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Care of Your Cat

Spaying/neutering – Early spaying or neutering prevents unwanted litters, reduces a cat’s urge to wander and diminishes a male cat’s tendency to spray urine. Millions of unwanted kittens are euthanized in shelters across the country. You don’t want to contribute to this problem, so spay or neuter your cat before s/he can reproduce.
The great indoors – Indoor-only cats are healthy cats. Cats that live outdoors (even those that live indoors but are allowed to go outdoors) are far more likely to develop inappropriate elimination problems. Their territorial nature often results in fights, causing nasty abscesses that require expensive and painful veterinary care. Outdoor cats are prone to parasites and can catch “ FIV” or Feline AIDS. An indoor-only neutered cat has an average lifespan of 12-18 years. An intact male tomcat has an average lifespan of less than two years.
Litter boxes are important – You should have one box per cat in the household plus one extra.
PLACEMENT and MAINTENANCE of your cat’s litter box are key to the development of proper elimination habits.
Trim those claws – Cat’s claws have a well-defined quick. It is pink. Clip only the tip and stay clear of the quick. You should trim your cat’s claws about every two weeks; sharp untrimmed claws can result in household damage. In older cats, claws can even grow into the pads.
Annual physical exam – Take your cat to the vet for a complete physical exam annually. Cats often do not show physical signs of illness until it is advanced, so the importance of regular well-cat check-ups cannot be overstated
Vaccinations – There are differing opinions on the need and advisability of vaccinations for indoor-only cats. Speak to your vet about the pros and cons. If your cat spends any time at all outdoors, up-to-date vaccinations are essential
Flea Prevention – Even your indoor cat needs protection against fleas, which you can unknowingly bring into your house on your clothes. Your vet or local pet store sells highly effective topical flea preventatives, which work better than flea collars. Only use flea products specifically designed for cats. Many of the products designed for dogs can be toxic to cats.
Hairball Preventative – Cats, especially longhaired varieties, can develop hairballs as they groom themselves. Hairball preventatives are available in many forms, such as topical gels and ingestible tablets and treats.
Grooming – Shorthaired cats are usually self-grooming. Longhaired cats require daily brushing in order to maintain their coats.
Feeding – Cats naturally eat 9-12 small meals a day. Free-feeding allows your cat to regulate its own food intake. If obesity becomes a problem, you should feed your cat 2-3 small meals a day instead.
Interaction with your cat – Cats require mental and physical stimulation every day. It is especially important for kittens, who can become severely depressed if left on their own for too long. Try to spend a minimum of twenty minutes a day actively playing with your cat. Boredom is the leading cause of destructive behavior and obesity in cats. These can be avoided through interactive play and by providing active toys the cat can enjoy by her/himself.
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