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Tips From Our Vet On How To Be A Great Cat Owner

January 15, 2024

Our feline friends are known for being one of the easiest pets to keep. You won’t have to walk or train Fluffy, and she’ll take care of her own grooming needs. Most kitties also spend a rather ridiculous amount of time sleeping, which also helps make them easy keepers. However, Fluffy does need more than fresh water and kibble to stay happy and healthy. A local Ruidoso, NM veterinarian offers some advice on being a great cat owner in this article.

How Do I Keep My Cat Happy?

Keeping your kitty entertained will go a long way towards keeping her content. Provide a variety of playthings, and try to make a habit of playing with your kitty for at least a few minutes a day.

Our feline pals are hunters by nature, so they are often driven to mimic the hunting behaviors and skills that would help them score dinner in the wild. It’s always cute seeing Fluffy pouncing on and chasing after things!

Keep in mind that kitties all have their own individual tastes. Some like wand toys, some want catnip mice, some want to chase that little red dot from a laser pointer, and some are purrfectly happy playing hockey with an ice cube or bottlecap. Experiment a bit, and see what Fluffy likes. If you have multiple pets, offer a variety. 

Bring Your Cat To Your Ruidoso, NM Veterinary Clinic Regularly

Kitties are fairly hardy, but they aren’t nearly as invincible as they think. In fact, these little furballs are quite small and fragile. 

First things first: we recommend that all kitties be microchipped and spayed or neutered. This ideally should happen while Fluffy is still young, but the procedures can also be safely performed on adult cats.

Wellness care is crucial, and can protect your pet from a vast array of dangerous parasites and diseases. Fluffy will need the core vaccines, which include rabies; (FCV) feline calicivirus; (FHV-1) feline herpesvirus-1; (FPV) feline panleukopenia; and, for kitties under a year old, (FeLV) feline leukemia. Your vet may also recommend some non-core vaccines, such as (FeLV) for cats older than one year), Chlamydia felis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines.

You’ll also need to keep up with Fluffy’s parasite control. This is important even with indoor cats: parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitos can and do get inside. There are many different products to choose from, so talk to your vet to determine what the best option is for you and your feline pal.

Additionally, you’ll need to watch for signs of sickness. Cats can be tricky here, as they tend to try and hide signs of sickness until their conditions have become quite severe. Some of the signs that Fluffy isn’t feeling well can be quite subtle, so it’s important to keep a close eye out. 

Here are a few things to watch for:

  • Reduced Appetite
  • Poor Grooming
  • Withdrawal
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Litterbox Avoidance
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Discharge
  • Grumpiness
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Uncharacteristic Behavior Or Vocalizations

Contact your vet right away if you spot anything amiss. The sooner an issue is diagnosed and treated, the better! 

Give Your Cat A High-Quality Food

Feeding a kitty isn’t exactly rocket science. However, there are some things to consider. Fluffy’s exact dietary needs should be based on her age, health, and lifestyle. You will also have a few decisions to make, such as whether to feed your cat wet food or kibble, and whether to free feed her or give your pet her meals at specific times. Ask your Ruidoso, NM vet for specific advice. 

That said, choosing the right brand may be the trickiest part. Companies have got advertising gimmicks down to a science, so many manufacturers employ slick tactics to help their products look like the best. Get into the habit of reading labels. 

One thing that is helpful to know is the fact that, as with human products, pet food manufacturers must label their products in certain ways. The ingredient that is listed first is the main ingredient, proportionally. Meat, fish, or poultry should be listed first on the label, and more often than other ingredients. Avoid brands with long ingredients lists that read like science projects. 

Always go slowly when changing brands. Otherwise, you could upset that furry belly.

Fresh water is also a must. You may want to get your pet a drinking fountain: many cats prefer to drink running water.

Keep Your Cat Safe By Petproofing

Cats don’t actually have nine lives, but it’s not too hard to see where this misconception came from. Fluffy does have a knack for getting into—and sometimes narrowly escaping—mischief.

The two most important things you can do to keep Fluffy safe is to keep up with petproofing. This entails removing or securing anything that isn’t safe for her. That list includes anything small or sharp, such as beads, buttons, safety pins, jewelry, and small toy parts; plastic bags and ties; anything ropy or stringy, and toxic plants. 

Chemicals and medications are another big concern. Poisonings are one of the biggest reasons for emergency visits, and, sadly, are one of the main causes of death for household pets.

Here are some of the things that are toxic to cats:

  • Cleaning agents
  • Paint
  • Drain openers
  • Detergents
  • Automotive products
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Bug Spray
  • Medicines, whether prescription or OTC

Keep in mind that cats only need to walk through a puddle of chemical cleaner or get a little spilled on their fur to be in trouble. Ask your vet for more information. 

Keep Your Cat Inside

Kitties are bold and adventurous, but you’ll need to restrict your furry little adventurer’s explorations. As soon as Fluffy goes outside, she’s exposed to a wide range of hazards. These include cars, weather, chemicals, stray cats, predators, parasites, and, unfortunately, some people. 

There’s also the fact that cats are, well, fluffy little serial killers. Fluffy has been proven guilty of killing many types of animals, including several threatened species. Grounding your pet will also help protect local wildlife.

Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

Kitties are quite versatile when it comes to living quarters: they can be equally happy in a small bedroom or a huge mansion. However, no matter how big your home is, you’ll want to take a few steps to make it cat friendly.

One thing that will help is adding some cat furniture. A good scratching post or board is a must! Fluffy will also appreciate a cat tower: this will provide not only a scratching post, but also a lookout point.

You can also make your home fun for your furry friend by giving her vantage points and things to explore. A comfy window seat can keep a cat occupied for hours. Birdwatching is one of Fluffy’s favorite activities! If you want to go all-out, make your pet a catio or even an enclosure! Ask your Ruidoso, NM for more information. 

Make Your Cat Feel Loved

Cats are very emotional, and get extremely attached to their humans. It’s important for Fluffy to feel loved and safe. Spend time with her every day, and just pay attention to her. Many kitties are lap cats, who love curling up on their humans as we are reading or watching TV. 

Even just talking to your feline pal can get that motor going. Some cats will talk back, while others will just listen. The point is that your cute pet will know that you are trying to communicate with her. That will definitely help with bonding. 

Do you have questions about cat care? Contact us, your local Ruidoso, NM pet hospital, anytime!