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Cat Care 101: Taking Great Care of Fluffy

January 15, 2024

Many people say that the easiest pet to keep is a cat. There is definitely some truth to this! You won’t have to walk or train Fluffy, and she’ll take care of her own grooming needs. Many kitties also spend a ridiculous amount of time sleeping, which also makes them easy keepers. However, keeping your feline pal happy and healthy doesn’t only mean providing her with fresh water and kibble. In this article, a local Canal Winchester, OH vet provides some tips on being a great cat owner.

Keep Your Cat Safe By Petproofing

Cats don’t actually have nine lives, but it’s not too hard to see where this misconception came from. Man’s Second Best Friend certainly does have a knack for getting into—and sometimes narrowly escaping—mischief.

The most important thing you can do to keep Fluffy safe, aside from grounding her, is to keep up with petproofing. This entails removing or securing anything that isn’t safe for her. That list includes anything small or sharp, such as beads, buttons, safety pins, jewelry, and small toy parts; plastic bags and ties; anything ropy or stringy; and toxic plants. 

Chemicals and medications are another big concern. Poisonings are one of the biggest reasons for emergency visits, and, sadly, are one of the main causes of death for household pets.

Here are some of the things that are toxic to cats:

  • Detergents
  • Automotive products
  • Fertilizer
  • Cleaning agents
  • Paint
  • Drain openers
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Bug Spray
  • Medicines, whether prescription or OTC

Keep in mind that cats only need to walk through a puddle of chemical, such as a drain cleaner, or get a little spilled on their fur to be in trouble!

Keep Your Feline Buddy Safe And Sound Inside

Cats are bold and adventurous, and they love exploring their domains and terrorizing local mice. However, you’ll need to restrict your furry little adventurer’s explorations. 

As soon as Fluffy sets her cute paw outside, she’s exposed to a wide range of hazards. These include cars, stray cats, predators, weather, chemicals, parasites, and, unfortunately, some people. 

There’s also the fact that cats are, well, adorable little serial killers. Fluffy has been proven guilty of killing many types of animals, including several threatened species. Grounding your pet will not only protect her, it will also help protect local wildlife.

Make Your Place Cat-Friendly

Our furry pals are quite versatile when it comes to living quarters: they can be equally happy in a small bedroom or a huge mansion. However, no matter how big your home is, you’ll want to take a few steps to make it cat-friendly.

Start by adding some cat furniture. A good scratching post or board is a must! Fluffy will also appreciate a cat tower: this will provide not only a scratching post, but also a lookout point and jungle gym.

Fluffy will also appreciate having different vantage points and things to explore. A comfy window seat can keep your cat occupied for hours. Birdwatching is one of Fluffy’s favorite activities! If you want to go all-out, make your pet a catio or even an enclosure.

Make Your Cat Feel Loved

We may poke fun of kitties for being cold, but they are actually very emotional, and get extremely attached to their humans. It’s important for Fluffy to feel loved and safe. Spend time with your furry friend every day, and just pay attention to her. Many kitties are lap cats, who love curling up on their humans as we are reading or watching TV. 

Even just talking to your feline pal can get that motor going. Some cats will talk back, while others will just listen. The point is that your feline pal will know that you are trying to communicate with her. That will definitely help with bonding. 

Provide Entertainment Options

While Fluffy may spend a ridiculous amount of time sleeping, she can’t snooze all day. She’ll need something to occupy herself with, aside from planning world domination. 

Provide your kitty with a variety of toys, and play with her for at least a few minutes every day.

Our feline buddies are hunters by nature, so they often mimic the hunting behaviors and skills that would help them score dinner in the wild. There is a bonus here for you: Fluffy is always cute, pouncing on and chasing after things!

Kitties have a variety of tastes, so keep that in mind when choosing toys. There are some who like wand toys, some who like catnip mice, some who like to chase that little red dot from a laser pointer. Try different things, and see what Fluffy likes. Offer a variety if you have multiple pets: you may find that your cats all have unique preferences.

Keep Your Cat’s Veterinary Care Up-to-Date

Cats may think they are invincible, but these little furballs are quite tiny and fragile. Proper veterinary care can go a long way towards keeping your pet healthy. 

We recommend that all cats be fixed, microchipped, and kept current on exams and wellness care. Ideally, Fluffy should be microchipped and spayed or neutered while still young, but the procedures can also be performed on adult cats.

Wellness care can protect Fluffy from a variety of dangerous parasites and diseases. Rabies, cat calicivirus, feline herpesvirus, feline panleukopenia, feline leukemia, and feline herpesvirus are the core vaccines every kitty needs. Additionally, your Canal Winchester, OH vet may recommend non-core vaccines such as Chlamydia felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines.

You’ll also need to keep on top of parasite control. It is critical to do this even with indoor cats: parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can and do get inside. There are many products to choose from these days, so talk to your Canal Winchester, OH vet about the best option.

Additionally, you’ll need to watch for signs of illness. Cats can be tricky here, as they tend to hide signs of sickness until their illnesses become quite severe. 

Watch out for these things in particular:

  • Litterbox Avoidance
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Discharge
  • Grumpiness
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Poor Grooming
  • Withdrawal
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior Or Vocalizations

If you notice anything amiss, contact your Canal Winchester, OH vet immediately. The sooner an issue is diagnosed and treated, the better.

Offer Your Cat Good Food

Proper nutrition is key to Fluffy’s health and well-being.  Feeding Fluffy isn’t rocket science, but there are a few things to consider. Your cat’s dietary needs should be based on her age, health, and lifestyle. You will need to decide whether to feed your cat wet food or kibble, and whether to free-feed her or schedule her meals for specific times. 

Picking the right brand may be the trickiest part. Companies have got advertising gimmicks down to a science, so many manufacturers employ slick tactics to help their products look like the best. Get into the habit of reading labels. 

One thing that is helpful to know is the fact that, as with human products, pet food manufacturers must label their products in certain ways. The ingredient that is listed first is the main ingredient, proportionally. Meat, fish, or poultry should be listed first on the label, and more often than other ingredients. Avoid brands with long ingredients lists that read like science projects. 

Always go slowly when changing brands. Otherwise, you could upset that furry belly.

Fresh water is also a must. You may want to get your pet a drinking fountain: many cats prefer to drink running water.

Do you have questions about cat care? Contact us, your Canal Winchester, OH pet hospital, anytime!