Tips for Keeping Your Cat Healthy
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a picture of a cat with a stethoscope
Cats are very strange creatures. They have been domesticated for about 10,000 years and yet we still have a hard time understanding them.
Cats do a very god job at hiding things like how they’re feeling or if they have any pain. Some times it’s too late when you find out.
Here’s some tips to help you keep your feline friend happy and healthy.
Fur and Skin
All breeds of cats have fur, even some times the furless ones. Your cat enjoys keep their fur prim and perfect at all times.
A cat with matted or disheveled fur can be the first sign of issues.
Unless you have a hairless breed (bathing would be more common with hairless cats), brush your feline friend daily to remove excess fur and cut down on hairballs. A healthy coat will look shiny and smooth, with no bare patches. Start at a young age or start slowly if you’ve adopted an older cat. If you notice any lumps or sore spots as you brush your cat, talk to your vet.
Even after all of the work you’ve done trying to get your cat used to being brushed and they still hate being brushed. Which this results in your beautiful long haired cat to have mats and tangles. What can your do? You can take them to the groomer or if they really don’t like be groomed or clipped. Contact your vet about a sedation groom. The girls at Beattie always do the best lion cuts. Your cat will look adorable.
Fleas are some times very hard to see and they don’t just show up in the house on a whim. Fleas enjoy the outdoors and can only come inside when they find a warm host to live on. They will some times just on us to get their next destination. So that’s some times how your cat get fleas even if they don’t go outside.
You may never notice fleas on your cat until it’s too late. Early signs of fleas on your cat would be your cat biting or scratching at themselves a lot. Best thing to do is to check regularly for flea dirt, which is a nice way of saying flea poop. It looks like speck of pepper, but it’s actually dried blood. The way you can tell if it’s flea dirt or just plan dirt is by taking a flea comb and white paper then place them under water together. If the paper turns red it’s flea dirt. If it stays white or turns muddy it’s dirt.
If you notice either of these things, give your vet a call and make an appointment for an exam.
Teeth and Gums
The last thing on a pet owner’s mind is their pet’s teeth, usually. Mostly because it the past 10 years it’s become more apparent that you need to take care of your pet’s mouth. The mouth is an amazing part of your body system and your cat’s (and dog’s) and it’s very much taken for granted.
Your pet’s teeth (and your own) is contacted to every part of their body. Each tooth has it’s own blood supply and contacts to the rest of the body. If there is an infection in your pet’s mouth (build of tartar and calculus) it can spread to the rest of the body very quickly. This can result to infections in other parts of the body. The only way to fix this infection is to have your pet come in and have a dental cleaning done. Possibly after having a course of antibiotics.
You should brush your pet’s teeth daily. Do not use human grade tooth brushes and tooth paste. You can get tooth brushes and paste from your vet or from your local pet store. You can also use dental foods and dental treats to help with the build up as well.
When you’re at your veterinary next, ask them to take a good look at your cat’s teeth. They might see something you might not.
Eyes are the window to your animal’s soul. You can tell so much from just looking at your cat’s eyes. You always want to make sure that they are full of colour and bright. It’s normal to have “sleep”, “crusties” or discharge from the eyes, but nothing excessive. It also depends on the breed of cat. A Persian Cat might have more discharge than a Domestic Shorthair because of the slightly pressed in face.
If your pet’s eyes seem sunken or the colour is dull. Best to bring your pet in. There could be more wrong with them than just eye issues.
Check your cat’s ears regularly. Most of the time there might some discharge, just like us. But if there’s a bad smell and you see a lot of wax or black discharge. Your cat may have an infection or might have ear mites. Take your cat to the vet to get the proper medication.
Another concern for a cat owner would be why dose my cat’s one ear look like a chunk of it has been removed. Most of the time your cat was apart of a trap and release program. This is when an outdoor cat gets captured, spayed/neutered and then released back into the wild. The left ear is tipped so if they’re captured again it won’t have to under-go surgery again. Though another reason an ear looks like a piece has been removed is because of frostbite or cat fights. It all depends on the life your cat has before you brought them home.
You cat’s nose should be warm and dry rather than cold and wet with no discharge. The concept of your pet’s nose being cold and wet is actually a myth.
Monitor your cat’s discharge from their nose. An increase of discharge would be the best time to take your cat in for a check up.
Claws and Feet
A cat’s claws and their paws are a huge part of their lively hoods. Claws are a cat’s defense mechanism and are used for hunting. They also use their claws for scratching which is used for marking their territory. Cat’s have scent glands all over their body and marking territory is a big part of their life. Having their scent all over their home helps calm them.
Now for the controversial part of owning a cat. Declawing. Through out Europe, UK and Australia it is banned. Why is it banned? A lot of people believe it cruel. Most veterinary professionals agree with that statement, but it could also be life or death to that cat if they don’t declaw their cat. It’s very hard to be on either side of this debate. It could ruin a perfectly happy and turn them very aggressive. Might make an aggressive cat nice, though usually it just makes the cat use their teeth more and become more aggressive. It’s a double edged sword.
Make your own decision on the subject. Do your research. Ask smart questions. Like what does the procedure entail? It is an amputation. A removal of the nails. That part of a cat’s paw would equal out to removing the part of the finger at the last knuckle that contains your nail for a human. The recovery process is very painful and may have long term health issues like phantom pain and can cause numerous behaviour problems.
Instead of declawing, try redirecting your cat’s scratching to something else like a scratching post. Use positive reinforcement to teach them how to use the scratching post and put it in a place that is spot that your cat would enjoy. If your cat enjoys scratching your couch, try spraying the couch with bitter apple or place double sided sticky tape, plastic or aluminum foil on the furniture to deter them from scratching. Your furniture might look funny for a while, but the end result is better in the long run.
Another alternative to declawing is Soft Paws. They’re cute little caps that your place on your cat’s nails and stops your cat from scratching at things in the house. Very easy to apply. Trim your cat’s nails, apply some glue into caps and then place the caps on the nails. Let the glue set. They last about a mouth to two months. How ever long it takes for your cat’s nails to grow. There are different sizes so make sure you double check before picking up a pair for your cat.
Healthy Mind and Spirit
Cat’s enjoy our company, as much as they don’t show it. Try and spend as much time as you can with your cat every day. They may not show it, but they do enjoy it.
Cats get bored, especially if they live indoors. The best thing to do for your cat is to keep them indoors. Cats that spend time outside have shorter life spans. Have a bunch of toys for your cat so you can rotate them and that can make things more exciting for your cat. Though some cats just enjoy one toy and one toy only. It doesn’t hurt to enrich your cat’s life with something different now and then. You can leave the new toys out while you’re not around. Just never leave a toy with a lot of string or ribbon it will cause issues if your cat swallows them.