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Get to know your cat
One very important aspect of cat health care is to devote plenty of time and energy to get to know you cat. An owner that really knows his or her cat and is familiar with all its habits and antics will spot a potential health problem much earlier and can provide the cat with proper cat health care before it turns into something even more serious. This will not only save your cat from unnecessary suffering; it can also save you a lot of money on veterinary bills since health problems spotted while they are still in an early stage tend to be less costly to treat than full-blown acute diseases.
Food and exercise – an imperative part of maintaining good cat health
All cats need suitable food and exercise, but it is impossible to create a cat health guideline that will fit all cats. An old cat might for instance need very little exercise, while a young adult needs to be given plenty of opportunity to burn off all its youthful energy. Without proper exercise, e.g. playing indoors or exploring the neighbourhood, a cat may focus its energy towards non-desirable activities, such as destroying furniture or household plants. A boring life without any possibility to play and run around can also prove detrimental to both physical cat health and the mental wellbeing of a cat.
The diet of a cat must always be balanced against its activity level in order to prevent poor cat health. Just like a human, a cat that eats more calories than it burns will become overweight and may develop a series of health problems as a result. In addition to containing the proper amount of energy, the diet of your cat must also contain suitable amounts of all necessary nutrients. A cats’ dietary requirements varies a great deal from that of more omnivore creatures such as humans and dogs; it will for instance need much higher amounts of taurine in its diet to stay healthy in the long run.
Do not hesitate to ask a veterinarian for advice about what to feed your cat. He or she can take your cats’ age, activity level and physical condition into account and offer you an individual advice suitable for that particular cat.
This is an area of cat health where pet keepers are faced with a multitude of different opinions and guidelines. Before you blindly follow a particular vaccine regime, keep in mind that many different factors must be taken into account in order to determine what is right for your pet. Always discus your choices with a veterinarian familiar with the potential treats and pet regulations at hand in your area.
Today, vaccines can be used to prevent a series of cat diseases. Exactly which vaccines your particular cat needs will depend on which part of the world you live in and how much time the cat spends outdoors, but there are certain shots that are recommended for all cats regardless of residency and lifestyle. Generally speaking, a cat that spends a lot of time outdoor is more likely to become infested with infectious disease and parasites – especially if the cat isn’t spayed or neutered – but that doesn’t mean that all vaccinations are uncalled for if you keep an indoor cat.
Kittens receive a certain degree of immunity from their mother while nursing, but this immunity will soon vanish and vaccines are therefore recommended in most situations. Veterinarians will typically give kittens a vaccine combination that protects them from feline temper virus, feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus – three major threats against good health. Rabies vaccinations are given in parts of the world where the disease exists and is mandatory in many jurisdictions. These rules are not only there to protect the health of the cats; it is also a way of protecting humans from catching the disease from cats.
In addition to the vaccines mentioned above, it is also common to vaccinate cats against feline leukaemia virus, unless you are keeping a strict indoor cat. (But keep in mind that even indoor cats may escape once in a while and can pick up diseases during their time outside.)
After the initial vaccinations that are given while the cat is still a kitten, booster immunizations are typically given during the first few years of adult life, especially if the cat is an outdoor cat. Some cats need to be given “shots” even after this period. In some parts of the world, rabies shots are for instance mandatory at certain intervals to protect the community against the deadly disease.
Many pet owners chose not to give booster immunizations to their indoor cats. It is always a question of weighing the risk of disease against the risk of immunization side-effects, and the costs associated with curing a disease vs. the costs of preventing it.