Keeping your pet cat healthy is usually not a complicated process. Most cats stay naturally healthy as long as you give them a nutritious diet, clean water, a comfortable home and plenty of love and attention. But there are a few things you should do when you get a new cat in your home to prevent health problems later.
The proper vaccinations have saved the lives of millions of cats. Vaccines have been developed that now routinely prevent once common fatal diseases in cats, including feline leukemia, distemper, rabies, upper respiratory infections and ringworm.
While most vets agree that an initial vaccination is important, there is controversy over whether your cat needs regular annual booster shots throughout its life or if the first shots give lifelong immunity to the targeted diseases.
Shots used to be given in the traditional fashion using a needle but new vaccines can now be administered through the cat’s nostrils. Typically, kittens should receive their shots at between four and 20 weeks of age but you should discuss the matter with your veterinarian and follow his or her advice.
Cats are vulnerable to catching colds, just like humans (but never give your cat aspirin, Tylenol, or any other human pain reliever or cold medicine). If your cat just has a mild case of the sniffles and still seems playful and energetic, then the problem will likely go away in a few days by itself. But if your cat becomes listless, loses its appetite or if you see a discharge from its eyes or nose, talk to your vet right away.
Your cat loves to chew on greenery and often the only thing it can find indoors will be your house plants. Unfortunately, some of these plants can be poisonous to your cat (and even if the plant isn’t toxic, there may be pesticides sprayed on the plants that are harmful). It can take only a small mouthful to make your cat seriously ill. If this happens, take action immediately to save your cat’s health and possibly its life.
One way to discourage your cat from chewing your plants, even the ones you know are safe, is to regularly spray them with diluted lemon water. Your cat hates that taste and will learn to avoid the plants. You can give your cat catnip and other “cat grass” sold at pet stores to satisfy your pet’s desire to chew plants.
A beneficial side effect is that your cat’s digestion will improve and you will help it eliminate hairballs. It’s possible that your cat will occasionally throw up a bit of greenish bile but as long as it doesn’t do this constantly, it’s nothing to worry about.
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