Pet Calendar: National Cat Health Month
By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder
The month of February has been designated Cat Health Month but as any cat owner or cat parent knows every day is the time to be aware of your cat’s health.
What can a responsible pet parent do to assure his or her cat is as healthy as it can be? Here are some tips (I am a pet parent to three adult rescue cats and two kittens so I am well-versed in caring for cats!)
- Prevent obesity. Obesity in cats can lead to other health issues including diabetes. If you’re uncertain as to whether your cat is at his or her ideal weight, ask your veterinarian. If your vet says your cat is on the chunky side and needs to lose a bit of weight, ask him for advice on what foods to feed, how much and how often.
- Keep your kitty active. To keep your cat at her ideal weight, keep her active. Cats love to play and it’s a great way to bond. You can invest in cat toys or make your own if you’re crafty. An easy cat toy to DIY is to get some feathers and some elastic string and a longish pole. Tie or glue the string to the feathers. Tie or glue the string to the pole and viola — you have a fun toy to use to play with your kitty. Some cats love to chase a piece of balled up paper — quick, easy and likely free! If your cats love to run and jump and case a laser pointer, entertain them with that.
- Cuddle your kitties. It’s a myth that cats are solitary creatures and don’t crave interaction with their humans. Cats love a good cuddle. Spend time on the couch with them, snuggling up. Pet them. Rub their bellies. Stroke them between the ears. Enjoy their purring.
- Keep their teeth healthy. Ask your veterinarian what you can feed to keep your cat’s teeth clean. Your veterinarian may recommend occasional teeth cleaning — your pet will be sedated for this procedure. If teeth aren’t properly cared for your cat will potentially lose his teeth, will have trouble eating and an infected tooth/teeth can lead to other health issues.
- Get your cat vaccinated or have titer tests to see if vaccinations are necessary. Even indoor cats need to be vaccinated against disease.
- Keep your kitty safe from indoor toxins. There are myriad plants that are harmful to your cat’s health. Research them and make certain you don’t have any toxic plants where your cat can come in contact with them.
If you’re introducing a new cat or kitten to your family and to other pets in the household, make sure the introductions are well-supervised. It may make sense to keep the animals in separate rooms until they are accustomed to one another. Expect some hissing and growling at first, but chances are your pets will eventually come to love one another.
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