1. Make Yearly Vet Visits a Routine -- Almost twice as many cats than dogs never visit the veterinarian. Preventive care examinations or check-ups for all cats should occur a minimum of once yearly, and more frequently for senior cats and those with chronic conditions. During the physical examination, veterinarians assess your cats current health, and also can often detect conditions that may affect your cat’s health long before they become significant so they can be managed or cured before they become painful or more costly. Cats need routine veterinary check-ups to promote longer, happier, and healthier lives.
2. Don’t Rely on Google — Any time there is a change with your cat, don’t assume the problem is behavioral – there may be a medical explanation. Don’t rely on Google for answers – contact your veterinarian.
3. Check Weight Periodically -- Almost 60% of indoor cats are overweight or obese, which can impact your cat’s quality of life. The addition of just a few pounds can be difficult for owners to detect, yet can have significant health effects and risks. That’s just one reason why a yearly wellness exam with your veterinarian is so important.
4. Create a PAWS-TIVELY Comfy Environment — Addressing your cat’s physical, emotional, and environmental needs enhances their health and quality of life. Cats need specific resources to perform their natural behaviors and have control over their social interactions. As owners, we can enhance our cats’ health and wellbeing by ensuring all their needs are met in the home environment.
5. Get the Scoop — Check the litter box. If there has been any behavioral or physical changes to your cat’s elimination, be sure to see your veterinarian. If your cat is vocalizing, missing the box, jumping in/out fast, or not digging at the litter, these may all be signs of a medical issue or aversion to the litter. Be sure to set your cat up for litter box success.
6. “Brush Up” on Your Cat’s Oral Care -- Did you know that periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent disease in cats three years of age and older? If your cat has painful teeth or gums, tartar, gingivitis, or if you’ve noticed a foul odor coming from your cat’s mouth, their teeth should be professionally cleaned before you begin a home-care routine. Discuss tooth brushing or a home-care routine with your veterinarian.
7. Give Your Cat the Best & Visit a CFP — Commit to giving your cat the very best in feline health care and visit a Cat Friendly Practice (CFP). CFPs have made a commitment to decrease stress associated with the visit and provide a more calming environment. They have taken extra steps to assure they understand a cat’s unique needs and utilize feline-friendly handling in order to increase the quality of care for your cat.
8. It’s Okay to be Picky, But Not TOO Picky — Some cats are particular, but many times there may be a medical explanation for any new erratic eating behaviors (unless the cat has always been this way). The issue could be a gastrointestinal problem, diabetes, or any number of other problems – don’t wait, contact your veterinarian. If your cat has gone without food for 24 hours or more, contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY (a fatty liver disease could result, and hepatic lepadosis can be fatal).
9. Watch For Changes in Sleeping Habits — Vocalizing and/or sleeping when your cat typically wouldn’t (changes such as pacing and “talking” overnight, or sleeping more during the day) combined with general confusion and/or personality changes (previously outgoing cat becomes a “wallflower”) can be signs of a medical issue such as feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome (“Kitty Alzheimer’s”) in an older cat. Contact your veterinarian right away.
10. Take the Stress out of Vet Visits -- 58% of cat owners say their cat hates going to the vet. Make trips to the vet less stressful on you and your kitty by visiting a Cat Friendly Practice. Cat Hospital of Portland has gone through the rigorous CFP guidelines to ensure we create a more calming environment for cats. Stress associated with vet visits starts at home. Don’t forget to acclimate your cat to its carrier by making it a familiar place.