10 Tips for Happy, Healthy Cats
September is Happy Healthy Cat Month! This national month of recognition was established by a nonprofit called CATalyst Council, an organization created to help forge a better future for cats everywhere. Their primary goal is to enable the lifelong health and welfare of companion cats, and that’s a mission we can really get behind. So in honor of Happy Healthy Cat Month, we’ve rounded up 10 tips for happy, healthy cats that all cat parents should bear in mind when caring for their feline friends.
1– High Quality Cat Food
Happy healthy cats start with good nutrition. It’s important that you don’t settle for low-quality kibble full of non-essential filler ingredients like corn, soy, and wheat. What your cat needs are high-quality animal proteins and healthy fats. We suggest a high-quality wet food with higher proportions of proteins than carbohydrates. If you’re not sure what food would be best for your furry friend, chat with our Longwood Veterinary staff at your next visit.
2– Fresh Water Daily
Unlike dogs, cats will not go out and seek a water source. This is another reason why wet food is a great choice for these pets, since it contains a lot of moisture. If you do decide to feed your cat dry food, you’ll also need to teach it to drink from a water bowl. You can encourage this by putting catnip in the water bowl, or better yet, get your cat a pet drinking fountain. The continuous movement and flow of water can pique your cat’s interest, encouraging hydration.
3– Prioritize Play
Don’t think your cat doesn’t need exercise or playtime, because that would be remiss. Like all living things, cats benefit not only from physical activity, but also from play. Playing stimulates the brain, and gives cats an opportunity to act on their natural predator instincts. Playtime with your cat is also a great way to strengthen your bond.
4– Grooming Matters
You may think you don’t need to brush your cat because they are devoted self groomers, but this is a misconception. Self grooming only keeps your cat clean to a certain degree. This is especially true in medium or long haired cats where daily brushing is needed to keep their hair from matting.
5– Litter Box Maintenance
Cats are particular creatures, and they require that their litter box is clean and free from waste in order to readily use it. If the litter box is nasty and smelly, it’s likely that your cat will find somewhere else to “go.” For this reason, it’s important to clean your cat’s litter box everyday, and it’s a great idea to have more than one. If one litter box hasn’t been cleaned yet, your cat can go to the other one. In addition to keeping your cat happy, cleaning the litter box is imperative for health reasons too. Dried urine and feces can harbor germs that can ultimately make your cat ill.
6– Food, Water, and Litter Box Placement
Another important piece of keeping your cat happy and healthy is being strategic about where the food and water bowls are placed, as well as the litter boxes. It goes without saying that no creature wants to eat near where they use the bathroom, so make sure the litter box is nowhere near the food bowl. Similarly, place your cat’s water bowl or fountain away from the food bowl. Placing them together will not help encourage your cat to drink.
7– Scratching Post
Cats love to scratch. First of all, it’s their way of sharpening their claws, but also how they mark their territory so that other cats know not to encroach. The act of scratching is also a great way for cats to stretch and strengthen the muscles in their legs and paws. Providing your cat with a designated scratching post can also help protect your things– furniture, upholstery, etc.– from their busy claws.
8– Invest in a Pet Carrier
Cats generally detest travel. Oftentimes, riding in the car can be stressful for them, and even give them nausea. That said, your cat will have to travel from time to time, even if it’s just to and from the vet office for care. Investing in a pet carrier can help create a sense of security and comfort for your cat to minimize the stresses associated with transport.
9– Spay or Neuter
If you’re not planning to intentionally breed, it’s important to spay or neuter your cat. Each year, thousands and thousands of cats end up homeless with no one to care for them. It’s important that responsible pet owners don’t add to this problem. Spaying or neutering can also provide some health benefits. Intact animals are more likely to roam, risking being hit by cars, attacked by wild animals, or fighting with other cats. If you need to have your cat spayed or neutered, our team at Longwood can help. If you want five solid reasons to spay or neuter your pet, check out our blog.
10– See Your Vet Regularly
All animals need veterinary care. Your veterinarian is your best resource when it comes to keeping your cat healthy and happy, so don’t sleep on that! Vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, and annual check ups are an important part of pet ownership, and our team at Longwood wants to work closely with you to ensure your cat has the best life.
Our team at Longwood Veterinary Center hopes you and your furry friends have the best Happy Healthy Cat Month, and that these tips help inspire you to provide the best possible care for your cat pals. Healthy cats are happy cats!