Preventive Cat Health Care
Good preventive care begins with careful attention to the basics:
A healthy, complete and balanced diet that provides proper levels of energy and nutrients is the foundation for well-being and disease prevention. Your cat needs a protein-rich food with the highest quality amino acids, such as those found in most premium pet foods.
Your pet also needs "life cycle feeding," which means a different diet depending on your cat's age. For example, a kitten needs a diet rich in calories and minerals for a more active lifestyle and for healthy, growing bones and muscles. Whereas an older cat needs a diet with the appropriate calories for healthy body weight and nutrients to promote healthy aging.
Work with your veterinarian to make a lifetime of good decisions about nutrition for your pets.
Vaccination protects your cat from many viral diseases, including feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection and herpes virus infection. These organisms cause a wide range of disease symptoms, from sneezing to death.
Just like a child, your cat needs to be protected at an early age and given boosters as an adult. Vaccinations are one of mankind's greatest medical achievements and can extend and enhance lives–so why take the chance?
Many kittens are born with worms, which attach to the intestinal lining and can cause painful diarrhea or life-threatening conditions. Intestinal worms stunt your cat's growth and energy level by competing with your pet for nutrients, and some types of worms can be transmitted to humans.
A veterinary hospital uses a microscope to check for worm eggs in your cat's stool sample. The veterinarian recommends deworming medication at the appropriate time for your pet. In fact, all kittens are routinely dewormed to treat intestinal worm infections.
Giardia is a microscopic parasite that can cause serious intestinal inflammation. If infected, pets may exhibit diarrhea, weight loss, depression, decreased appetite or vomiting. Left untreated, the infection may cause your pet to become increasingly debilitated and susceptible to other infections. There may also a risk that giardia is transmittable between pets and humans, making you subject to the same health threats as your pets.
A veterinarian also helps you with the pests that assault your pet from the outside, like fleas, ticks, lice and mites.
Spaying and Neutering
As your pet's voice and keeper, you will make many important preventive care decisions, one of which is whether to spay or neuter your cat. Scheduling this important surgery early in your pet's life helps prevent many future problems, among them uterine infections, cat fights, roaming, spraying and overpopulation.
Spays (which are technically known as ovariohysterectomies) and neuters are routine and generally safe, but they are major surgeries that require general anesthesia and an all-day stay.
Spays and neuters are usually performed when the pet is 4 to 6 months old.
To help you make the right decisions for your pet, ask your pet's veterinarian to discuss all surgical options with you.
Think about the regular care we receive throughout our life-time from pediatricians, dentists, physicians, allergists, ophthalmologists, and so on. Why settle for anything less for your pet? Now think about the fact that pets age an average of seven years for every one of ours–and it's clear why regular care is so critical.
Make appointments for health check-ups twice a year for your cat. These professional evaluations will help you make sure you're on track with your cat's healthcare. Keeping your pet up-to-date on all aspects of healthcare gives your cat the best chance for a long, happy life.