February is National Cat Health Month, and our team at Animal Clinic of Woodruff believes that not only is this month a wonderful opportunity to focus on the health and well-being of furry felines…it’s also a chance to focus on the ways we can keep our cats healthy all year long.
In this blog, we’ll take a “whole cat” approach, highlighting the simple, yet effective ways you can help your cat stay healthy, happy, and nourished from the inside and out.
Hygiene is Key
Cats are naturally good self-cleaners, but a little extra brushing and hygiene can go a long way to help keep them clean, and feeling their best. Here are a few tips for keeping your cat (and your home) extra clean.
- Brush your cat daily to remove mats or loose hair. By doing this, you’re keeping the fur that lands on your furniture and carpets to a minimum, and you’re also helping your cat out in the process!
- When it’s time to give your cat a bath, use only shampoo that’s designated for cats. Make sure that you keep the soap out of their eyes and ears, and give them a nice cool blow-dry when they are done. If your cat is resistant to baths (like many are), start to reward them with a treat afterward so they can create a positive relationship with getting extra clean.
- Give your cat’s nails a regular trim so that they limit damage to your curtains and upholstered furniture. Additionally, give them a scratching post so that they have a satisfying way to scratch their urge (to scratch). We recommend rubbing the scratching post with catnip on a weekly basis as a way to encourage scratching the post, versus your furniture.
Keep them Mentally Active
Contrary to popular belief, cats aren’t the “low-maintenance” pets that some have labeled them to be. Cats are natural hunters, so if they aren’t mentally stimulated or encouraged to play (and “hunt”) they can get bored. And boredom can lead to a cat that gets into trouble. Giving them interactive play on a daily basis is important. Our tips for optimal mental and physical health for your feline include:
- Playing fetch with them. While this seems like a game you would play with your dog, cats love chasing after a ball or mouse toy.
- Feather on a pole game. Cats love chasing feathers, bells or other stimulating objects. By placing these items at the end of a pole or stick, you can quickly dart the toy around for maximum fun for your feline.
As an added bonus, when you play with your cat, you are giving them the gift of one on one time with you! This time filled with cuddles and play can go a long way towards keeping your cat feeling healthy both mentally, and physically.
Litter Box Location ...is Everything!
Cats are not all that different from humans. They appreciate a little privacy when needing to go to the bathroom. We suggest finding a well-lit location that isn’t in the hub of your home. You’ll likely want to pick a spot that is easily accessible for your cat but secluded enough that it’s not going to emit a smell in the common areas of your home.
Additionally, keep their food and water in a separate location from their litter box (just like humans, no one wants to eat lunch in the bathroom). Additionally, when you are scooping out their litter box, use this as an opportunity to make sure everything looks ok. Their fecal and urine output can say a lot about their health. If you notice any blood in the litter box, or if your cat is making a lot of trips to the box, you’ll want to make an appointment to have them checked out.
Nutrition and Meal Times
We recommend two meals per day spaced about 8-12 hours apart. Additionally, we recommend not leaving their food out all day. It’s best to encourage your cat to eat at “regular” times (so that they aren’t tempted to graze throughout the day.) If you have questions about how much to feed your cat, or what kind of food to give them, don’t hesitate to give our office a call.
Whether you’re trying out these tips for the first time on your feline, or if you are seeing success from these suggestions, we’d love to hear about it! Follow us on social media and share the little wins that you’re experiencing with your cat this month!
In the meantime, it’s also important to make sure you are caught up on your cat’s checkups. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment to make sure they are up to date on their vaccines and overall feline health.