5 Cat Wellness Tips in Honor of Pet Wellness Month

October is pet wellness month and, because we know that you want your fur babies in your life for as long as possible, we’d like to help you put your pets on the path to wellness. We’re taking the opportunity in this blog post to talk about the many ways you can help improve your cat's wellness. From vaccinations and bloodwork to regular exams to watching for symptoms of illness, there are many things you can do to ensure your cat is as healthy as possible. Because cats can be stoic, not showing signs of pain until they are quite sick, this effort is all the more important. Read on for five tips for better cat wellness—your favorite furry feline will thank you.


1. Partake in Regular Cat Wellness Exams

Kitties should get  regular exams, starting young!It’s all too easy to forego regular wellness exams because, as we mentioned above, cats are very stoic and, thus, often appear healthy even when they could very well be hiding pain or illness. We recommend annual or biannual exams (depending on age) to ensure that your kitty is healthy from nose to tail. We examine their teeth, their eyes, their ears, musculoskeletal system, neurologic system, feel their abdomen, make sure we're not seeing any abnormal lumps or bumps on the body, and check their skin and under their tail. So it's a full physical exam plus a discussion with you about their diet, behavior at home, and more to make sure your kitty is doing well.

During the physical exam, we look for any abnormalities that may have gone undetected. For example, we get our otoscope, a device that we use to look in the ear, to check for any early ear infections. We listen to the heart and lungs for any underlying heart murmurs or lung disease. Sometimes cats are good at hiding things, and they're hard to find. So using some of these specific techniques - and more, we can detect things your cat has no visible symptoms of yet. Remember: if we catch something early (before it's causing visible symptoms), it's often easier to treat.


2. Watch For Signs and Symptoms That Your Cat Might Not Be Feeling Well

While cats are very good at hiding their pain, there are some signs they may not be feeling their best. For example, if they’re hiding somewhere where they don't normally go or aren't grooming themselves, they're not feeling well. Also, cats don’t pant. Any cat that begins to pant needs to be taken to the vet immediately.

Other common signs of a cat not being well are:

  • Not eating as much
  • Not eating at all
  • Drinking more or less water than normal
  • Change in litter box habits


3. Early Detection of Health Issues in Cats is Crucial

Early detection goes hand in hand with #2, as you want to watch for signs and symptoms that a cat isn’t well, and then give your fur baby prompt attention. Early detection is so important because, if you find the issue early, you potentially can get ahead of it. So early detection is really the mainstay of cat longevity and wellness. And don't trust your cat's wellness to Dr. Google! If you suspect your cat is in pain or showing signs that things may not be well, call your veterinarian.


4. An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cat Cures

Vaccinations are importantThere are many facets to a complete regimen of cat preventive care, and the first and most important are cat vaccinations. These are an essential component of cat care. Vaccinations include a series of immunizations given to your cat when they're a kitten, and then boostered periodically over the cat’s lifetime. The reason vaccinations are so important is that they help to prevent potentially fatal diseases that cats can catch. While some vaccinations are required for all cats (i.e., the rabies vaccine), others are based on the cat’s lifestyle so consult your veterinarian to determine the best vaccinations to get your kitty on the path to wellness.

Cat dentistry is another crucial part of cat preventive care and, sadly, its significance is often overlooked. The harsh truth is that, by the time cats are 3-4 years old, they will have developed a gingival disease or other dental diseases that require veterinary care. A proper exam will include dental X-rays and anesthesia before a thorough cleaning but, of course, regular brushing at home will go a long way in making this a more pleasant experience for your cat.

Dental x-rays are done to reveal the source of any pain in your cat, which can be caused by the following:

  • Tooth Loss
  • Mouth Sores and Ulcers
  • Gingivitis
  • Malocclusion
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Gum Disease


Flea and tick prevention is another hallmark of preventive care for cats. Fleas can infest your home and cause severe irritation of your cat’s skin. Ticks are even more dangerous, as the diseases they transmit can be fatal. And unlike what you might assume, both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk for these parasites no matter where you live. Your veterinarian likely has a product or two they favor in this regard, so check with them to keep your cat from these easily preventable parasites.


5. Cat Nutrition is an Essential Component in a Good Cat Wellness Program

Good nutrition is importantOpinions on cat nutrition tend to vary, but there is one thing everyone can agree on—low-quality food and cat treats that are high in carbs and fats are bad for your cat’s health. Feline obesity is quite common, so developing and sticking to a good nutritional plan from the time they’re a kitten through their senior years is essential to good health. Most vets will recommend high-quality canned food that’s well balanced but a small amount of kibble is usually okay and can be good for your cat’s teeth. Free feeding is generally frowned upon because cats don’t have a lot of restraint in this regard and will eat until they get sick.


Pet wellness month is a good time to ask yourself whether your cat is up to date on vaccinations, is eating well, getting good dental care, and more. If you’re overdue for a cat wellness visit, please call us today!


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