed a raw/home made diet for your cat, speak to your veterinarian to make sure it has all the necessary vitamins & minerals your cat requires.
Bear in mind that cats have different requirements according to age & health status too. A kitten has different needs to a senior cat for example.
In the ideal world cats could safely roam around outdoors, relax in the sun, watch the wildlife & get some exercise, unfortunately there are many risks which come with the great outdoors. Cars, dogs, cruel humans, infectious disease are just some dangers which face outdoor cats. There is a compromise which many cat owners are embracing & that is to provide your cat with an outdoor cat enclosure. This permits your cat to enjoy the outdoors but keeps it safe.
For ideas & examples of cat enclosures, please visit this page.
Even keeping your cat indoors comes with some dangers, but these are able to be addressed by the diligent pet owner. There are many plants which are toxic to cats, even if just a minute amount is ingested, so it is always good to familiarise yourself with plants which are dangerous to cats. For a list of plants toxic to cats, please read our article Plants Toxic to Cats.
Other common dangers include: poisons, hot stoves, toilets, washing machines & tumble dryers, string/ribbon etc., electrical cords & more.
For a detailed list of cat proofing your home, please read our article Cat Proofing Your Home.
Ensuring your cat is vaccinated will help reduce it’s chances of picking up several infectious diseases. Your veterinarian can advise you on a vaccination schedule for your cat.
Parasites can have a serious impact on your cat’s health so it is important to ensure your cat remains parasite free. There are many parasites which can infect your cat including worms (several species, fleas, ticks & mites). Not only do they cause ill health, but they also cause great discomfort to your cat. Some parasites also have health implications for humans too.
There are many great products to combat parasites these days, including topical ones which are easier to apply than powders & sprays. Before you treat your cat for parasites, speak to your veterinarian as he will be able to advise you on the best product to use on your cat.
Children & pets can be a great mix under the right conditions. It is important to ensure both your cat & your child be protected. Ensure that your child learns about respect towards animals, teach her how to properly handle a cat.
It has been long known that stress impacts on the immune system & can have a detrimental effect on your cat’s health. There are many causes of stress in cats some of which are; overcrowding, boredom, loneliness, changes within the household such as moving house, the addition of a new pet or family member, the death of a companion (human or animal) etc. If the stress is long term this can begin to impact on your cat’s immune system & make it vulnerable health problems.
It is important to be aware that cats can become stressed & make moves to comat this.
The prudent cat owner should be aware of their cat’s usual behaviour & outward physical appearance. This includes being aware if your cat starts eating or drinking more or less, sleeping more or less, coat condition, eyes, & general wellbeing. For more signs of sickness in cats.