Cat health care information directed at preventative cat care is as important, if not more important, as information about cat illnesses. As a cat owner, you have a responsibility to learn as much cat info as possible about keeping your kitty in good health.
There are many important components of day to day house cat care. Too often, we wait until something really obvious, and by that time potentially very serious, surfaces. We should never wait for loss of appetite, weight loss, excessive thirst or a wound to occur before providing preventative cat care. Prevention is a better choice for both your cat and you (and your pocketbook).
And it's easy ....if you know what to do.
This page of cat health care information will provide answers to many cat health questions and includes a list of items you should own if you have a cat.
This cat info comes to you as a result of decades of cat ownership and 20 years of providing veterinary care for thousands of cats. If it happens to a cat, I have probably seen it, and in many cases, have lived with it. This gives me a unique perspective on house cat care, cat illness prevention, and cat comfort.
So …let’s get started!
It's important to read everything, starting here. When you get to the bottom of the page, there's a table that takes you to more detailed articles about the most important cat health topics. (If you insist on jumping straight to the table, you may click here, but I strongly urge you to read on first!)
In many ways, it helps to compare your cat to yourself. Feline anatomy is almost identical to human anatomy. Think of the things you need, think of the things you need to do or have done each day or each week for yourself. Chances are your cat needs many of the same things. However, so often, this type of routine care, preventative care, or "comfort care" is overlooked.
For example, if you have a short-haired cat and think of him as low maintenance or no maintenance, think again. They still have hair, still have skin, and still have nails.
You say you've known cats that have lived for 20 years and never had a bath, never had a nail trim, never had a good brush-out and they lived to a ripe old age without problems? It's possible, but those are the exception and certainly not the rule. It's also possible that the cat had discomfort you weren't aware of. Cats are very good at hiding pain.
For every 20 year old cat you can tell me about that never needed grooming or teeth cleaning or any maintenance at all, I can tell you about hundreds, or more accurately, thousands that suffered and died much earlier because they didn't get preventative cat care.
You can see a perfect example of a cat that endured unnecessary suffering that could have been totally prevented with just a little inexpensive periodic care at home by reading about a cat named Teddy. But don’t forget to come back and read the rest of my cat info and answers to your cat health questions!
There are many things you can do to make sure that your cat is a healthy cat and a happy and comfortable cat.
Obviously if we think about what you need each day and what your cat needs each day, our list would start with food and water. Seems obvious, right? But I have talked to many cat owners who did not give FRESH water frequently enough or did not leave water in convenient places for their cat.
You may think that cats don't need much water because when you fill the water bowl, the water level never seems to go down and you never see your cat actually drinking. The truth is, they need water just as much as you and I do, but feline evolution has resulted in their brains not being designed to actually know they need to drink as much as they should. In the wild, the food their ancestors ate (rodents, etc.) had a high enough water content that they didn't feel thirsty as often.
However, our house cats who have been fed commercial food all their lives, many of them fed mainly or exclusively dry food, do not get nearly enough water from their food to keep them healthy. As a result, many of them go through life being somewhat dehydrated all the time and that leads to problems throughout the body, but especially in the urinary tract.
There are two things you can do to keep your cat well hydrated at all times:
(1) feed only canned food
(2) encourage drinking
You need to do both for optimal cat health.
Did you know that cats like their water cold and fresh and will drink more if it's moving? Providing your cat with a pet fountain will likely result in increased drinking which is healthier for your pet.
This simple bit of cat care information can make a big difference in cat health so spread the word!
I have many other cat facts for you. Did you know that an elevated cat feeder can help cats that have regurgitation or vomiting problems digest their food better? It's true and there's an added benefit for you - it helps to keep your kitty's feeding area less messy. You know how some cats dip their paws in the water and also use their paws to pull out a few kernels of food? This will help discourage that.
Here's another cat health information tip
for you. Did you know that using clumping cat litter will contribute to
better cat care and health by allowing you to monitor the amount your
kitty is urinating at one time? You will be able to detect changes in
the amount of urine your cat is producing which can lead to early
detection of diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism.
These are only a few examples of the many things you can do to keep your precious kitty in good health. You'll find many other cat health care information tips on this page and throughout our website.
For example, if you didn't read the story about the cat named Teddy mentioned above, please go back and read that now. It's very important.
Before declawing cats, a painful and gruesome procedure, consider the alternatives.
There are several, such as learning to trim your cat's claws, learning to apply cat nail or claw caps and offering scratching posts for your cat to use instead of your furniture.
There are many different ways to offer an approved scratching surface to your cat. With variety that ranges from scratching posts to cat condos to large cat tree houses, it's easy to find a scratching alternative that will please your cat and you. Some of them are just for scratching while others have hideouts, tunnels, and attached toys to entertain your kitty. There are many options that are made to be both functional and decorative.
We also know now that cats need more stimulation from their environment than we may have originally thought, especially indoor cats. Cat climbing trees are especially useful for that purpose. In addition to provide an acceptable scratching surface, trees also use the vertical space in your home. This adds stimulation and extra space which can be particularly useful if your live in an apartment or small house.
Another really important part of keeping your cat healthy is being able to provide preventative health care regularly, including providing cat vaccines, and medical care when an illness arises. To ensure that you can do that regardless of economic concerns, you should get Cat Health Insurance.
Pet health insurance for cat members of your family is no longer an
option, but a necessity. There are many different companies that offer
cat insurance, and this article about pet insurance will guide you through picking the best policy for your needs.
Do you keep yourself informed about the changes in cat nutrition and available diets? This is a part of cat care that is changing rapidly. There are as many cat food brands these days as there are shades of white paint!
Should you feed your cat dry food, canned food, raw cat food,
homemade cat food, Wellness cat food ...how DO you do a proper cat food
So what's our list of necessary items for the best feline health care look like now?
(4) Nail Care
(5) Pet Insurance
(6) Regular vet exams and vaccines
(7) Grooming Tools
But that's just a few of the many things that are necessary to keep your favorite feline healthy and happy and even those listed require more information about them so you can make the best choices. It's all too much for one page, so now that you know about the importance of water and the need for a cat to have a pet fountain, read on by selecting from the links below which will take you to a more detailed discussion about the other cat necessities.
Cat Diet: How To Choose the Right One
How Much to Feed Your Cat
Hills Cat Food
Iams Cat Food
Additional Cat Food Info
Fat Cat: The Dangerous Weight Loss Contest
Examining Your Cat at Home
Healthy Cat Eyes
Pet Insurance for Cats
Why NOT to Declaw
Home Nail Care
Administering Feline Medications
Introducing Pet Cats
Clumping Cat Litter
Crystals Cat Litter
Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Boxes
Products for Preventing Scratching Problems
The Great Cat Scratch Furniture Debate Contest
Outdoor Cat Enclosures
The following questions and answers might answer some questions you have for yourself about how to care for a cat. Perhaps you're a first time cat owner looking for advice. Perhaps you're tackling a move to a new home. Perhaps you're preparing for traveling and need some ideas.
In the questions and answers below, you'll find answers and advice to these questions and many more!
Getting a cat to a vet
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New Cat Companion for Older Cat?
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Can't Catch My Cat to Take to the Veterinarian
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Where Should I Put My Cat's Food and Litter Box?
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do male cats return after mating?
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Leaving 3 indoor cats while on holiday
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Going away on a long vacation- better to leave cat at home or with a friend?
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Relocating my 18 Year Old Cat
Dr. Neely, I have a handsome red tabby cat who is 18 years old. Tiger is indoor/outdoor and has only lived in one environment his entire life. I would …
Cat scratching around food
I just had a quick question about cat behavior. I notice that whenever I feed my cats, one of my cats scratches all around their food bowls when …
Traveling with a Cat
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Cat Clawing Furniture
QUESTION How can I stop our cat from clawing our leather lounge sofa? Do you have any suggestions! We are desperate! Thank you, Lisa Hi, …
Paw Flexing of Cats
QUESTION I just recently adopted a cat from the shelter. She often flexes her paws while laying down, alternating from left and right paw. She …
Cat in Heat: Making Her More Comfortable
My cat is, I believe, in heat and keeps on crying. Please advise me on any medicine or treatment can help her. Thanks! Dear Jackie, While feline …
The best solution for cats and leather sofas?
Hello Dr. Neely, My girlfriend is moving in with me and she has two cats. I have read about waterguns, electric deterrents, sofa covers, citrus scents, …