Keep Kitty Purring: Your Guide to Comprehensive Cat Care
Cats are sometimes considered to be low maintenance. Put down some food and water, place a litter box in the corner, and you’re good, right? Actually, no! While cats are not necessarily the most demanding of pets, they do deserve attention, especially when it comes to veterinary care.
Here is what your friends at New Haven want you to know about cat care.
The Wonders of Wellness Care
Cats are not as likely as dogs to be brought to our hospital for preventative care. In fact, many times we see our kitty patients for their kitten vaccines and spay or neuter, then not again for many years. While it may seem wonderful that your feline friend can go so many years without needing veterinary attention, the truth is that many of these cats would have had longer and more comfortable lives had they been coming in for annual wellness visits.
Routine wellness visits are important for a few reasons:
- They allow us to get to know your cat and what is normal for him/her.
- They are a great opportunity for you to discuss your questions or concerns.
- Frequent visits allow us to notice small but significant changes, such as weight loss.
- They are a great time to perform wellness screens that might alert us to an issue.
- Routine examinations allow us to catch problems before they are symptomatic.
Just bringing your cat in to see us on a regular basis is the foundation of good cat care.
Diagnostic Tests as Part of Good Cat Care
We can tell a lot just by looking at and observing your cat, but there are some things that we need to check out using other means. Diagnostics, or screening tests, are tests that are recommended to be performed in the absence of clinical symptoms, so that any problems can be identified early. Examples of screening tests include:
Fecal examinations – Periodic screening for intestinal parasites helps us to keep your cat (and you!) parasite-free. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that we check a fecal sample for parasites once to twice yearly for adult cats and four times in the first year of life.
FeLV/FIV testing – Feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus are serious retroviral diseases that cats can contract from other cats. Testing is recommended when bringing a new cat into the household, before vaccinating, and routinely for at-risk cats.
Wellness bloodwork – Blood and urine tests allow us to observe patterns and obtain a normal range for your particular pet. Sometimes screening tests also turn up an unexpected result, allowing us to catch abnormalities sooner.
Who knew that the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applied to cat care? While we are now more equipped to treat many diseases, preventing them is an even better tactic. Preventative care consists of routine wellness visits as well as:
- Spaying and neutering to prevent behavioral and health issues, such as uterine infections and certain cancers
- Regular dental care to prevent periodontal disease and associated heart and kidney issues
- Routine vaccination to prevent infectious disease
- Parasite prevention to keep fleas, intestinal parasites, and heartworms at bay
We know how important your cat is to you. That is why comprehensive cat care is so important. Let us help you take the best possible care of your feline family member.