Mental and Physical Development
Maintaining Health in the Adult Cat As your kitten matures into an adult cat, you may notice that she is becoming very independent, requiring little of your time outside of the regular feeding and watering routine. She may desire less attention from you and prefer to be alone, and happily so, for the majority of the day.
During this mostly self-sufficient transformation, there are still actions you can take to help ensure that your young cat lives a long, healthy and happy life. The following checklist can be used as a guide:
1. Remember to schedule annual veterinary examinations for your cat so that any problems can be caught early and treated more easily.
2. Keep your cat current on all vaccines.
3. Follow the feeding guidelines that are printed on the food bag and monitor your cat for weight gain or weight loss. Make adjustments to feeding amounts based on your cat's current condition.
4. Talk to your veterinarian about parasite preventatives, especially for outdoor cats.
5. Develop a dental care routine for your cat.
6. Make note of any unusual behavior from your cat, as it is likely to be a symptom of an underlying problem.
Young Cat Food Requirements Cats have very specific nutrition requirements, and young cats may easily develop nutritional deficiencies if they are not fed the proper diet. Cats are strict carnivores, and they cannot get the nutrition they need from vegetarian diets.
To ensure that your young cat is eating the right type of food, it is best to feed her a high-quality premium adult cat food diet. A diet of only canned, soft cat food will lead to poor dental health; it's also difficult for a young cat to get all of her nutritional needs from this type of diet, due to the high water content. It is best to feed your cat a diet of hard, dry cat food and use canned food as an added treat.
Health and Veterinary Care: Poison Control
Young cats at one-and-a-half years of age are still exploring and learning about their environment, which can mean trouble if their home has not been "kitten-proofed" against poisons. The most common cases of poisoning in young cats occur due to ingestion of antifreeze, rodenticides and toxic plants. Pet owners may also accidentally poison their pet if they apply the wrong type of topical flea treatment on their young cat.
If you believe that your young cat has been poisoned - even if she is not yet showing any symptoms -- call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 (a fee is required to use the service), or take your cat immediately to a veterinarian. Do not wait for symptoms to develop, as it can take many hours or days for some poisoning symptoms to appear -- and by then extensive damage to your cat's health may have occurred.
If your cat is showing symptoms of poisoning, immediately take your cat to the nearest veterinarian or emergency clinic.
Training: Is It Safe to Leash-Train My Cat?
As they grow older, young cats want to explore the outside world, but you know it can be dangerous. How to compromise? You can safely leash train your cat by following a few precautions.
First, your young cat should always wear a visible ID and be up-to-date on vaccinations. Never attach a leash to your young cat's collar; instead, choose a suitable feline harness or walking jacket that fits well. Next, take time at home to accustom your young cat to her new gear to ensure she feels secure and relaxed.
Begin training indoors with short, stress-free sessions followed by small treats. Don't leave your cat alone on a leash, and avoid negative reinforcement like tugging. When ready, choose a quiet setting (no busy streets) and walk for a brief time; unlike walking a dog, let your cat set the pace. If she seems to enjoy herself, you are on your way.
Patience is key to leash-training your cat. Put safety first and you will both enjoy sharing outdoor adventures.