By Monie Schulling
As we create our New Year’s Resolutions and put together the list of goals we want to meet to keep ourselves healthy and fit in the New Year; it is a great time to go through the checklist below for the top things your kitty needs to ensure they remain a pawsome, fit and healthy feline!
Annual Vet Check-up
Dr. Eric Dougherty DVM, Medical Director, The Cat Practice, www.thecatpractice.com states; “Cats in general go to the veterinarian less frequently than dogs, though this does not mean that they are healthier. It indicates that cats hide illness better, and that since cats stay indoors, some families do not always recognize the importance of preventative medicine and annual exams. Shying away from annual vet visits can cause harm to cats in the long run since many illnesses are discovered much later than they should have been if the cat had been seen by their vet regularly. Regardless of a cat living solely indoors, they still need an annual exam even when they are young. After age 7+, I recommend annual lab work as well to help identify a variety of issues and to ensure there aren’t any changes from the year before, even If the cat is not showing signs of illness at the time of their exam. Cats are still predators at heart and do an excellent job of concealing illnesses to others. A cat can often be very sick by the time it would show symptoms, so routine exams are even more important for cats than the average dog. A veterinarian that specializes in cats will also be a benefit to your cat’s care, and if one isn’t available in your area, be sure to find a vet that is an unabashed cat person if at all possible.”
Healthy Diet and Water
Per Dr. Dougherty; “Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need an entirely meat-centric diet and very minimal carbohydrates. In nature, a cat would also get the majority of its water intake from eating prey, and they also have a low thirst drive with tongues poorly adapted at efficiently drinking water from a bowl or flat surface (which is one reason why cat fountains are great). A healthy cat on a wet food diet would rarely be seen at a water bowl, but cats on dry food and cats with health issues are often seen drinking more often. A wet food diet that consists of high-quality meat-based protein and is also grain-free is a great place to start for a healthy cat. I also advocate for wet food diets since dry food can contribute to a variety of health problems long term and be a contributing factor in illnesses such as diabetes, urinary issues, constipation, obesity, chronic dehydration, and so on. Dry food has a significant amount of carbohydrates as well, so it is better to use it as a treat or as a meal on occasion. Even if cats love dry food, feeding them a diet closest to what they would be eating in nature is more important for their wellbeing. Dr. Lisa Pierson, author of www.catinfo.org, created a website entirely about cat nutrition and it is a great resource if you’re looking into feline nutrition.”
No human food scraps or treats! Several companies have come out with more natural treats filled with ingredients good for your cat! My kitties loved these treats from “I and love and You”. Hair Meow’t Hearties are a Purr-fect treat, made with real meat, Prebiotics + Probiotics for happier tummies and no grains, fillers or anything artificial. They include Omegas 3 & 6, flaxseed and fish oils for healthier skin and shinier coats. Available at iandloveandyou.com.
Fresh, Clean Water
Essential to health, ensure you have clean water bowls throughout the house with fresh water daily. Cats LOVE water fountains. They do require cleaning and changing the filters per recommendations but your cat will love a running water source like they are in the wild, and drink more water. One fountain my cats love that is stylish for your décor and easy to clean is the Drinkwell Pagoda Pet Fountain. The Pagoda provides 70oz of filtered moving water in a quiet fountain that has two levels for them to drink from. Comes in four colors, with an optional cleaning kit and extra filters. Available at chewy.com.
Clean Litter Box
This goes without saying. You don’t want to go in a dirty bathroom and neither does your kitty! The rule of thumb is one box per cat away from their food source. Ask your vet about litter type, as some cats do need a special litter. Scoop at least once a day, plus clean/sanitize and put in fresh litter once a week. This will avoid any outside the box urine issues. Do not use clumping litters for kittens under 8 weeks as they may digest them. An amazing new self-cleaning litter box we and the kitties are crazy about is the new ChillX AutoEgg self-cleaning litter box! It’s the Cat’s Meow in litter boxes! Cool, minimalistic, quiet, and high tech. The 5V/2A USB Type-C input power ensures safety for both your cats and your family. The AutoEgg performs an automatic self-cleaning 5 minutes after every bathroom trip and operates an additional 4 times a day to ensure it is clean. ChillX cares about your cat’s health with the AutoEgg’s touchscreen display that records a health log of the date, time, duration, weight, and waste data after every use. Keeping an eye on their health log and alerts gives you the confidence of knowing your feline friend is healthy and happy. The AutoEgg will save you time, money, and help to support you and your cat’s health. Available at chillx.co.
Provide a safe hiding place like a cube or cat tree with compartments for your cat to hide and rest. We covered this extensively in our September issue if you want to refer back. Always provide spaces for your cat to sleep, escape and feel safe in.
Cats instinctively scratch to remove their outermost layer of claws to reveal the sharp claws beneath. It also stretches out their muscles and paws, plus marks their territory with the scent glands in their paws. When your kitty scratches, they leave a scratch marks and scent to warn other cats away. If you don’t provide a place for them to scratch with sisal in an area that is easy for them to get to, they will use your furniture. Scent your scratching posts with catnip when introducing new posts. One scratcher we love that is also beautiful for your environment and your kitty will use & adore is the Max Scratch. Available at Hauspanther.com.