It’s a new month and a new year. It’s also National Cat Health Month. As a cat mom or dad, you already do so much to give your fuzzy friend a great quality of life. Despite the unfair reputation cats have as being aloof and self-centered, they are amazing companions who entertain us, snuggle with us, and provide us with unconditional love. Your cat may even try to groom you, which means he really thinks you’re the cat’s meow. In recognition of this month-long awareness event, we would like to offer you the following cat care tips:
• Cats have an inborn need to scratch and aren’t trying to be naughty when they claw up the furniture. You can save your skin, furniture, and sanity by redirecting your cat to several scratching posts placed around the house. If destructive scratching becomes a major problem, resist the urge to declaw your cat. We are happy to recommend alternatives to this major surgery.
• Make sure that your cat has several places throughout the home to hide and sleep. Part of the reason people misunderstand cats as aloof is that they need their privacy and alone time. Hiding spots also come in handy when your cat feels fearful or stressed and prefers to retreat from the situation.
• More than half of American housecats are overweight or obese. Although remaining indoors is better for their health, it also eliminates much of the activity that can help them maintain a stable weight. Be sure to provide an enriching indoor environment for your cat that includes several toys. Cats often like simple, inexpensive toys the best such as a piece of string or pretend mouse. A cat perch satisfies the natural desire to climb and look outdoors.
• Spend several minutes every day interacting with your cat by petting her and talking to her. This helps deepen your bond.
• Check the labels on your cat’s food to ensure that you make a nutritious selection. Avoid foods with artificial fillers since they add no nutritional value. The occasional treat is fine, but your cat should have to earn it. Try hiding the treat close by so she can smell it or place it inside a toy. This provides your cat with exercise and satisfies her hunting instinct.
• Consider getting your cat microchipped, even if he remains indoors. He could slip outside when the door is open and lose his collar and tag, making it unlikely you will ever be reunited.
Bring Your Cat to See Us for Regular Check-Ups
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, more than 50 percent of cats don’t see a veterinarian consistently. The study indicates that three out of four cats see a vet before their first birthday but the visits drop off dramatically after that. Cat owners tend to reserve veterinary visits for injuries or severe illness, possibly due to their pet’s behavior when it’s time for an appointment.
At Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic, we encourage you to bring adult cats in for an annual preventive care exam. Kittens need several visits their first year to get off on the right paw.
Photo Credit: Leoba / Free Digital Images