Cats need little more than a sun-soaked windowsill for lounging and a bottomless food dish, right? While they may try to convince you that’s all they need to avoid preventive care, routine wellness care is as important for cats as for dogs—including indoor-only kitties. Help your cat stay in the best of health for years to come with regular wellness care, whose main components include:
- Preventive care
- Diet and exercise
- Environmental enrichment
- Dental care
- Regular grooming
The care your cat requires depends on her age, health, breed, fur length, and lifestyle. Some aspects of feline wellness, such as extra grooming sessions for long-haired cats to prevent hairballs, may be more critical for health maintenance. But, regardless of your cat’s physical characteristics, preventive care is most important to keep her healthy.
How preventive care keeps your cat healthy
Preventive care covers many areas of your cat’s health. Our veterinary team provides preventive care through routine wellness visits, tailoring a health-care plan for each pet. During your cat’s wellness visit, we will discuss what your cat needs to keep her healthy and happy. Preventive care includes:
- Vaccinations — Core feline vaccinations consist of rabies, feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Feline leukemia vaccination is highly recommended, even if your cat doesn’t venture outdoors or come in contact with other cats.
- Fecal exams and deworming — Regardless of whether your cat lives indoors or outdoors, routine fecal exams and deworming are necessary to prevent parasite infections. Tapeworms are easily transmitted through fleas, while roundworm eggs can be carried in your shoes.
- Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention — Indoor-only pets are not safe from the diseases carried by mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. All these parasites are capable of slipping in through holes in window screens or opened doors, or by hitching a ride on your pant leg. Winter is not a fail-safe method for parasite control, either. Insects can easily weather cold temperatures inside your home, or can become active as soon as outdoor temperatures rise above freezing. Year-round parasite prevention is a must for all pets as part of their general health care.
- Baseline blood work — As in human medicine, our team recommends annual baseline blood work to check organ and bone marrow function. This not only allows us to catch a disease process in its early stages, but also helps us monitor your pet’s normal values and look for trends. A change in your pet’s normal levels can indicate a potential illness, and with appropriate intervention, we can avoid future problems.
- Urinalysis — Cats are prone to kidney disease, diabetes, and urinary tract infections. A routine urinalysis tests the kidneys’ ability to concentrate urine, checks for sugar, and looks for infection signs. While collecting your cat’s urine sample isn’t as simple as collecting a canine urine sample, it’s well worth the hassle.
Preventive medicine is the best way to keep your cat happy and healthy. As cats are excellent at hiding weaknesses, routine checkups can pick up signs of illness before it becomes a problem and treatment is more difficult.
How diet and exercise keep your cat healthy
Cats are tipping the scales to new heights—about 60% of cats in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese. At your pet’s wellness visit, our team will determine her body condition score. Based on the amount of muscle and fat for your cat’s body build, we will categorize her as thin, ideal, or overweight. Then, to help her reach or maintain her ideal body weight, we will create a diet and exercise plan that will be tailored especially for her to keep her sleek and muscular.
Your cat may require a different form of food, feeding schedule, or a prescription diet. Some cats need a urinary health food, others benefit from an easy-to-digest diet, while others need a mobility-boosting food. Once we have outlined your feline friend’s proper diet, we will incorporate an exercise plan with engaging environmental enrichment.
How environmental enrichment keeps your cat healthy
House cats easily become bored, which leads to overeating, excessive grooming, and stress. Eliminate the issue by providing an assortment of feline-friendly environmental enrichment items, such as:
- Puzzle feeders
- Climbing towers
- Scratching posts
- High perches
- Wall shelving
- Interactive toys
Any toy, game, or structure that makes your cat participate in exercise is ideal, whether it’s batting a crumpled paper ball or leaping up her tower to a lookout post.
How regular grooming keeps your cat healthy
Cats are sleek, prissy pets who never have a speck of dirt on them, right? While some cats are excellent groomers, other kitties need a helping hand. Regardless of your cat’s grooming ability, she will need brushing sessions to remove her dead hair and prevent hairballs. During grooming sessions, also check your cat’s ears and clean out any debris.
Cats aren’t keen on daily toothbrushing, but they can be trained to enjoy the special treat (i.e., the flavored toothpaste) paired with routine dental care. Take the time to care for your cat’s teeth during her grooming sessions to prevent periodontal disease. As with all other aspects of general feline wellness care, preventive care provides the best option for a happy, healthy cat.
Time for a checkup? Schedule your feline friend’s preventive care visit to keep her at the top of her game.