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Healthy Cat Care: How to Prevent Cat Illnesses and Diseases

"Are you taking my health seriously, human?"

You want your cat to have a long life. You want to keep having cuddles and head rubs to ease any stressful day. Keeping your cat healthy will help ensure you’ll have your cat for as long as possible.

Having a cat means caring for it like a child because a cat is essentially your kid. They’re cute, funny, and adorable creatures but they’re depending on you. You love your cat, and although they can’t say it, your cat loves you too.

Since cats can’t talk, we have to watch them. We have to observe any drastic changes in their body and behavior. We have to monitor their health.

Having a healthy cat means being on top of these three things:

  1. Healthy Cat Diet
  2. Good Veterinarian Visits
  3. Preventing Illnesses and Diseases

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HEALTHY CAT DIET

A good diet is the best way to keep your cat healthy. Feeding your cat cheap meals may save you money in the short term, but you have to give them high quality cat food if you want to keep your cat happy and healthy in the long run.

Cats are not meant to eat plants. Their digestion cannot process plant-based protein so make sure you feed them cat foods derived from animal-based protein such as chicken or tuna. Be wary of feeding your cat too much fish as it can be unhealthy for them.

Slightly warm your cat’s food to bring out the flavor. No one wants to eat cold food, and the same goes for your cat.

"I'm a growing cat. Feed me more"

Younger, growing cats need more food that older cats. They can feed twice daily while most adults can work on one plate a day. Cats prefer to snack throughout the day than finish a plate in one meal so don’t be alarmed if they don’t devour a meal.

Overfeeding and underfeeding are both bad for your cat. Monitor your cat’s weight so they don’t get malnourished or overweight. Health problems are associated with improper feeding portions.

Place their water source next to their food bowl so your cat can eat and drink at the same time. Throw water away from the day before and start with fresh water everyday.

Switch between dry and wet foods. Dry foods are rich in carbs but tend to dehydrate your cat, while wet foods tend to be rich in protein. It goes without saying, don’t feed your cat with dog food. That’ll be a-paw-ling.

Don’t feed your cat human food either. They are not adept at eating high fat content and processed sugar that our diets tend to have.

Check for Taurine content in their food - it is an essential supplement for cats. While most cat food products are fortified with Taurine, it’s always good to double check. Taurine deficiency can lead to blindness and fatality.

A healthy diet will keep your cat cathletic, but in times they’re under the weather, you need a good veterinarian.

FIND A GOOD VETERINARIAN

You don’t find a good veterinarian when you need one. You find one when you don’t need it.

You want your cat to build a relationship with a veterinarian so in case of emergency, your cat will be at ease and not cause extra stress. Routine visits will help your veterinarian know your cat’s history and can better assist in treating your cat.

It is important not only to have a veterinarian, but to find a good veterinarian. Finding the right veterinarian, however, is not easy.

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"I'm not your mom, but I'll take care of you."

A great way to find a good veterinarian is asking for recommendations. A friend or a colleague may know somebody whom they’ve been going to for years, which is an indication of a good veterinarian.

You can also look for reviews online. Websites like Veterinarians.com and Good Vet and Pet Guide are good resources to check out. Peruse not only the positive reviews, but also the negative reviews to see other people’s experiences.

Certain cats may need specialized care. Diseases like diabetes and autoimmune disease need treatment that a specialized veterinarian can provide.

Once you have a potentially good veterinarian, go in for a visit. Look for the cleanliness in the clinic. A good veterinarian will have separate areas for cats and dogs. Talk to the staff and see if they have reliable customer service, or if they don’t seem happy to work with animals. Watch how they interact specifically with your cat.

Make an initial appointment and see how soon they can accommodate you. This tells you how busy they are and how quickly they can respond in case of an emergency.

You might want to inquire about the payment options. Learn about their fees and offers of installment plans. If you have a pet insurance, see if the clinic will accept it.

"Can I trust you?"

Now that you have a good veterinarian, build a trustful relationship among you, your cat, and your veterinarian. Keep up with vaccinations and veterinary visits, which is about once or twice per year.

Monitor cat for anything unusual such as cloudy eyes and excessive shedding. Observe any behavioral changes such as increasing aggression. Your good veterinarian is a crucial source of information for you to consult with. 

There are things you might not notice. There are things you might not know about your cat. Your good veterinarian will help you maintain a healthy cat.

Un-furr-tunate situations can happen and your cat can get sick. While your good veterinarian will help you restore your cat’s health, most causes of cat illnesses and diseases are identifiable and preventable.

MOST COMMON CAT ILLNESSES & DISEASES

Keep your cats healthy. It keeps them alive and happy, but it also keeps YOU alive and happy. Cats can transmit diseases to people through bites, scratches, and licks as well as through sneaky critters like fleas and ticks.

Here are the 12 most common cat illnesses and diseases, and how to prevent them.

1. Gastrointestinal Issues

Excessive vomiting, sensitive stomach, and food allergies are not fun to have. More serious issues such as diarrhea and pancreatitis can be alarming and fatal. Stress, switching food quickly, and low quality food can also contribute to these issues. 

Ensure your cat is hydrating. They lose a lot of water like people do and need to be replenished. Consult with your good veterinarian if needed.

2. Obesity

2 out of 3 pets in America are overweight. Obesity can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid issues. Not only is it painful to watch your cat get through these diseases, it is also expensive. Feed your cats with nutritious food and maintain portion control. Encourage plenty of play time to keep your cat burning calories.

3. Heartworm and Other Parasites

Heartworm and other parasites are not treatable in cats, but you can fight it with a dose of monthly preventative. Most cats contract parasites from mosquitoes, even those that stay indoors.

4. Dermatitis

Your cat can get an allergic reaction from a plethora of causes such as certain food and environmental conditions. See if your feline friend is scratching and licking their fur excessively. You may also see scabs or sore. Refer to your good veterinarian for advice.

5. Urinary Blockage/Urinary Tract Infection

If your cat cries out when peeing or strains when peeing, it may be a sign of urinary issues. This can be hugely uncomfortable and fatal. Male cats who are only fed dry food are prone, so ensure they are hydrating and eating wet foods.

6. Kidney Disease

Watch your cat for vomiting, diarrhea, sudden weight loss, and lethargy. These can mean your cat has kidney disease. Senior felines are the main victims, so ensure proper senior cat food that’s low in protein. Feed your cat with a healthy balanced diet throughout your cat’s life to help avoid kidney disease.

7. Congestive Heart Failure

This is also a sign of aging. Seniors tend to experience weakening of the heart. They can benefit from more frequent checkups with your good veterinarian and proper senior cat food.

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8. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukemia, Feline Distemper, and Rabies

Your cat can be vaccinated to mitigate the threats of these diseases and viruses. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV, is common among cats and will slowly weaken your cat’s immune system. A common cold can become challenging to survive for cats with FIV. Cats can contract viruses through bites and licks from an infected feline. Monitor your cat’s interaction with other cats.

9. Dental issues

Cats are not immune to plaques, broken teeth, and tartar buildup. They are common and often neglected. Don’t skip your annual checkup and dental cleaning to prevent illnesses and diseases arising from improper dental care.

10. Cuts and Bites

Just like any dog or child, cats are susceptible to cuts and bites. Open woulds attract infections and viruses. Treat them with hydrogen peroxide and pay your good veterinarian a visit for bigger and deeper cuts, or if it persists.

11. Injuries and Trauma

The world is a dangerous place. Your cat can get injured from cars, dogs, and other wild animals. Keep them outside only in daylight when they are safer and keep your emergency contacts updated.

12. Behavioral Issues

Sometimes your cats are acting up. Although it may seem like it, they’re not giving you cattitude just because they feel like it. It is not normal if all of a sudden your cat doesn’t use the litter or they scratch you out of nowhere. Talk to your good veterinarian if your cat is showing behavioral issues.

Follow these tips and your cat will live a healthy life. You may not be a cat expert, but it doesn’t take an expert to care for and love your cat.

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How do you keep your cat healthy? Let us know in the comments section!

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Until next time, cat lovers!

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