By Emily Gantt
Published: 01/20/2021, edited: 10/26/2022
All pet parents want their pets to be as healthy as "pawssible". These health and care tips for cats will help you know if your fur-baby is healthy and (make sure they stay that way, too!).
Regular check-ups are essential for all pets, but especially cats, who can mask illnesses quite well. Find a veterinarian you trust and follow their vaccination and check-up schedules. Sticking to one veterinarian is super beneficial since your vet will develop a relationship with your cat and understand what is and what isn't normal for them.
Routine tests can be expensive but aren’t usually covered by pet insurance. The good news is, wellness plans can put 100% of the bill right back in your pocket within 24 hours. (Check out our pet wellness plans to find the right match for your pet!)
Spaying a female cat can help them avoid uterine infections and breast tumors, which are not only costly to treat but are often cancerous. Neutering males can decrease aggression, territorial tendencies, spraying, and roaming. Spaying and neutering may seem costly, but it's an investment when you think of the disease and behavioral issues it prevents.
Health-monitoring kitty liter is a relatively new invention, but it's super handy for picking up on undiagnosed health conditions. The litter changes colors based on the urine's pH and whether blood is present. Sure, this type of litter is more expensive than your typical clumping brand, but it has the potential to save lives.
Cats often do weird things when they have an underlying health condition. For example, peeing in the corner even though they're litter box trained might indicate a urinary tract infection. Ear mites can cause an unusual shaking of the head or obsessive scratching. Changes in eating or drinking habits can also be a big red flag for cats and may point to diabetes.
Skin and fur are great indicators of underlying illness in felines. Tell your vet if you notice an oily or dull coat, hair loss, scratching, or poor grooming habits in your cat.
Pay particular attention if your cat stops grooming since this can be a sign of a mental illness (like depression) or a physical illness (like arthritis). Compulsive grooming can also be problematic and may also signal something's up. Over-grooming is usually a side effect of fleas, but it may indicate other problems. The main issue with overgrooming is that it can cause skin tears or infection.
Daily grooming not only encourages oil production and prevents mats and furballs, but it also reveals any parasites hiding in the coat. As you brush your kitty, check them for fleas, ticks, and worms. Regular brushing will help you keep these nasty buggers in check and allow you to treat them before they get out of hand.
Play is an essential form of mental and physical stimulation. Not only will this help your cat maintain a healthy weight and build muscle, but it will also help you bond. Cats love prey-type games with feather toys, catnip mice, and bell toys. These all mimic their natural instincts and help them to feel like the natural predator they are.
Cats get overwhelmed easily and require a space where they can be alone. Allowing your kitty to have a secluded area can decrease anxiety and boost overall wellbeing. A covered kitty bed or cat shelf can help them feel more secure in their surroundings, but giving your cat space doesn't have to mean forking out a lot of money. A cardboard box will do just fine!
Cats are very inquisitive creatures and often find themselves getting into things they shouldn't. Appealing decorations like potpourri, dangly decor, and toxic plants can spell disaster for cattos. Make sure you choose your decor carefully, even down to essential oils and fertilizer you might use for diffusers and potted plants. Put away small, round objects that might pose a choking risk. Remember that cats are climbers. If you want dicey items on display, choose a curio cabinet rather than a shelf.
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