(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
With new pets joining families across the country and National Cat Health Month now here, it is the perfect time for pet parents to focus on their cats’ well-being. PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert, Jennifer Freeman, DVM, shares tips to help your kitty live a happy, healthy life.
#1: Preventative Care
Nearly two in three cats are overweight. Help your cat maintain a healthy weight by feeding them high-quality food in appropriate portions. Consult with a vet to help develop a comprehensive weight management plan for your cat. Feeding them healthy treats such as Authority Weight Management Cat Treats can help them achieve and maintain an ideal weight.
Freeman suggests one to two annual vet visits to help keep your cat healthy. During these visits, be sure to discuss preventative care treatments such as parasite control, vaccinations and baseline bloodwork to help catch diseases early or prevent them altogether.
Cats are prone to a common disease called Chronic Kidney Disease, which is the progressive loss of kidney function over time and is most common in older cats. Bringing your cat to the vet for regular check-ups and baseline bloodwork can help catch kidney disease early on and better the chances of finding and treating an underlying cause or slowing progression. “Always provide access to fresh water and seek veterinary care if you notice increased thirst and urination in your cat,” said Freeman.
Actually getting your cat to the vet in the first place can be a challenge of its own, as carriers and car travel can be stressful for cats. Freeman suggests developing low-stress ways of acquainting your cat with their carrier so that a trip to the vet isn’t terrible for all parties involved. “Acquainting your cat with their carrier days to weeks prior to a vet visit by having it out in the open with treats and encouragement helps to ensure that your cat won’t run away and hide the day of your appointment,” said Freeman. Comfortable carriers like the Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier can help cats feel safe during car rides.
Cats depend on us for enrichment, including attention, affection and interactive play. “Playtime with humans can be the most effective way to enhance your cat’s environment,” said Freeman. “Playing with your feline friend helps them live out those predator instincts and is great exercise.” Try toys like the Whisker City Laser Cat Toy to help satisfy your cat’s natural instincts for hunting, chasing and realistic play.
Cats love to climb and hang out in high places. Consider providing a cat tree or other safe vertical climbing structure for them to enjoy with a window for outdoor viewing if possible. The Whisker City Cozy Inn Cat Tower provides multiple levels and comfortable places for cats to perch.
Keep your cat looking stylish yet safe with the Whisker City Breakaway Glitter Cat Collarand an identification tag that will help get your cat back home if they get lost. Microchipping also increases the chance of being reunited with your cat if they stray too far from home.
For more feline health tips and products, visit www.petsmart.com or talk to a PetSmart associate.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)