How to Keep Your Cat Healthy
Cats love to take care of themselves. However, you shouldn’t just leave them up to their own devices. At some point, cat care needs to involve human intervention. Things like cleaning up after doing business in the litter box can be purely handled by your furry friend, but things like vaccinations, flea preventions and such should be handled by you, the owner.
That being said, here are more tips on how to keep your cat healthy, happy and looking good:
A lot of cat owners may feel wary about having to neuter their cats, but it’s one of the best advice that owners should follow. Neutering your cat at a young age helps prevent unwanted kittens and it also helps prevent certain serious illnesses from affecting your cat.
Other than neutering, vaccinations are also important when it comes to caring for your cat. Having your cat vaccinated helps them avoid potential fatal diseases. Cat vaccinations should also include regular preventive treatments that keep them safe from parasites such as fleas and worms.
Although you might think it is unnecessary, it is advisable to microchip your cat. Even if you have complete trust that your furry, four-legged friend won’t go running off, it still helps to have a locator in case they go astray. You never know, something might catch their attention and they go running after it. With a microchip, you can increase the chances of locating them when they’ve gone away.
Keeping a cat also means registering them with a vet. For every new cat that you get, make sure to take them to the nearest local veterinary practice straight away. Make an appointment for a check up so that the vet can pronounce your new cuddly friend as healthy or advise you on what kind of care your cat might need. Even better, you can list your own set of questions to ask the vet.
Vaccinating your cat cannot be stressed enough. By having your cat vaccinated, you can protect them against an array of diseases that will cause them a lot of pain, distress, or worse, death.
Vaccinations allow you to have peace of mind knowing you have done what is necessary to safeguard the health of your cat. Not only that, you’re also doing other animals good because by having your pet vaccinated against diseases, you minimize the risk of having them spread around harmful illnesses on to other animals, let alone other animals you might have in the house with you.
How to vaccines work?
In essence, a vaccine contains a form of the virus that it is expected to prevent. What it does is it stimulates the immune system of the cat’s body in a safe way. This way, if your cat encounters the disease, their immune system will remember what it did via the vaccine. With this “information,” the immune system can then know how to fight the disease.
When should cats get vaccinated?
When you get a new cat or kitten, you should always keep in mind to take them to the vet to receive a primary vaccination. However, it doesn’t just stop there. You have to regularly visit the vet to get booster vaccinations. Doing this helps keep your cat healthy and safe from threatening diseases.
How old should a cat be to be vaccinated?
Normally, the first vaccine can be given when the cat is as young as nine weeks. The second can be given three to four weeks after. Although this really depends on the type of vaccine used on the cat.
Why are booster vaccinations needed?
Booster vaccinations are needed because your cat’s immune system fades over time. This is why it is important to get them booster shots every year or so, depending on the vaccine so that they always remain protected.
What do vaccines protect against?
Here are the following diseases that can be prevented by having your cat vaccinated:
- cat flu
- feline chlamydia
- feline infectious enteritis
- feline leukaemia virus
IMPORTANT TIP: It’s also good to be reminded that your cat should be vaccinated before you allow it to meet other animals. Socialisation with other animals is very important at a young age, but you must get them vaccinated first.
Dealing with fleas and worms
You should always keep in mind that fleas and worms are not just harmful for your cat, but to you as well. This is why you should give your cat regular treatments to prevent them from suffering from fleas and worms.
Although you can buy treatments over the counter, it’s best to ask your vet which ones are the best so that your cat will never have to suffer from fleas or worms.
How to know of your cat has fleas?
Fleas leads to a lot of itching, chewing and licking. The skin of your cat can become red and inflamed. Although uncommon, you can also see fleas on your cat.
You may also notice small dark flecks on their fur and skin. These are signs that your cat may have fleas and it’s best to take them to the vet so that you can get advice on how to eliminate the trouble.
What to do when your cat has fleas
Keep in mind that when your cat gets infected, so does your house. You have to vacuum and treat every place where your cat loves to hang out to get rid of the larvae and eggs.
Cat neutering is an operation that involves the removal of testicles of a male cat (castration) and the uterus and ovaries of a female cat (spaying).
Why should this be done?
There are lots of unwanted cats that are just left to fend for themselves, and one of the best ways to prevent the addition of more unwanted felines is to have them neutered. Neutering also prevents cats from developing serious diseases thereby allowing them to live much longer and have a better quality of life
Should you spay your female cat ?
Other than preventing unwanted kittens, spaying can prevent the development of cancer of the ovaries or uterus. It also prevents your female cat from frequently coming into heat.
Although it’s best to ask the advice of a vet, spaying your cat can be done when they are around five to six months of age.
Whether or nor your cat has had a litter, it is always best to have them spayed as soon as possible.
Should you castrate your male cat?
Castrating your male cat prevents them from fathering unwanted kittens. Not only that, it makes him less prone to fight too. Plus, castrating him also reduces his chances of acquiring feline AIDS which is spread through bites.
Having a cat castrated also makes them less prone to roaming around and they are also less likely to spray urine in the house too.
Castration can be done between five to six months of age, but it’s best to ask advice from your vet.
Knowing when your cat is sick
Here are some signs to look out for to determine if your cat is sick:
- sickness or diarrhoea
- loss of appetite
- drinking more or less than usual
- unusual bleeding
- runny eyes or nose
- sensitivity to touch or any signs of pain
- lack of energy or sleeping more than usual
- change in weight (up or down) over a short period
- unusual swellings
If you suspect that your cat is ill, you should call your vet so that they can make a more accurate assessment.
There’s always a perpetual question of whether to take out cat insurance or not. Keep in mind that you will need regular vaccinations and such, and insurance surely helps.
Having your cat insured is also helpful in cases where you would need unforeseen expenses. For example, if your cat met an accident which always results to more expenses. Having insurance can help cover the costs.
There are lots of companies offering cat insurance these days. You can shop around for a policy that suits you best.
Grooming your cat
It’s not a question that your cat needs regular grooming. However, if you have a long-haired one, you might need to do more grooming than having a short-haired variety.
If you have a long-haired cat, brush their hair once a day. With a short-haired cat, once wa week would suffice. Equally important, get a brush that suits their hair type.
Microchipping your cat
It is highly recommended to have your cat microchipped so that the chances of reuniting with them will be greater should they stray from you.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a very small device that will be injected into the skin of your cat. The chip contains a unique identification number which is stored in a database and can be matched with your contact details. This helps ensure that a found cat is indeed your very own.
Interesting statistics about cats
- More than 3.3 million cats are not vaccinated
- 89% of cats are neutered
- 54% of cats are not micro chipped
- 83% of cat owners have registered their pet with a vet
- 20% of owners brush their cats’ hair monthly while 16% never groom their cat
- 60% of owners don’t check their cat for fleas frequently while 33% don’t treat their cat for worms