Here are some helpful tips for keeping your kitty companion feeling safe, healthy, and months or years younger than he or she actually is!
Regular Vet Visits
Why: Many symptoms of feline health conditions are subtle, and cats often don’t show obvious signs of illness or pain. Regular physicals allow your veterinarian to detect feline health problems before they turn into serious illnesses.
When: Adult cats should visit the vet once a year. Senior cats 11 years or older may need biannual visits.
Why: Vaccinations can help protect both indoor and outdoor cats against serious and sometimes fatal diseases, including feline panleukopenia (FPV) and rabies. Ask your cat’s veterinarian which vaccinations are appropriate for your pet based on your cat’s lifestyle and surroundings. Remember, over-vaccination can pose health risks, such as increasing your cat’s chances of developing cancer. This is why consulting with your veterinarian about which illnesses are common in your geographical area can be helpful.
When: Vaccination schedules should begin as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age. However, many adult cats may still be eligible for most vaccinations. Your cat’s vaccine schedule will depend on your cat’s particular health care needs. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best schedule.
Two More Preventive Measures
In addition to scheduling regular checkups and getting recommended vaccines for your pet, two other basics of cat health care include keeping your pet indoors, if possible, and having your cat spayed or neutered.
Keeping your cat inside greatly reduces his or her exposure to parasites, predators, and disease and can increase his or her life expectancy by 15 years or more.
Keeping your cat indoors can help your cat live a longer, healthier life. House cats have a life expectancy of 15 years or more, whereas outdoor cats typically live an average of only 5 years. Here are three reasons why indoor cats live longer:
- Shielding your cat from the outside world reduces his or her risk of attack by other cats, dogs, coyotes, and other predators, as well as reduces the risk of being hit by a car—one of the most common outdoor threats.
- House cats are less likely to contract disease or parasites from other outdoor animals. Free-roaming cats are more likely to encounter ticks, fleas, and worms, as well as become infected with feline leukemia, rabies, and respiratory diseases.
- Cats that stay inside are less likely to require emergency treatment or costly prescription cat medicines. Healthy, safe house cats minimize the need for any potential expensive medical care costs associated with the treatment of feline diseases and parasites contracted from other cats and wildlife.
Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor pet, he or she should always be clearly identified with a collar and an identification tag.
Spaying or neutering your cat not only cuts down on unwanted litters, but also reduces risk of uterine infections or prostate problems. This includes various forms of cancer.