A responsible cat owner will not only ensure that their cat is regularly vaccinated, neutered and treated for worms and fleas by their trusted vet, they will take care of their general health at home too.
Humans have GPs and hospitals to turn to if we get ill or to check whether our bodies are working as they should by checking things like our blood pressure. But we also know the importance of eating properly and getting enough exercise to keep healthy.
In case the worst happens and your cat is injured or falls ill, you should take out pet insurance to ensure that you can afford the best care at their time of need. Pet insurance cover will take the worry out of paying for vital treatment out of your family’s budget and the earlier in your cat’s life you take it out the cheaper your premiums will be and the more conditions will be covered.
Cat owners must apply that knowledge to the care of their cats if they want to avoid unnecessary vet bills, which can be very costly (not to mention distressing for the cat). It can be hard to spot the signs that our cats are ill because they can’t tell us if something hurts or doesn’t feel right – so our first job as a cat owner is to get to know our cat, its body language and its normal temperament to better judge when our cat is not feeling itself.
Why Dental Care is Important
As well as looking out for signs that our cat might be unwell (and taking them to see the vet if we think something’s wrong), we need to take care of their physical health by ensuring that their teeth and mouth stay healthy.
Apparently caring for our cats’ dental health can extend their lifespan by up to five years because even something as minor as gum disease can ultimately affect the condition of their hearts. When you take your cat for a visit to the vet, make sure they check their mouth and teeth for signs of gum disease or oral cancer.
If your cat will stand it, you can improve their dental health by brushing their teeth with specially- designed finger brush and cat toothpaste. Always ensure that your cats have hard cat biscuits to eat as well as wet food, as the crunching will reduce the amount of plaque build-up.
Make sure the biscuits and wet food provide them with all the nutrients they need and don’t be tempted to let them share titbits from your plate – the calorific value to a human of a small piece of chicken isn’t much but to a cat it can be the equivalent of munching down three digestive biscuits.
The Nutritional Requirements of Your Cat
Your cat’s nutritional requirements will change with age so make sure you keep up with that, and if your cat lives indoors then make sure their food contains plenty of vegetation (you can buy special cat biscuits for indoor cats) and give them plenty of liquids to reduce the risk of developing cystitis.
Make sure you give an appropriate portion size for your cats to keep their weight healthy and if you have a lazy cat or a housecat make sure their food intake isn’t greater than their energy-use through exercise. If they’re putting on a bit of weight, take extra time to engage them in games to give them some exercise.
Indoor Cat or Outdoor Cat?
If your cat is allowed outdoors, or if you have plants indoors, make sure that plants that are toxic to cats (e.g. lilies) are kept well out of reach and, just as with a young child, don’t leave toxic substances anywhere that they can access or tread in (they will lick their paws and can be poisoned).
There are some other common food items that aren’t good for cats, including onion, chocolate, milk, cheese, eggs and canned tuna.
If you live close to a busy road, you may want to consider keeping your cat indoors – but only do this if it does not cause your pet great distress.