By: Dr. Carrie LaJeunesse
First and foremost, always call us with any questions or concerns. We want to be your best source for accurate and helpful information. This can include anything from what foods to feed, spaying/neutering (which we very strongly recommend!) to cat boarding facilities. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll try to find it for you!
Recommendations for supporting health and happiness:
- Make sure that household or yard plants are safe for your kitten or cat (please see resources, below). Offering freshly grown “kitty grass” can help entice cats away from house plants, and provide your cat with a little extra fresh nutrition.
- Provide an interesting environment (scratching devices, cat trees, boxes) and toys for your kitten or cat. This will help them remain active and physically fit, and prevent boredom which can lead to unwanted behaviors. This is especially important for cats that live strictly indoors.
- Avoid raw diets. Research shows that raw diets contain organisms that can be harmful to your cat’s health, and also to the health of people in the home (especially children, the elderly, pregnant women, and anyone with a compromised immune system). Similarly, avoid home prepared diets unless recipes have been provided by a veterinary nutrition specialist (most often found at certain veterinary colleges). It is extremely difficult to home-prepare a nutritionally balanced diet for your cat. Poor nutrition can have severe health consequences.
- Consider providing a re-circulating kitty water fountain, available at most retail specialty pet stores. The cool, filtered, flowing water may help encourage cats to drink, thus supporting kidney and urinary tract health. Otherwise, make water is changed daily.
- Thoroughly wash food bowls after each meal, and water bowls once a day.
- Feed a high quality, balanced diet. Canned or dry foods are recommended. In general, it is not a good idea to “free feed” dry foods, as many cats will become overweight when they free feed “kibble.” Feed prescribed amounts of food twice daily. If feeding dry food, consider putting part of your cat’s daily ration into one or two “food puzzles,” (Kongs or those made by Premier Pet toys) to encourage activity, engage your cat’s mind, and satisfy natural food foraging behavior.
- Annual examinations with your veterinarian are extremely important. It is true that cats “age” physiologically many “years” by comparison to people. Having your cat examined annually is comparable to you seeing your personal physician for a check up only every 5 to 7 years! We will keep you advised as to necessary wellness laboratory screening (annual fecal examinations, blood work, urinalysis, etc.) that is tailored for your cat’s particular lifestyle and age.
- Scoop litter boxes twice daily, and thoroughly clean and disinfect litter boxes once a month. This is particularly important if you are using a “closed” litter box (one with a lid), as fecal and urine odor is particularly unpleasant to your cat’s sensitive nose and insufficient cleaning can mean that your kitty will look elsewhere to eliminate (usually someplace we’d prefer they not “go”).
- Replace litter boxes once a year. In the act of scratching to bury urine and feces, the bottom of litter boxes can be “scarred” and retain urine odor, despite thorough cleaning. You may not be able to smell this odor, but your cat can!
- Dental health is a critical part of your cat’s general health. When properly rewarded, many cats will actually look forward to having their teeth cleaned. Despite home dental care, cats will periodically need to have their teeth cleaned by a veterinarian, however home dental care can decrease the frequency of dental cleanings. Please let us know if you’d like more information, and we’ll get you started.
For Training and Behavior (OR “yes, your cat can be trained to go for walks wearing a harness and actually enjoy it!”)
- www.animalbehavior.net. This website has great information regarding keeping your kitten and cat happy and entertained, thus helping to avoid unwanted or troublesome behaviors. Follow the “shop” link to find online courses, and one of the best kitten training books available.
- www.petsandparasites.com: This sight explains about common parasites, and provides guidelines for making sure your cat or kitten stays parasite free, not only protecting their health, but also the health of the people who love them.
- www.remindmypet.com: This website will allow you to schedule reminders (email or text messages) to help you remember to give medications. This is particularly helpful for medications such as monthly flea/tick and intestinal parasite prevention medications.
General Health and Wellness
- www.allcreatures24hr.com: Our clinic website showcasing our fantastic team of pet care professionals, interesting articles and information, as well as helpful links
- www.catvets.com: American Association for Feline Practitioners provides health and wellness information specifically for our feline friends. Very reliable and interesting resources created by the veterinarians dedicated to the care of cats.
- www.petplace.com or www.veterinarypartner.com: Have additional information about some aspects of behavior, as well as reliable general health and safety information
- www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/: National Animal Poison Control Center providing information regarding toxins and poisons specific to pets. Search here for information regarding toxic plants.
We are here to support you in providing the best care possible for you cat or kitten. We thank you for trusting us with your beloved pet’s care, and for allowing us to help maintain the special bond you share.
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