Maybe it’s a new kitten scrambling around the house. Or have you been adopted by an older cat that followed you home? Whatever the circumstances, you want to ensure your fuzzy family member stays as fit and healthy as possible. With proper care, your feline friend can live 15 years or more. Please keep reading for nine tips on how to help your cat live his longest and best life!
1. Regular Grooming
Grooming isn’t just for show cats. A good brushing 2-3 times a week will help keep your cat’s skin healthy and their coat shiny by distributing the natural oils they produce. It will prevent painful mats and tangles, especially with longer-haired cats. Regular brushing allows you to spot fleas, ticks, or any skin problems your kitty might develop. Removing the excess hair will decrease shedding and help prevent hairballs. Best of all, it’s a wonderful bonding experience between you and your furbaby.
2. Keep Them Inside
It can be difficult, especially because cats frequently seem to hear the call of the wild, but keeping your cat inside will protect his health and increase his lifespan. Outdoor cats only have a life expectancy of 2-5 years. Keeping them inside not only protects them from larger predators but also decreases their exposure to parasites, keeps them out of fights with feral cats that may carry diseases, and keeps them safe from car misadventures.
If your cat insists she needs fresh air, many cats can be trained to walk on a leash. It can take some patience; at first, they will flail like a fish on a hook, but many cats learn to love being leash walked. Another option is a catio which is like a sunroom for your cat. They can feel the breeze in their fur without all the danger.
3. Frequent Playtime
Cats are full of energy and need a way to release it. Every cat parent has been awoken late at night by the sound of their cat bouncing off the walls. Providing them with toys is good, but playing with them is even better. An interactive play session with you helps direct your cat’s energy and keeps them active. This will help them maintain a healthy weight and can decrease the frequency of the “midnight crazies.” A lure-type toy that you can drag so your cat can stalk and pounce or a laser pointer so they can chase the red dot are all you need to provide healthy fun for your cat.
4. Dental Care
Routine dental care is essential for everyone in your family, including your cat. An infection in their teeth or gums can lead to other serious health problems. Brushing your cat’s teeth is ideal, but it can be difficult to wrangle a wiggly cat. A wide variety of dental treats and toys can help clean their teeth. You can even put drops in their water to help prevent tartar buildup.
5. Pay Attention To The Litterboxes
A good rule of thumb for litter boxes is one per cat, plus one. If you have multiple cats, this will prevent scuffles over who’s turn it is to use the box and can prevent outside-the-box incidents. It also makes it easier to spot if one of your cats might have a urinary issue. If they’re frequently going outside the box, or you aren’t noticing wet clumps, these are signs of problems that require a trip to the vet.
6. Watch Their Diet
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they have a meat-based diet. Cat food is specially formulated to meet all of their dietary needs. Feeding good quality cat food will help them maintain a healthy weight and meet all their nutrition needs. A good quality canned food can help maintain urinary tract health by helping your cat stay hydrated.
7. Keep Them Hydrated
Cats can be very, very particular about their water. Keeping the water dish clean and filled with fresh water will help entice your kitty to drink and stay hydrated. Cats can be prone to crystals in their urine. These crystals can cause blockages and painful infections. Monitoring their water intake can help prevent this.
8. Spay and Neuter
There is a huge number of unwanted cats in animal shelters. Spaying and neutering do more than prevent unwanted kittens. It will prevent reproductive cancers in your cats, such as testicular or uterine cancer and infections. It will improve harmony in your home, as neutered male cats are less prone to marking their territory, and spayed females will not go into heat and try to escape or meow at all hours.
9. Regular Vet Visits
The most important part of keeping your cat healthy is finding a good vet and ensuring your fur baby has regular check-ups. Keeping up on routine vet visits also helps ensure that your vet is familiar with your cat in case of an emergency and has records that may help. Keeping your pet safe from vaccine-preventable diseases by maintaining their immunizations and regular flea and heartworm preventative treatments will all help your cat stay healthy.
There you have it! Keeping your cat healthy doesn’t have to be stressful. The most important part of caring for your cat is a whole lot of love. If you’re worried about your cat being alone during the day or if you’re going out of town and need someone to peek in, check out our pet sitting services!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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