With the New Year in full swing, you’ve likely been thinking about your goals for 2023. While you’re dialing in those New Year’s resolutions, why not consider setting some goals for your feline friend, too? The dawning of a new year is an excellent time to establish habits that will benefit your cat for the rest of their life.
Setting your cat up for optimal health doesn’t have to be complicated. You can give your cat the long, healthy, and happy life they deserve by making a few simple changes. As veterinarians, we’d like to share cat-friendly resolutions for the upcoming year. Let’s go!
Get Your Cat in Shape
If you’re like many folks, you might have decided that 2023 will be your year to shed those extra pounds and get in shape. Why not set the same goals for your feline friend? Your cat may look cute with a bit of extra pudge, but excess weight isn’t good for their health. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight lowers your cat’s risk of certain diseases and can add years to their life.
There are many excellent ways to help your cat get in shape. First, take a look at your cat's diet. If you are feeding them too much, giving them too many treats, or offering low-quality food, your cat is almost sure to pack on extra pounds. As their veterinarian, we can help you get your cat on a diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Make sure they’re getting enough exercise, too. Invest in some fun toys that will pique your cat’s interest and get them moving. Some cats even enjoy leashed walks, much like their canine counterparts.
Help Your Cat Stay Hydrated
In the wild, cats get most of their hydration from eating live prey, so they don’t have a very high thirst drive. Plus, cats aren’t naturally drawn to standing water sources, and they aren’t likely to drink from water bowls near their food or litter box. For these reasons, many cats don’t consume nearly enough water and are susceptible to dehydration, which can cause severe urinary problems.
Help your cat stay hydrated by providing multiple water sources throughout your home, including bowls located far away from their food dish and litter box. Many cats prefer moving water, so investing in a pet fountain is another good way to encourage your feline friend to drink. Feeding canned food instead of keeping your cat on a strict diet of dry kibble helps, too.
Take Care Of Your Cat's Teeth!
When was the last time you brushed their teeth or brought your cat in for professional dental care? Chances are, it’s been way too long! Caring for your cat’s teeth is a crucial part of wellness care, but unfortunately, it’s neglected by otherwise responsible pet parents far too often.
This year, vow to start brushing your cat’s teeth at least twice each week. Give your cat dental treats, too, and be sure to contact us to schedule a dental exam and cleaning. We are also here to help if you aren’t sure how to brush your cat’s teeth at home. As veterinarians, we’ve seen cats that owners thought were lethargic due to aging act like kittens again after getting dental procedures, as cats can be very stoic about pain.
Stay On Top of Parasite Prevention
If your kitty never ventures outside, you might not think they need to be on a parasite preventative. Think again! Even indoor cats aren’t immune to fleas and ticks that can be brought outside by owners or dogs that go outside, so it’s essential to keep them on a safe and effective preventative year-round.
In addition to causing discomfort and itchy skin, flea infestations can lead to anemia and other potentially serious health complications. And we all know that ticks carry a wide range of diseases. If you’ve been slacking when it comes to preventing parasites or using ineffective or potentially harmful products from the grocery store, make 2023 your year to get your cat on safe, veterinarian-approved parasite preventative medications.
Have Your Cat Spayed or Neutered
Having your cat spayed or neutered lowers their risk of specific health problems and improves their life in several ways.
The benefits of spaying or neutering cats are:
- Spaying a female decreases the risk of mammary tumors and uterine infections
- Neutering a male reduces the risk of prostate problems and prevents testicular issues
- Spaying and neutering can decrease the likelihood of hormone issues and endocrine disorders in both sexes, including diabetes
- Having your cat altered eliminates their biological urge to mate, which makes them less likely to try to escape in search of a mate
- Spaying and neutering often eliminates destructive spraying tendencies
- You're helping to control the cat population, as many unwanted pets end up in shelters and are ultimately euthanized
Cats who are spayed or neutered live longer, healthier lives than their unaltered counterparts, and there is minimal risk of complications during or after the procedure. Ideally, it’s best to have a kitten neutered as early as possible. But even if you have an older cat, it’s never too late!
Don't Skip Your Cat's Annual Exam
Annual exams are essential in ensuring your cat’s long-term health. Bringing them in for a checkup each year allows us to monitor their ongoing health and look for early warning signs of potential health problems. Cats are masters when it comes to hiding signs of illness, and without routine veterinary care, they could have serious problems without you even knowing.
In 2023, vow to get serious about giving your cat the best and healthiest life possible. Whether that means scheduling a wellness exam, helping them lose weight, getting your cat vaccinated against potentially harmful diseases, or having them spayed or neutered, we are here to help. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.