We’re big kitty fans in this house; we’ve always had cats around, I grew up with cats and I love the fact that all our family cats are good with Roo and she pretty much respects their boundaries. I’ve partnered up with Iams to feature some pet care and health blogs to help those who may be thinking of getting a cat find out more and also for those other crazy cat owners to help them keep their kitty in tip top shape.
The Daily Cat: Health Care
6 Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy in 2012
By Elijah Merrill for The Daily Cat
Countless people resolve to improve their health by losing weight, exercising and more. The vast majority breaks those promises and ends up disappointed.
So rather than subject yourself to more self-defeat, why not resolve to improve the health of your cat instead?
Below are a handful of both timely and timeless ideas to choose from.
- Assess your choice of cat food. As your cat ages, its nutritional needs will change. “Ageing brings with it physiological changes. Some are obvious; others are not”, says Dr Amy Dicke, a technical services vet for Iams. “Skin and hair coat changes may be obvious, whilst lean muscle mass loss and digestive or immune system failure may be less evident or hidden.” The science behind today’s cat food has become specific enough that there are different blends for almost any situation. Talk to your vet about whether or not your cat is due for a change.
- Upgrade your cat’s ID tag. The classic heart-shaped metal collar charm may help your cat get returned if it wanders away, but technology allows for so much more. Dr Patricia Joyce of New York City Veterinary Specialists says, if possible, to use a GPS tracker that allows you to find your cat wherever it is. Another option is a QR code tag, like those offered by PetQRTag. The tags are the same size as a regular ID tag but are not as restricted by space. They point a person to a Web page that can hold as much information as you’d like to give, from contact info to special medical issues your cat has. As your cat ages and your contact information changes, the tag never needs to be replaced.
- Hop on the social media bandwagon. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can help you diagnose and work through potential health problems. One that immediately stands out is PetPop.com, where pet owners create profiles and link up. In the PetPop Healthy section, a panel of veterinary experts fields questions from site members and provides advice.
- Enrich your cat’s environment. Scientific evidence continues to show that when a cat is stressed, it can fall ill. The good news is that the same scientific data has now shown that an enriched environment can help prevent illness. “Happy cats are healthy cats, and their environment plays a role in that”, says Dr Tony Buffington, a professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State University. “There’s now good evidence for this.”
- Don’t ignore dental health. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, periodontal disease is the most diagnosed problem in cats. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. “Dental disease is one of the most preventable conditions in veterinary medicine”, says Dr Katy Johnson Nelson, a vet in Arlington, Virginia, USA, who is a member of the Iams Pet Wellness Council. Schedule an appointment with your cat’s doctor for a teeth cleaning and start doing some brushing on your own as well.
- Get pet health insurance. Sometimes even the best prevention can’t stop disease or an accident, and vet bills can add up quickly. It can put pet owners in the most difficult of positions: You either set yourself up for extreme financial hardship or consent to putting your cat down. Health insurance allows an alternative. Thanks to more modest monthly premium payments, decisions to undergo costly procedures are easier to make.
Whether you opt for the tried-and-tested or the timely and trendy, following through with just a few of these tips can make a world of difference.
Elijah Merrill is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of publications.