The 5 easiest ways to keep your cat healthy - KLFY News 10

The 5 easiest ways to keep your cat healthy

Updated: April 29, 2013 01:24 PM EDT
&copy Comstock / Thinkstock © Comstock / Thinkstock

By Gabrielle Karol
From The Daily Cat 

We know you love your cat. But even the biggest cat lovers can fall prey to a dangerous trap: thinking that your furry feline is "low-maintenance." While it's true that cats are less needy than many other types of pets, Dr. Jason Nichols, AKA "The Preventive Vet," says that cats are merely silent sufferers.

To ensure that your cat lives a long and healthy life (or nine), check out Dr. Nichols' five easy steps to promoting feline wellness.

1. Keep Your Cat Indoors.

Depending on your home environment (and your individual cat), keeping your kitty indoors 100% of the time can be tricky. But making sure your cat stays inside, however, is one of the best ways to make sure she stays safe. She won't be at risk of attack by other animals, like coyotes, and she won't get into fights with other cats, which can lead to Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or injury. Indoor cats also have a lesser risk of contracting parasites.

Additionally, more cats are killed by cars each year than are euthanized in animal shelters. By keeping your pet indoors, you'll be keeping her safe from automobile injuries.

2. Keep an Eye on the Litter Box.

Your cat's litter box can provide many clues to her health. Scoop and check the box daily, and get to know your cat's routines. If there are suddenly fewer urine spots each day, or there's no urine at all for two consecutive days, it may be an indication that something is amiss. Irregular urination can be symptomatic of degenerative kidney disease, cystitis, inflammation of the bladder or urethral obstructions, which are all common in aging cats. Additionally, diarrhea or lack of bowel movement can also be a sign of infection or disease.

It's not just about detection, though—prevention is also key. By encouraging water intake, you can help increase urination and prevent these diseases. Feeding your cat a canned diet (which comes in measured amounts) will help, as will adding additional water bowls around the house. Water bowls with various depths, as well as circulating foundations, can help lead to more water consumption.

Lastly, creating a welcoming litter box environment will promote healthy habits. A good rule of thumb is to have one litter box more than the number of cats you have, i.e. two boxes for one cat, and three boxes for two cats, etc. Uncovered litter boxes with unscented litter, in a low-traffic area of the house, will be most appreciated by your cats.

3. Make Your Home Hazard-Free.

Even if you keep your cat indoors, there are still plenty of dangerous—even fatal—everyday hazards your pet could encounter. Strings like dental floss, mistletoe, Easter grass, sewing thread and fishing line can get wrapped around cats' tongues or can damage their digestive tracts, requiring surgery 99% of the time, estimates Dr. Nichols. One easy way to fix this is to cover your bathroom garbage can, preventing your cat's access to dental floss.

There are also many unexpected toxins that could be lying around your house. Lilies are extremely dangerous to cats—every part of the flower is toxic, including the pollen and the water that lilies sit in absorbs the toxins as well. Even a small amount can send cats into kidney failure, which is extremely expensive to treat and fatal without veterinary help. Additionally, acetaminophen—which is found in many combination medications—is also toxic if ingested.

Lastly, flea treatments formulated for dogs can be very hurtful to cats. Pet owners often believe they can save by dividing up their dog's treatments for cats, but these medications can cause seizure-like tremors in cats. Never medicate cats without the direction of a veterinarian!

4. Watch Your Cat's Weight.

The majority of indoor-only cats should weigh between 9 and 12 pounds. Heavier cats are at greater risks for urethral obstruction, diabetes and arthritis, as more pressure is put on their joints. A high-protein, low-carb diet will prevent weight gain—talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate diet for your pet.

Additionally, promote exercise with fun toys that will keep your cat moving. Laser pointers and interactive toys encourage cats to run around and cut down on the likelihood that your feline will become obese.

5. Book Yearly Vet Appointments.

Most cats don't get the veterinary care they need. Annual exams are extremely important; aside from vaccines, a yearly visit will help your vet track what's been going on in your cat's life and detect diseases like heart disease, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and periodontal disease before they worsen.

These five easy steps won't take a ton of time or money, but they'll pay off in a big way when it comes to protecting your beloved cat's health.

Gabrielle Karol is a writer living in Manhattan. Her early love of animals made her want to be a veterinarian -- until she realized that blood would be involved. Now, she's content to write about them only, and dote on her parents' golden retrievers and her grandmother's Himalayan cat.

Copyright © 2013 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Wildlife Pic of the Week

    Wildlife Pic of the Week

    Here's today "Wildlife Pic of the Week" from the Smithsonian Magazine:Master of Disguise Photography by Graham McGeorge, Jacksonville, FL, USA Photographed at Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USAMore >>
    Here's today "Wildlife Pic of the Week" from the Smithsonian Magazine:Master of Disguise Photography by Graham McGeorge, Jacksonville, FL, USA Photographed at Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USAMore >>
  • Today's Celebrity Pet!

    Today's Celebrity Pet!

    GWEN STEFANI The singer and her pup hit the beach for a day of sun and fun in Marina del Rey, California.More >>
    BETTY WHITE The Golden Girl shares a sweet cuddle with pooch Delilah while attending the Saturday American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.More >>
  • Personality and Your Pet

    Personality and Your Pet

    Have you ever wondered what your pet choice says about your personality? Click on this link, it's sure to make you smile!ttp://msnvideo.msn.com/?videoid=0d79b149-c089-4113-808d-fd4320b33d85src=v5:pause:email:from=emailMore >>
    Have you ever wondered what your pet choice says about your personality? Click on this link, it's sure to make you smile!ttp://msnvideo.msn.com/?videoid=0d79b149-c089-4113-808d-fd4320b33d85src=v5:pause:email:from=emailMore >>
  • Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
  • Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
  • Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
  • How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
  • How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
Powered by WorldNow

1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
Lafayette LA 70509

Telephone: 337.981.4823
Fax: 337.984.8323
Email: tip10@klfy.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Louisiana, Inc. A Media General Company.