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Keeping Your Kitty Healthy

February 01, 2024

We have a number of kitty awareness events this month. Several emphasize spaying and neutering. For instance, it’s Beat the Heat Month, Feline Fix by Five Month, National Prevent a Litter Month, and Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. While getting Fluffy fixed is very important, it’s only one aspect of keeping her healthy. A local Westland, OH area veterinarian goes over some of the most crucial elements of keeping your cat healthy in this article. 

What Are Common Illnesses In Cats?

Despite thinking she’s invincible, Fluffy is just as susceptible to illness and injury as any other animal. Kitties can suffer from a wide variety of health problems, including feline immunodeficiency virus, dental issues, respiratory infections, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, FeLV, feline lower urinary tract disease, and arthritis. Obesity is also quite widespread, and can contribute to a slew of other problems. Parasites are quite dangerous as well.

Taking your cat to your Westland area veterinary clinic regularly and keeping up with her preventative care can help protect her from many of these issues.

 How Can I Check The Health Of My Cat At Home?

While your veterinarian should be the ultimate authority on this, you can monitor Fluffy’s health between appointments by observing her appearance, appetite, and behavior.

You can tell quite a bit by your pet’s appearance. Fluffy should have soft, clean fur and clear, bright eyes. Your furry pal may spend a lot of time sleeping, but when she’s awake, she should be alert, inquisitive, and at least a little mischievous. When she is not meowing for anything, she should breathe quietly.

You can also discreetly check your furry pal’s body condition whenever you pet, hold, or let her snooze on your lap. Watch for swelling, bumps, heat, stiffness, bruising, or skin problems.

Immediately contact your Westland, OH area veterinarian if you notice anything amiss.

Is Stress Harmful To My Cat’s Health?

In recent years, we’ve learned a lot about how stress affects our bodies, and how bad it is for us. Stress is just as detrimental to pets as it is to humans. If Fluffy is scared, depressed, lonely, or nervous, she may stop eating and hide in a corner. She may also over or under-groom herself, or act aggressive, and she may vomit or avoid her litterbox. None of these things are good for her physically! Contact your vet if you spot any of them.

Make sure your feline pal gets plenty of toys and playtime. Fluffy should also have lots of comfy places and hiding spots to retreat to. Last but not least, make sure your kitty feels loved and safe at all times by paying attention to him or her. Keep that motor going!

What Is The Average Age At Which Cats Start Having Health Problems?

Just like people, cats become more vulnerable to illness and injury as they grow older. While every kitty is different, you may begin noticing changes around age ten or after. These may be mild and gradual at first. Your feline pal may start sleeping more, and she may be less frisky. Over time, you may notice her gaining weight, and perhaps having trouble jumping and climbing.

There’s some debate over what age cats should be considered seniors: some say nine, ten, eleven, or 12. The Cornell Feline Health Center puts that number at 12. Most sources agree that cats are classified as geriatric at fifteen years of age.

Your veterinarian may recommend more frequent appointments once your furry friend reaches her golden years. Also, your pet’s care regimen may need to be adjusted a bit. Fluffy may benefit from pet ramps or stairs, and she may also need help keeping her fur clean. Some cats may benefit from special diets as well. For specific advice, consult your veterinarian.

What Can I Do if My Cat Isn’t Feeling Well?

This one can be a bit tricky. Cats naturally try to hide signs of illness. This is because predators often look for weak animals in the wild. It is possible that you will not be aware your pet is ill until she is quite ill. 

Some things to look for include vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, discolored gums, discharge, sudden weight loss or gain, litterbox avoidance, hiding, uncharacteristic vocalizations (or lack thereof), unkempt fur, respiratory issues, grumpiness, and uncharacteristic behavior.

If you see any of these symptoms, or any other signs that something is amiss, contact your veterinarian immediately.

How Frequently Should I Take My Cat To The Veterinary Clinic?

This will depend on the age and health of your pet. Kittens need to be seen a few times in the first year, for their initial exams, vaccinations, and parasite control. Spay/neuter surgery and microchipping are also important. Adult indoor cats may only need to visit their veterinarian once a year. However, those that are let out may need to come in more often. Senior cats also need more frequent visits, as will kitties with health problems. Ask your vet for an appointment schedule.

What Can I Do To Keep My Cat Healthy?

Start with the basics: provide Fluffy with good food, fresh water, clean litter, and regular veterinary care.

You should also take precautions to keep your feline buddy safe from injuries as well. The single most important thing you can do here is to keep your cat inside. Cats that are allowed to roam outdoors face many different dangers. Weather, cars and traffic, stray cats, loose dogs, chemicals, parasites, and, unfortunately, some people, all pose a threat to your pet.

Petproofing is also crucial, especially when it comes to young and lively felines. Kitties are both hunters and prey. This has led them to develop a unique and interesting mix of traits.  In fact, scientists now think that Fluffy is the perfect predator. Of course, she’s chosen the life of a pampered pet instead. Our feline buddies are naturally curious, and love to investigate their surroundings. This very much ties into your feline buddy’s natural instincts. For example, Fluffy may check that paper grocery bag for a potential mouse, or hide in empty cupboards to avoid the vacuum cleaner. She may also playfully practice her hunting skills on various objects. That may be adorable to watch, but it can also be dangerous at times. Therefore, it’s important to take necessary precautions for your pet’s safety.

Keep anything that isn’t safe for your pet in a secure spot. Sharp or small objects are common hazards. This includes beads, buttons, craft kit pieces, safety pins… the list goes on. Anything ropy or stringy is also a concern. Cats love playing with strings. Unfortunately, if your pet swallows these items, they can cause serious digestive problems.

Toxins are also a concern. One of the most frequent emergencies for cats is poisoning. Many household items can be harmful to pets. That includes several popular plants. Lilies are particularly dangerous: even consuming a small amount of water or nibbling on a leaf can lead to organ failure in cats. The ASPCA website provides information on toxic and non-toxic plants here. Other items that can be dangerous include many common household products, such as cleaners, automotive products, detergents, drain openers, paint, and turpentine. For more details, consult your veterinarian.

Are you having questions about cat care? Has your cat been overdue for an appointment? Contact us, your local Westland area pet hospital, anytime!

175 Galloway Rd.
Galloway, OH 43119
t: (614) 870-3900
f: (614) 870-6655

Also serving Westland and
surrounding areas.

Opening Hours:
Hours are by appointment only including those for medication, food, and product pick-up.