Based on statistics, approximately 67% of all households in the US kept at least one animal in 2019. Cats are the second popular pet right behind the freshwater fish. It is estimated that almost 95 million pet cats live in the US, and some data show that about 75% of them live indoors only.
The fact is that they depend on us. We, as owners of these beautiful animals, have to take care of their comfort and health. I will list here some of the essential issues you need to take care of to ensure that your kitty stays mentally and physically healthy and happy.
Regular veterinary care
Unfortunately, in most veterinary practices, dogs are a dominated clientele, and it can be a bit complicated finding an excellent and dedicated vet for the cat. Look at the site of the American Association of Feline Practitioners to find a feline vet in the region where you live.
To keep your cat healthy, regular visits to a vet are a ‘must-have’ procedure. The general recommendation is to visit a veterinary clinic at least four times a year due to deworming, regular vaccination, and screening for heartworm and ectoparasites, including ticks and fleas.
If you keep your cat outdoors, it will need additional vaccinations to keep it safe from feline leukemia. Also, annual controls help to spot any potential diseases in the early stage. Keep in mind that certain cat breeds require special screening, as well as cats prone to weight gain.
Don’t forget to check the ears and eyes of your beloved pet regularly. Look for waxy buildup in ears. In combination with a foul smell, it may indicate that your kitty has mites. An accumulation of crust in the corners of its eyes, milky-liked corneas, closed eyes, tear-stained fur, and discharge are signs of an eye infection.
Spay or neuter your cat
There are a few crucial reasons why you should spay or neuter your cat. First of them concerns cat overpopulation in most cities. By estimates, there are tens of millions of community cats in the US. As a responsible owner, you should take care that your cat is not part of the problem and help in decreasing the number of stray cats.
In most cases, you can spay or neuter your cat when it is five to eight months old. In any case, you should do that before it turns one year old. That way, your kitty will become less aggressive, as well as cuddlier and more affectionate.
Additionally, spaying and neutering your cat will help in extending its life expectancy and reducing the risk of fatal cat diseases, including:
· Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
· Feline leukemia virus (FLV)
· Reproductive diseases (breast tumors, ovarian cancers in female cats as well as prostate problems and testicular cancer in males)
· Uterine infections
Keep in mind that spaying can prevent approximately 90% of breast tumors and uterine infections. Neutering will also reduce the urge of male cats to roam and spray to mark territory.
Feed your cat adequately
Regardless of the popular trends, I need to insist on the fact that cats are strict carnivores, and they can’t be vegetarians under no circumstances. Deal with it! Their main meal is always meat, and dry food containing a high percentage of carbs is entirely unhealthy for your furry friend.
The crucial thing is to determine a proper place for a food tray. Probably the best one is in the kitchen where food is accessible when necessary. Whether you will organize the feeding rhythm at a specific time interval or leave food available all the time depends on your cat.
For example, my Josephine prefers eating a little bit every two hours, and I let food at her disposal. On the other hand, I can’t let Sofio eats whenever he wants because he doesn’t know when to stop!
Provide some quality wet food for your cat, as well as fresh meat or fish if it is possible, and keep their trays clean. Never let your cat overeat and keep in mind that fat cats are not born that way. We make them fat if we feed them inadequately.
Provide fresh water
Cats are clean animals, and they don’t want to drink water from dirty bowls. You should provide fresh and clean water for your furry friend at any time during the day if you want it healthy. Keep in mind that some cats, like my Clementine, prefer drinking water directly from the faucet.
A rule of thumb is that you need one litter box for each cat, plus one more. So, if you have three cats like me, you need four litter boxes in the house to encourage their healthy habits.
Clean their litter boxes regularly. It will keep the area desirable for your furry friends and help you notice any possible changes indicating a health issue, especially urinary tract infections. Always take the cat’s unusual tendency to urinate outside the litter box seriously.
One more thing! Place the litter box at the same spot. It needs to be quiet, open, well-lit, and clean. Your cat needs a view while using this place since it is in a vulnerable position at that particular moment. Avoid places where your kitty may feel trapped or those accessible just by going upstairs or downstairs. If it is complicated for your cat to get to the litter box, it may stop using it.
Provide scratching posts
When they live outdoors, cats groom their nails without any help by scratching them to walls. It is quite different if you keep your kitty indoors all the time. In that case, you need to provide adequate scratching mats and posts to prevent the complete destruction of your furniture.
Space these gadgets near the usual walking route and sleeping area. Be prepared that your cat won’t choose to use scratching posts by itself. It would help if you taught it to do it.
Put a variety of wood covered in rope or natural wood logs throughout the house, including the center of your living room. It is the place full of action, and your cat will accept the new ‘toy’ quicker.
Let your cat play
If you have just one cat and keep it indoors all the time, its life may be quite monotonous. The result will be the fat cat, which is bored and under stress most of the time.
Therefore, you should do something about that. If you are able, adopt one more cat and let them play. If not, find a way to keep your furry friend occupied as much as possible. Provide a variety of toys for it and spend a lot of time playing with your beloved pet. That way, it will be physically and mentally active and healthy.
Cats are adorable animals that don’t require too much care and engagements. You need to provide basic things like clean water, quality food, regular veterinary care, and a lot of play. In return, they will be satisfied, happy, and healthy. What more could you wish to someone you love?