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Vaccines have become a wonderful life-saving tool that helps to inoculate us against some of the most dangerous and deadly diseases. Vaccines are not just for people though- as any pet owner knows, there are a variety of vaccines that are available for your dog and your cat. These vaccines help to ensure that your animal stays safe and lives a long and healthy life.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

Types of Pet Vaccines

There are a variety of different vaccines available for both dogs and cats that are intended to protect against common illnesses as well as against less-common but extremely serious conditions. The types of vaccines that you will need can vary depending upon whether you have a cat or a dog. For instance, cats will need a vaccine against feline leukemia, while dogs are going to need to be vaccinated against parvo and kennel cough.

There are specific vaccines schedules and routine shots available for both dogs and cats and you should speak with your veterinarian about the types of shots that your animal will need.

Are Pet Vaccines Necessary?

Some pet owners may believe that they don't really need to vaccinate their pets. You might think that if you don't allow your cat outside, for example, a vaccine isn't really needed. In addition, some pet owners may be concerned about the potential dangers associated with vaccinations.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

The reality, however, is that the accepted veterinary standard of practice is to provide annual vaccines for all dogs and cats. This ensures that your animal is protected against dangerous illnesses in the event that something unexpected happens (such as your indoor cat getting loose for a bit). It also helps to protect the population as a whole. As such, some vaccines are actually required by law. Every state, for instance, requires an annual rabies vaccine.

Where Can You Get Your Pet Vaccinated?

Once you have made the decision to get your pet the vaccines that the veterinary community recommends, you will need to decide where to get the vaccines performed. Many people will have vaccines done as part of a routine annual veterinary examination. However, there can be a significant cost associated with this option so some people prefer lower budget solutions such as mobile vaccine clinics.

Wherever you choose to have your dog or cat vaccinated, make sure that you receive proof of the vaccines. You will need this in case you ever wish to travel with your pet or in case you are ever asked for any reason to prove your animal has the immunizations required by law.

Where to Turn for Information on Pet Vaccines?

If you are confused about what immunizations are required or available, your vet is a good course of information about pet vaccines. You can also find information on the Internet among communities of dog and cat owners. Not all information provided online is reliable; however, so you will need to make sure you are getting your info from a qualified and reliable source. Veterinarians who answer questions online, for example, can provide an unbiased, professional medical opinion about vaccines and answer any questions you may have about how they affect your animal's health.

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
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