Cats are very good at looking after themselves, but that doesn’t mean that you can just ignore them and everything will be okay. Cats need attention too. The first thing to do is talk to your vet. They have the professional knowledge and know what is best for your cat for their current and future needs. The information on this page comes from a combination of research and common sense. I am not a medical professional so always ask your vet if you are ever unsure about something. With that out of the way, let’s jump into cat care 101.
Harmful Food for Cats
There are certain things that you can control when it comes to the health of your cat. Keeping them away from harmful food is a good first step. The most harmful food for cats is listed below:
- Alcohol (and yeast)
- Caffeine (Coffee, tea and energy drinks)
- Raw meat (fish, chicken)
- Raw eggs
- Fat trimmings and bone
- Grapes and raisins
- Onions and garlic
- Xylitol (sweetener-often an alternative to sugar)
- Milk (cats are lactose intolerant, the cartoons lied to us!)
- Human medicine
Any of these foods can be very bad for your cats health, and possibly fatal, so always make sure that you keep food stored responsibly. Cats are carnivores at heart so as long as their diet is meat heavy, that will give them the nutrition they need. The food that is made specifically for cats will be your best bet, just make sure it is age appropriate. And as always, consult your vet if you have any concerns about your cat’s diet.
Grooming is a great way to help maintain your cats hygiene and can also help keep your house clean. Cats love to groom themselves. They spend many hours a day grooming and maintaining their coats. For this reason, you don’t really need to bathe your cat that often. I personally wash my cat twice a year, the main one being after winter when she is shedding like there is no tomorrow so a small bath helps to get rid of the bulk of that fur. You can also brush your cat, especially in those months when they shed their winter coat. My cat loves a good brush and is a great time to bond.
Clipping claws is more for the owners benefit than the cat, since the objective is to stop the cat destroying your furniture. A small clip every two weeks is really all you need to do to keep those little weapons down, but no matter what, do no de-claw your cat. This is an incredibly harmful procedure and can have huge a huge impact on your cat’s quality of life.
Cat’s like humans do need some level of dental care, especially if they are totally indoors and don’t have access to more natural ways of cleaning their teeth (like chewing on bones). So the domestic alternative is to brush your cats teeth. Brushing your cats teeth will help avoid gum disease and tooth decay. Always remember to use kitty-toothpaste, since human toothpaste will make them ill, and use a kitty toothbrush that will be better suited for their small mouths. As usual, if you sense something is wrong (gum is bleeding, excessive drooling) consult your vet.
24 Hour emergency
There is usually a 24 hour poison hotline for pets and if you are lucky, there could also be a 24 hour vet for emergencies. When planning to own a pet, it is good to have the number of both of these services saved to your phone, since you never know when your feline friend could find themselves in trouble.
Spay and Neuter
There are so many cats that are in need of homes, so to intentionally not spay or neuter your cat is reckless and can lead to having an unwanted litter of kittens. Spaying and neutering also has additional benefits to your cat’s health. In male cats it reducing the need to roam (in search of females) which in turn keeps them from other potential dangers. It also stops them from spraying everywhere, which can take a while to clean up. In female cats it can help avoid getting cancer on their mammary glands and stop them from having the potential to develop pyometra (infection of the uterus).
Most importantly, love your cats and give them the attention that they need. You are the one who will notice if they are acting strange and take them to the vet. So in essence, having a close relationship with your cat is what will keep them healthiest.