Top 10 resolutions for a healthier cat


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Top 10 resolutions for a healthier cat

  1. 1. Top 10 resolutions for a healthier catBy: Dr. Jane MatheysAssociate VeterinarianThe Cat Doctor Veterinary HospitalFor Pets Best InsuranceNow that we’re a few weeks into the new year, in additionto making some healthy resolutions for yourself, you shouldconsider making some for your cats! Aside from investingin pet health insurance for your kitty, here are some otherways you can help keep your cats happy and healthythrough 2012 and beyond.1. Examination/Wellness VisitThe importance of a yearly physical examination andpreventative care for your cat cannot be overemphasized.Semiannual exams, especially for older cats, are even better.This is analogous to recommending an examination everytwo to three years for an adult human. Sensible, right? Catsage much more quickly than people do, and changes in pethealth status may occur rapidly. Cats are also very good at hiding signs of their illness until it hasgreatly progressed. More frequent evaluation allows earlier identification of illness, improvedquality of life, and reduces long-term costs related to your cat’s healthcare.2. Dental CareDental disease is very common in cats, although owners are often not aware of it until their cat’sbreath smells so bad that they can’t ignore it any longer. Dental disease can be very painful, andcan threaten your cat’s health and welfare. Tooth brushing is extremely valuable in cats, and isbest started during kittenhood when cats are most receptive. Tooth brushing can be encouragedwith older cats, too, using positive interactions, rewards and patience! In addition to toothbrushing, a variety of dental products for homecare are available, including diets, treats, andchews.3. Nutrition and Weight ManagementObesity is on the rise in our pet cats along with diabetes. It is far better and easier to preventweight gain than it is to get an overweight cat to lose weight. Each cat’s food intake and feedingregimen needs to be individualized to sustain proper body and muscle condition scores. Yourveterinarian can give you guidelines to help your flabby tabby drops pounds.4. Behavior and Environmental EnrichmentAppropriate resources should be available throughout your home: food, water, litterboxes,scratching posts, hiding places, and elevated resting spots. The more cats in the household, themore resources that are needed.Pet insurance plans are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company. SS-ART1-0212-IAIC/AICC
  2. 2. This will help eliminate undesirable behaviors like urine marking. Environmental enrichment isespecially important for indoor cats. Physical and mental stimulation is necessary to preventstress and illness associated with boredom and inactivity. See The Indoor Pet Initiative for additional information.5. Retrovirus TestingRetroviruses include Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).It is important to know the status of these two fatal immunosuppressive diseases in your cats.FIV is primarily spread through cat bites, so it is especially important to have your cat testedabout 2 months after receiving a bite in a cat fight.6. Parasite ControlAll cats, including indoor cats, are at risk for both internal parasites(roundworms, hookworms,heartworm) and external parasites (fleas) and should receive preventatives against these. Checkwith your veterinarian as to which parasites are prevalent in your area.7. VaccinationKeep your cats updated on their vaccinations to prevent illness. Vaccinations are no longer givenas frequently as they were in the past due to increased knowledge about their duration ofimmunity. However, even if your cat is not due for vaccinations in a particular year, it is stillnecessary that he/she receives a physical examination. The exam is the most important part of theveterinary visit! Some pet insurance companies even offer an additional wellness plan to helpwith the cost of routine care, like vaccinations.8. Identification/MicrochipIt is a sad fact that many of the pet cats that get lost each year never make it back home becausethey are not wearing any form of identification. A microchip is a permanent identification that iseasily placed under your cat’s skin near the shoulder blades. In addition, have your cat wear acollar and tags with current identification and contact information.9. Recognize Signs of IllnessCats are masters at hiding their illnesses, and early signs of sickness, stress and pain can besubtle and difficult to detect. Watch for vomiting, bad breath, lethargic behavior, difficultyurinating, changes in grooming habits, or changes in food consumption.10. Pet Insurance and Financial PlanningPet ownership requires responsibility! Budget in the cost of your cat’s daily care, and considerpurchasing cat insurance for even greater peace of mind. Companies like Pets Best Insurancereimburse a flat percentage of the actual vet bill!For more information about cat health and cat insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.Pet insurance plans are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company. SS-ART1-0212-IAIC/AICC