We often hear people say how independent cats are and how they can take good care of themselves without our assistance. But being pet parents, it is already inherent in us to provide the best care possible. After all, we only want the best for our furry pals. Here are 10 essential tips to keep the most important feline in your life happy and healthy.
Give Your Cat High-Quality Wet Cat Food
Good feline health starts with good nutrition. The nutrients in cat food give them the crucial substances to grow and maintain health. When it comes to cat food, don’t settle for low-quality kibbles that are full of non-essential ingredients. Many of these dry cat foods contain fillers like corn, soy, and wheat. These may provide some nutrients, but your cat doesn’t need them. What it needs is high-quality animal proteins and healthier versions of fats.
Your cat will benefit a lot from high-quality wet cat food. These formulations have higher proportions of proteins than carbohydrates. We have to keep in mind that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that you will never see your kitty munching on some salad greens or your healthy fruit salad. Their digestive system cannot take such foods without causing some problems. As such, the very first ingredient listed in the cat food label should always be an identifiable animal protein.
If you give your cat kibbles that are rich in carbohydrates, there is a possibility that your cat can turn obese like Garfield. Add to this the tendency of cats to lead sedentary lives and you’ll come face to face with the issues of feline obesity and diabetes. There is another more important reason why wet cat foods are best. These contain 70 to 80 percent moisture which should already take care of your pet’s hydration needs. Kibbles contain only 10 to 12 percent moisture. And if your kitty is not drinking well, this can lead to kidney problems.
In addition to high-quality, protein-rich cat food, it is also important to give the best vitamins for cats to help balance out the nutrients present in their food. And if you love your kitty so much, you can also give probiotics for your cat. These are live microorganisms that can help improve the health of its digestive system. As we already know, a healthy gut allows for the better absorption of nutrients. The completeness of nutrient absorption can translate to better health for your kitty.
Provide Your Cat with Fresh Water Everyday
Unlike pet dogs, cats do not have a very strong thirst drive. They will not go out and seek a water source to drink. If you look at their large cousins in the wild such as the tigers and leopards, they subsist on their prey. Prey animals contain more than 70 percent moisture or water. This is also the reason why cats will do better with wet cat food since this contains almost the same amount of moisture that is present in prey animals.
If you decide to give your kitty dry cat food, then you must teach it how to drink from a water bowl. You can place catnip in its water bowl. The scent of catnip is enough to stimulate your cat to take a sip. You can also place a few drops of tuna broth into the water or any other natural food flavor. This is to entice your cat to drink.
There is a better solution, however. This is to use a pet drinking fountain. The continuous flow of water can stimulate the curiosity of your cat and make it want to try the drink from the fountain. In its mind, it knows that there’s prey in the water because of the movements or water ripples.
However you want your cat to drink, it is important to give it fresh drinking water every single day.
Groom Your Cat on a Regular Basis
Every cat owner knows how fastidious their pets are. There is never a moment when these creatures are not licking themselves. It’s not that they have a serious issue of self-importance, but it is their way of keeping themselves clean. Cats hate dirty things, so you can always expect them to tidy up. If this is the case, do we still need to groom them?
Of course. Self-grooming can only keep them clean to a certain degree. They will still need your assistance in terms of taking a bath, brushing their feline teeth, and clipping their nails. They will also want you to brush or comb their coat so that they’ll be able to retain its full glory. As such, you will need the best cat-appropriate shampoo to keep their coats healthy and smelling fresh. You will also need an appropriate brush or comb to help prevent tangles and mats. This is if you have a cat that has a very thick coat.
Your cat may not like it at first, but you will also need to brush its teeth. Dental problems occur because we neglect this important aspect of grooming. This can have a negative impact on your cat’s overall health.
If you cannot tend to your cat’s grooming needs, then you should schedule a visit to your pet groomer at least once a month.
Spend Time Playing and Exercising Your Cat
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your cat doesn’t need to exercise or to play. You may see it lying in its nook all day long, but this doesn’t mean it no longer needs some quality playtime. Like all organisms, cats can also benefit from playing with their favorite cat toys. It stimulates their brain while giving them the opportunity to act out their predator instincts. It’s also a good way to strengthen the special bond that you have with your kitty.
Exercise is something that we often do not associate with cat ownership, but our cats do need it. The kind of exercise that they deserve doesn’t have to be like what dogs have or what we perform in the gym. For cats, playing is already a good form of exercise. As long as you choose the right cat toys for them to stretch their legs and move about, they should be fine.
There are also certain breeds of cats that enjoy a good walk at the park. If you can get your cat to walk with you, then this is a good way to exercise.
Place Litter Boxes in Strategic Locations in Your House
Nobody likes to use a dirty and smelly toilet. This is also true for your cat that happens to be one of the animal kingdom’s fussiest creatures. They expect their litter box to be smelling nice and clean and free from their own wastes. If they see it dirty or smell it nasty, they will bring their business somewhere else. And if you have more of an indoor only cat, this “somewhere” can mean anywhere inside your home.
It is for this reason that you need to clean your cat’s litter box every single day. It is also important to use more than one litter box. Place these litter boxes in certain areas of your house, but it should never be anywhere near its food bowl or water bowl. If one litter box is dirty and smelly and you don’t have time to clean it up yet, your cat can bring its business to another litter box.
A clean litter box is essential for keeping your cat healthy. Dried-up urine and feces can harbor many germs that can make your cat sick.
Observe the Proper Placement of Food Bowl, Water Bowl, and Litter Boxes
Have you ever tried having your dinner near your restroom with its door wide open? It is repulsive, we know. This is what your cat will think if you place its food bowl near its litter box. The stench of its litter box will permeate its food, making it less appealing for your cat. If this happens, your cat will lose its appetite and may opt instead to look for food elsewhere.
The same is true with its food bowl in relation to its water bowl or pet drinking fountain. Remember that cats do not think they need to drink because it is already written in their genes that the food they are eating already contains water. If you place its water bowl alongside its food bowl or even near it, then you are not encouraging your pet to drink. It will bypass the water bowl and go straight to its bowl of food.
So, plan where you are going to place these three cat accessories so that they don’t interfere with each other.
Give Your Cat its Own Scratching Post
There are different reasons why cats love to scratch. First, it’s their way to sharpen their claws which can make them more efficient hunters. With their sharp claws, they can climb trees and grab onto their prey with ease. Scratching also helps them mark their own territory so that other cats will know better not to trespass. Scratching is also a good way for cats to stretch their backs and strengthen the muscles of their legs and paws.
The sad thing about cat scratching is that they do it on almost any surface. It can be the legs of your table, your upholstery, or your carpet. Rather than undermining the integrity of these surfaces, it’s best to get an appropriate scratching post for your cat to use. This provides for their needs while also protecting your stuff.
Consider Getting a Pet Carrier When You Travel
Cats are not big fans of travel. They can get nauseous and can present with different problems. Travelling spells stress to cats. There is another reason why cats don’t like moving from one place to another. These are creatures that prefer routines. Cats don’t like change very much.
However, cats need to travel from time to time such as when visiting the vet clinic for a much-needed vaccination or an emergency treatment. In such cases, it would be wise to consider getting a pet carrier so that your cat will feel safe on the road. It is also important to train your cat to like staying in the pet carrier and when traveling. You may want to make its pet carrier as comfy and homey as possible.
Visit the Vet on a Regular Basis
All animals, whether they are pets or livestock, need the skilled hands and expert knowledge of a veterinarian. He is your best resource when it comes to the care of your pet. From immunizations and vaccinations to tick treatments and dental care, your vet can help you provide better care for your pet cat.
You should not wait for your cat to get sick before paying your vet a visit, however. Most of us are guilty of this mindset that the only time we seek medical help is when we are already sick. Remember that it is way better to promote health and prevent the development of diseases than treating the disease. Treating feline diseases and other health problems are costlier than preventing them. They can produce more complications, too.
Neuter or Spay Your Cat
If you are not in the business of breeding cats, it’s best to neuter or spay your kitty. Every year, tens of thousands of cats go homeless because nobody would want to take care of them. Many of these end up in animal shelters only to be put down in the end because no one wants to bring them home.
Spaying or neutering your cat can provide a handful of health benefits, too. It can prevent the transmission of the feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV. It can also prevent the development or occurrence of feline leukemia.
Keeping cats healthy is every cat-owner’s responsibility as a pet parent. Heed these tips so you, too, can ensure the optimum health of your feline friend.