What's the best way to keep my cat healthy? What kind of maintenance care does she need?
Visit the veterinarian regularly.
All kittens should go through examinations, deworming, multiple vaccinations, and neutering. After these are completed, your trips to the veterinarian will be much less frequent. Most healthy adult cats need to visit the veterinarian only once a year.
Vaccinations are continued throughout a cat's life. Most vaccinations are given once a year, although a rabies shot may be given as little as every three years based on the laws in your region. Outdoor cats are at a higher risk of contracting a fatal feline virus, and so require more vaccinations than those that stay indoors. We recommend that you keep your cat inside.
It is a good idea to have a sample of your cat's feces evaluated for parasites at least every one to two years. Outdoor cats are at increased risk of being exposed to parasites and should probably have this test done twice a year.
Heartworm medication is recommended to prevent heartworm infections in indoor and outdoor cats. Since mosquitoes can get inside the house, indoor cats are at risk of heartworm infection. This flavored medication is given once a month and is available from your veterinarian.
Monitor your cat's skin and haircoat for any signs of parasites or hair loss. Fleas and ticks not only are nuisances for cats that go outside, but also may cause diseases in your pet. Contact your veterinarian for safe and effective treatment and prevention products.
Routine brushing significantly reduces the incidence of hairballs and provides bonding time between you and your cat. This is especially important for heavy shedders, longhaired cats, and geriatric animals that may have trouble grooming themselves. A hairball remedy or treat may be used to help ingested fur move through the digestive tract and reduce the number of hairballs your cat vomits.
Maintain that perfect pedicure. Cats should have their toenails trimmed periodically to keep them from damaging your house, furniture, and skin. If this practice is started at a young age, the cat will tolerate it more easily throughout its life. Have an experienced person help you the first few times that you attempt to trim your cat's toenails.
Feel like brushing your cat's teeth? Some cats will tolerate brushing if it is started gradually and made a pleasant experience. Veterinary toothpaste must be used to prevent stomach upset. Most of these toothpastes are available in a chicken or tuna flavor that cats find appealing. Consult your veterinarian about brushing techniques and supplies.
Feed your cat a good quality adult maintenance cat food. It is not necessary to feed canned or semi-soft food or to provide a variety of food types, as feeding variation can lead to the creation of a finicky eater, not to mention stomach upset or diarrhea from abrupt changes in the diet. Dry kibble may help keep your cat's teeth and gums in better condition.
Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water daily. Some cats do not like to drink standing water. Drinking fountains, which have become widely available, may be a better idea for these felines.
Scoop the cat litter daily. Most cats are very picky about bathroom facilities, including the brand of litter that you use. Once you find a brand that you both find acceptable, stick with it for the long haul. This will cut down on the possibility of "mistakes" that you could find around the house.
Finally, be sure to give your cat plenty of tender loving attention and play time. Playing games will help keep that indoor cat from becoming overweight. Plus, those fun times together are what build a strong bond between pet and owner.