Keeping a cat as a pet is a very rewarding experience. Cats can provide comfort, companionship, even entertainment. However, when something goes wrong and your feline friend is not feeling well, the results can be devastating. Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to help keep your cat healthy and happy.
Keeping your cat up-to-date on the necessary vaccinations will go a long way toward keeping your cat healthy and happy. Vaccinations (“shots”) can help keep your cat from getting many of the serious diseases which can make your cat sick, or even perhaps threaten your cat’s life. Your cat’s individual lifestyle and situation will determine which vaccinations your cat needs to have and how often these vaccines need to be given. Your cat’s veterinarian can help you determine what is right for your cat. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your cat does not need vaccinations if your cat lives indoors and never goes outside. This is simply not true, and there are diseases which your cat may be at risk for even if he/she never ventures outside. Nothing is more frustrating than watching your cat suffer through an illness that could easily have been prevented. If you do not know which vaccinations your cat needs, or whether your cat is up-to-date on these vaccines, please contact your veterinarian right now to find out.
Your cat also needs to be tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (also called feline AIDS). These viruses are common and are passed from one cat to another. maine coon cats for sale The viruses can be passed to kittens from their mother as well. A positive test for either of these viruses indicates that your cat has been exposed to that particular virus. If your cat is positive, his/her immune system may be compromised and your cat needs to observed even more closely. Veterinary care should be sought at the first sign of even mild disease symptoms. A positive test also indicates that your cat could potentially spread the disease to other cats, so your cat should be isolated from other cats if he/she is positive for either feline leukemia or feline AIDS.
Fleas and ticks can not only make your cat very itchy and uncomfortable, they can also carry disease which can cause serious illness for your cat. In addition to causing problems for your cat, fleas and ticks can also attack people, and can spread disease to us as well. You should make a habit of checking your cat’s coat regularly for fleas and ticks and act immediately if you find evidence of these creatures on your cat. Fortunately, with the products we have available today, controlling or, better yet, preventing fleas and ticks is very simple. There are many products available that are safe, effective, and simple to use. Often, monthly application is all that is needed. Even cats which live indoors can get fleas. Fleas are small enough to sneak inside very easily. Preventing fleas and ticks will help keep your cat comfortable and healthy.
Preventing intestinal parasites, commonly called “worms”, is also important in keeping your cat healthy. Finding out whether your cat has worms is as easy as collecting a sample from your cat’s litter box and taking it to your cat’s veterinarian for testing. You should do this regularly. If you see worms in your cat’s feces, you should collect the worm, along with the feces, and take it to your cat’s veterinarian. However, you should not assume that your cat does not have worms because you are not seeing them yourself. Your veterinarian will use special laboratory techniques to check for worm eggs which you cannot see.
Spaying or neutering your cat is another simple way to help keep your cat healthy. Spaying your female cat not only keeps your cat from coming into “heat” and becoming pregnant, but spaying also provides many health benefits for your cat. Spayed cats do not develop the serious, life-threatening uterine infections which are fairly common in cats which are not spayed. And spaying your cat at a young age will also dramatically lower the chances of breast cancer occurring later in life.
For male cats, neutering helps prevent unwanted litters of kittens. However, it also makes living with your male cat more pleasant. The odor of your cat’s urine will be more tolerable if neutered, and he is not as likely to “spray” (urinate) inside of your house. He is also more likely to stay at home and less likely to get into cat fights if neutered. Neutering (or spaying) your cat will only improve your cats personality.
Regular physical examinations by your cat’s veterinarian are also mandatory to help keep your cat healthy. Often, a thorough physical examination will find evidence of a health problem while the problem is still in the early stages. Many illnesses are more easily treated when detected early, and treatment is often more successful as well. Finding and treating health problems early can save your cat a great deal of suffering and even extend your cat’s life by many years.