It’s been said that dogs have owners, and cats have staff. Cat people can testify to the truth of this statement! Our furry friends rely on us to keep them safe and fed, so here are some key ways to make sure your furry overlord stays happy and healthy for years to come:
Take them for regular veterinary exams: Your cat needs an annual physical so your vet can monitor health changes – better yet, take them to the vet every six months. During an annual exam, we check for signs that can indicate health problems like dental disease, gingivitis, abnormal thyroid, heart murmurs, kidney disease, tumors, and other possible health concerns. Regular health exams are especially important for senior pets (ages 7 and up), so if you haven’t been to the vet lately, make an appointment.
Weight control – fat cats may be cute, but obesity can kill: An estimated 40 to 70 percent of cats in the United States are obese, which is a strong risk factor for developing diabetes. While diabetes can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes, prevention is a better approach.
If your cat is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about a weight loss program. From reducing the amount that you’re feeding your cat, moving them to a more metabolic-friendly diet, to using a slow-feeding method that’s more aligned to their natural predatory instincts – your vet can help determine the right moves for your pet’s health.
Give them plenty of potty options: What’s the magic number of litter boxes for cats? Simple – one litter box per cat plus one more. So if you have two cats, you’ll need at least three litter boxes.Three cats require at least four boxes, and so on. Why the extra box? Well, nobody likes using a dirty bathroom (scoop daily!).
Cats can also be quite picky, territorial, or downright jerks to one another. Cats have been known to block access to the box or intimidate others to keep them out of the litter box. Make sure there are options on each floor of your home or in multiple rooms so you can avoid any nasty surprises. Once again – scoop daily!
If you have a sufficient number of clean litter boxes, but your cat refuses to use the box, you may need to change to another litter (avoid highly scented ones!). If the problem continues, have your vet check for medical problems like urinary tract disease, kidney problems, or urethral obstruction.
Play time is more than just play: Take a break every day to play with your cat. Regular play time can help keep your kitty’s weight down, provide mental and physical stimulation, and strengthen your bond. Make sure your cat/s have plenty of exciting interactive toys that satisfy their need to pounce, swat, and stalk – these will go a long way towards preventing the 3 am “I’m awake, get up and play” moments.
In general, cats need to visit the vet at least once per year. In certain circumstances, your veterinarian might recommend every six months depending on the health needs of your pet.
February is National Cat Health Month, so we’re going to look at some of the reasons why you need to make an appointment for your kitty ASAP!
Teeth cleaning & dental care (it’s also Pet Dental Health Month!)
Spaying & Neutering – cats are prolific breeders, so it’s a must
Changes in a cat’s health can happen quickly, so preventive care is important
Sick cats often show no signs of being ill – they hide symptoms and pain well
Early diagnosis of health problems equals early intervention/better outcome
Regular vaccinations are vital to protecting your pet from diseases
Don’t wait for veterinary visits – make regular head to toe exams for your cat part of your routine. While you might not know what to look for, you’re far more likely to pick up on any changes in your pet’s health, and as a bonus it helps your pet get used to being handled.
So when is the last time your cat got a health check up? If the answer isn’t within the last six months, then it’s time to give us a call.
When asked ‘how do you brush a cat’s teeth?, cat owners and veterinarians will most likely answer, “VERY CAREFULLY”.
While the joke is good for a small giggle, the better question is WHY you need to clean kitty’s teeth. The answer? Because they’re teeth. They get dirty.
Adult cats have 30 teeth – so there are a lot of places for problems to begin. Regular brushing at home combined with dental cleanings at the vet helps reduce plaque and tartar build-up that kickstarts inflammation and allows disease to creep in.
So, how’s your cat’s breath?
Get up close and personal to get a whiff of your cat’s breath. Is it regular old cat breath (meaning slightly fishy, but not overwhelming) or ‘OMG…I can’t even, oh noooooo…’ breath?
If it’s the first, great – that means you still have time to establish a preventive dental care plan.
If it’s the second – you and your cat have a real problem. Foul breath is the first indication of oral health problems and disease. Make an appointment with your vet. Don’t delay.
Still good? Go a bit further…
If your cat will allow it, gently flip their lip to reveal the teeth and gum area. Look for redness, swelling, bleeding, or inflammation of the gums. You’ll probably see discolorations on the teeth, too. Are any of the teeth chipped or broken? Any of these conditions require professional care.
Call your vet and make an appointment. Don’t delay.
Speaking of appointments with the vet…
All cats and dogs should have an annual health check up. Part of a thorough health check includes checking the pet’s teeth and gums for signs of disease. Sadly, too many domestic cats and dogs don’t get regular veterinary care until they are injured or they show definite signs of being sick.
Remember, your pet can’t tell you their teeth hurt, and cats are notorious for hiding pain. Don’t wait until your pet is clearly in pain or distress.
Not quite convinced?
February is Pet Dental Health Month, so you’ll save $50 off a dental treatment at any Arizona PetVet location. Find the nearest location.
Periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed preventable disease in dogs and cats. By age three, nearly 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of dental disease, which can lead to more severe health problems.
There are strong links between gum disease and heart disease in humans and animals, so prevention is the key.
Your veterinarian can spot signs of dental disease during your annual wellness exam, and provide you with treatment options. In between exams, here’s a couple of things you can look for on your own:
Get down on their level. Flip the lip. Take a close look at the REAL condition of their teeth.
Are their gums pink and healthy, or red and inflamed?
Can you see discolorations on the teeth or at the gum line?
Is there evidence of any loose, cracked, or broken teeth?
We’re betting there’s a lot more going on in there than you realized. Luckily, it’s National Pet Dental Health Month, so pet parents can save $50 off a dental cleaning for Fido or Fluffy at any AZPetVet location. We’ll even help you create a simple, regular home care plan for keeping doggy and kitty grins brighter.